Emotional Vampires, Time Suckers, and Other Characters to Avoid During the Holidays and Always

vampire.jpgby David Bohl

With the holiday season upon us, sometimes along with the merriment comes an overdose of certain folks who grate our nerves or cause us just a bit too much inconvenience. This article is NOT about wreaking revenge on such individuals, but figuring out how to limit their inflence in your life so that you have more time to focus on the really important things!

Warding Off “Emotional Vampires”, Giving Bad Friends the Boot

Emotional vampires sap us of our life force with their neediness and ability to attract drama/stir up trouble wherever they go. Friends like this start off seemingly normal– and then suddenly you find yourself being dragged down a perilous path of emotional blackmail and destruction! After a while, you realize that you don’t care for the way the “emotional vampire” treats people, whether it’s other friends, neighbors, business associate or even the check-out girl at the grocery store. You feel frustrated over the lost time it takes to deal with such a person and the complications they invite.

If you really find that the negative qualities of said “so-called friend” outweight any redeeming qualities, then by all means let the friendship go — but do it gently. You don’t need a wooden stake, string of garlic or a silver bullet to be rid of emotional vampires. You don’t even need to make a valiant speech about how said person is cramping your style, corrupting your children and wreaking general havoc on your personal agenda. Instead, what you need to do is find other people and activities to occupy your hours.

Maybe now would be a great time to pick up that hobby you’ve been thinking about. Take a class or join a spots team… focus on healthier pastimes, keep busy, and keep your distance. Whatever you do, try to “go gracefully” – making less and less plans with said person, socializing in alternate circles, and generally being unavailable. Sometimes, such relationships come to a head and end with a big blowout- and if that’s the case, my condolences to you! The trouble will pass. It always does!

Dealing With Time Suckers

Do you have that neighbor that always seems to pop in, and usually at the most inopportune times? Your children play with their children, you belong to the homeowner’s association together and maybe even the same chapter of the Knights of Columbus? You enjoy them, you really do, but they just seem to have a knack for encroaching upon your time? This is an easy fix. Put Caller ID to work for you. Don’t answer the doorbell if you’re occupied with something important. Politely excuse yourself from the “front porch chat” after a few moments. No need to be rude. Simply explain in an honest and direct way, that you’ve got lots going on, and you’d really love to schedule your get-togethers at a time when it’s convenient for both of you.

If the time sucker is a good neighbor, they will be understanding about your packed schedule, and try to start planning things around your availability. And if you truly do enjoy this person, why not use this opportunity to invite them over for a cocktail or dinner or Sunday afternoon of football? More than likely they will reciprocate and viola! A new tradition is born.

Dodging the Office Troublemaker

Suppose your challenge is with the office gossip or the nay sayer at your company? In this case, the situation may be a little trickier. If this person is creating an unpleasant work environment for you and impacting on your productivity, consider taking the issue to the management level. You might explain the situation to your boss and suggest a few alternatives. Workable options might include moving your cubicle to a newer and quieter location; considering a lateral move to a different department; or even working from home all or part of the time, depending of course on how progressive your workplace is. If all else fails, “burying yourself in work” is a good way to repel negative people at the office! If you’re constantly busy, they will take it at face value instead of thinking that you’re trying to avoid them. Not to mention, all the advantages that come with putting in a full day of hard work!

Curtailing Conflict with Family Members

(Un)fortunately, family is family. Much of the time, you simply must deal with insensitive comments or overbearing helpfulness. But there are ways to limit the frequency of such encounters. Again, caller ID is one of the great inventions of our time. Not only can you avoid those annoying telemarketing calls during dinner, but you can also dodge meddling family members!

One piece of advice: do not avoid ALL calls from said relative. Definitely pick up the phone every now and again, but if this person causes you stress, only “deal” with them when you are capable and ready to talk. Letter writing is quite underrated. A quick note gives the perception that you are putting in all this effort when in reality you are avoiding face to face contact and dodging conflict. Email correspondance keeps the good energy flowing without getting caught up in unncessary drama! Take care, though, to keep the conversation light — and NEVER vent your grievances in writing!

Generally, it is really not all that difficult to ease your way out of these people’s lives. Just remember to be tactful and considerate and it will benefit you far more than if you allowed the situation to blow up. It’s a golden rule moment if ever there was one — and You can be the example to all those around.

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Thanks to Rich Life Carnival for featuring this post.

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