Energy Vampires

Jan 5, 2023 | Uncategorized

According to Richard Rohr, in his book Falling Upward, we are either giving or taking energy in any interaction. It made me wonder if I take more energy than I give. It’s hard to know because most people will rarely tell you that you’re an energy vampire sucking the life out of them.

How do you recognize energy vampires? Here are three ways to identify them and maybe do a little self-reflection:

  • They’re closed.
  • They’re defensive.
  • They’re committed to being right.

How do those qualities show up?

  • The closed person is like a closed business. The closed business is not accepting new customers. The closed person is not accepting new ideas. Challenge them with an idea that doesn’t conform to their existing world view and you can almost see the coffin lid opening and those teeth growing as they prepare their rebuttal. You can see it in their eyes. Politics is a great example of this.
  • The defensive person is always defending their point of view instead of learning more about your point of view. In a conversation, they respond with some form of “Yeah, but.” They always have a counterpoint or a slight correction to what you said. They rarely respond with a question that is driven by a genuine desire to understand your point of view.
  • A conversation with someone who is committed to being right is more like a debate than a conversation. The extreme form is the person who is committed to making you wrong.

We’ve all been around people like this, and we know how drained we can feel. Maybe we’ve been guilty of some of these. I know I have. We can feel our energy being drained.

It’s better to be an energy giver than an energy taker. Here are three ways to do that:

  • Be open. We see examples in the news today of people who are going to court to keep from serving customers whose views they don’t agree with. Open your life to some new customers. Just because we listen to someone or help them doesn’t mean we agree with them.
  • Be curious. Respond with questions instead of a rebuttal. One of Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People is to become genuinely interested in other people. He says we can make more friends in two hours by becoming interested in others than we can in two years by trying to get them interested in us.
  • Be committed to learning. Listen to learn, not to respond. Let’s stop being conversation thieves. Let the other person finish their story without interrupting. Respond with a question instead of your story.

I heard someone say to another person, “I like me better when I’m with you.”

Do you have people in your life who make you like yourself better?  Pay it forward by incorporating those behaviors into your life. The world needs more energy givers and fewer energy vampires.

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