Before they suck the life out of you…
Some people will intrigue you with deep conversations and ways of thinking … value these people and spend time with them.
But other types of people, in both networking and social situations, may drain you of energy if you stay in contact with them too long.
Here is a very stereo-typed description of some Energy Vampires that you may encounter – and at the end, some examples of how to make your escape –
The Constant Talker – chatters incessantly and no one else can get a word in. Sometimes it seems that they don’t even pause to draw breath. They don’t really care what they talk about, though it will most likely be about themselves, or their friend, or relative, or dog … Constant talkers don’t engage in conversation at the depth that an introvert enjoys – it certainly isn’t an exchange of thoughts and ideas as only one person gets to do all the talking.
In a group of people, you can quietly slip away while they are looking at someone else. If it’s just the two of you, be brave and interrupt them to excuse yourself – don’t politely waiting for a natural break in conversation as there may never be one! You may have to touch their arm to get their attention – or gesture . Make your excuse and go – they aren’t really listening to you anyway.
The Drama Queen – makes a big deal out of every little thing – and it’s usually all about them. While they can be quite entertaining in very short bursts, they can be too exhausting for introverts to spend much time with. Drama Queens love having a nice polite person listening to their tales … but some are full of complaints and you aren’t there to have a heap of negativity dumped on you. Excuse yourself for the sake of your own energy level.
The Knife Twister – tries to build themself up by tearing other people down. Never join in with their gossip or back-stabbing – they might be chummy now but next week it could be you they are talking about. Sometimes these attacks come in the form of backhanded compliments that leave people unsure where they stand. Recognize the danger and move on. These people don’t build trust, and you only want to deal with people you trust.
Preserve your energy and reputation and distance yourself as soon as you realise you are in the presence of someone exhibiting this worrying behaviour.
The Networking Vampire – works the room, only promotes themself and is here for what they can GET and not what they can GIVE. Fortunately this style of networking is declining as we become more enlightened. The face of networking is now more open, more about helping others and more about collaboration. We have even evolved past giving in order to get something in return, to giving with an abundance mentality rather than the scarcity mentality of Networking Vampires. Leave these folks back in the last century where they belong.
Just smile and nod, take their card but don’t encourage them by engaging in much conversation. Usually they will move on.. or you can.
I don’t advocate being rude to anyone so here are polite excuses that allow you to escape –
“Excuse me – did you see the restroom anywhere?”
“Excuse me – I have just seen my friend looking for me”
“I think I left my phone in another room (or car etc) … I’d better go and grab it”
“I have a question I want to ask the speaker (or organizer etc) before they leave”
“I need to check in with my friend (team, partner etc). It’s been great chatting”
“I promised myself I would meet three new people tonight … thanks for being one of them”
Make your excuse …and then just GO.
However, if you do find yourself mentally drained from networking or socialising be sure to take some time for self-care, time to recharge your batteries. Introverts typically do this alone, in nature or tucked away from the world with little stimuli for a while.
As usual, prevention is better than cure – avoid an introvert ‘hangover’ by being aware of what and who is exhausting your energy. Protect your energy, and your general well-being, by avoiding energy ‘vampires’. Forewarned is fore-armed – remember your excuses and escape routes and use them like garlic and a silver cross 🙂