Establish your boundaries – banish the vampires

David Balev on Unsplash

Here’s something I read yesterday and loved:

‘If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire. Vampires cannot be cured. Should you find yourself in the presence of a vampire’…’banish it from your life forever’.

P136 Show Your Work, Austin Kleon

I know this drained, energy-sapped feeling. I’ve come across plenty of vampires and I think I’ve been one myself.

Some situations are easy to deal with. If you come into contact with loud, obnoxious, people with no regard for those around them, you tackle the situation head on or do what you can to get out of there.

Others are not so easy.

You might be chatting to a person you’d normally ‘click’ with, similar career, interests, stage of life. But instead of bonding, you find they’re having a strangely negative impact on you.

Or you have to spend time with someone you plainly dislike, for example at work. You know you have differences, but you’re trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, accept them for who they are and look beyond any judgements you have about them, for the sake of being professional.

In these cases, the vampire attacks and the cognitive dissonance exhausts you further.

Take action

I tend to have a 3 strikes and out policy, as I believe in giving people at least a second chance. But I’ve made the tough choice to cut people out before. You have to do this. Life is too short.

I’ve written about how you’re the sum of the 5 people you spend most time with. If you know a vampire, be careful even if you don’t spend a lot of time with them

Be bold. Protect your boundaries.

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