You’re dealing with an Energy Vampire when…

I was attending an event recently and spotted a guy I had met a few months before at a previous event. 

You know how it is…You seem to run into the same “usual suspects” at these gatherings…

Anyway, when I went up to him he was just getting off a phone call. He looked stressed, but gave me a smile anyway as he reached out to shake my hand.

I could tell instantly the weight of the world was on his shoulders, so I asked him “What’s up?”

He said, “Oh, just some ongoing drama with a team member we hired about a month ago. My team is having challenges with him. I’m having challenges with him. And I’ve just about had it.  He doesn’t do what he says he’s going to do…Especially when it comes to delivering what he promised. It’s always some new excuse OR he’s blaming someone else on the team.”

I immediately sympathized with his situation, as I think we all would. We’ve all experienced this with someone in our life (business or personal) somewhere down the line…

Often referred to as “Energy Vampires,” these individuals will suck the life out of anyone in their path if given the opportunity. 

They leave you feeling depleted and emotionally drained. And if not addressed, it’s likely to escalate and turn into a really toxic situation that negatively impacts everyone on the team.  

I gave him my advice (and I’m going to give you the same)…

You know you’ve encountered an energy vampire when…

Empty Promises

They make promises they don’t keep and they don’t ever do what they said they were going to do. 

When they are asked about it, they are notorious for coming up with excuse after excuse. Oftentimes, their excuses tie into some catastrophe they are going through…

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Energy vampires are surrounded by drama… past, present, and you can bet in the foreseeable future. 

They also always seem to be the victim, even though their drama is almost always self-inflicted or created. 

Emotional and dramatic behavior surrounds each of their catastrophes, as they want everyone to know just how unfortunate their circumstance is, and they thrive on the attention. 

And watch out if you’re in the line of fire…They will try and suck you right in to their drama in the hopes you’ll right this wrong for them. 

Misdirection Magicians

Energy vampires are masters at creating misdirection to cover their tracks and avoid a confrontation (especially when they are being held accountable).

They are super clever at changing the subject to take the focus off them in hopes you’ll forget what it was you wanted to talk to them about. 

Sometimes that misdirection is directed to someone else…

Professional Finger Pointers 

Make no mistake about it… Energy vampires can be extremely charismatic and charm their way out of trouble when problems arise. They are quick witted and can be innovative in their attempts to point fingers at someone else in most every situation. They rarely accept accountability or culpability for their part when a challenge or issue arises.  

They also NEVER seem to get along with the team member that holds them accountable, although they will never admit that’s why friction exists. They will target that person and look for any imperfections in their work or personality as a “cover” to why they really don’t like them.  


Since energy vampires never like to share the spotlight, they often find it hard to share in someone’s else’s good fortune. On the other side, they find it even more difficult to empathize with someone’s misfortune… As something that’s happened to them is much worse and takes priority. 

They are also terrible collaborators, and you’ll likely hear them constantly one-up everyone on the team. 

“That’s great you made that sale! Only three more sales to go to catch up with me!” is something they might say. 

Bags Packed For a Guilt Trip? 

 Energy vampires often rely on guilt trips to get what they want. Shame is a great weapon they use against people who are compassionate and caring.

Caring individuals are the type of people energy vampires target the most, as they are the easiest to manipulate when it comes to empathy and guilt. 

Yikes! I don’t know about you, but I’m drained just thinking about all these behaviors!

Here’s the thing though…It’s important to recognize all of these behaviors so you can make efforts and take immediate ACTION to rectify it. 

In mild cases, the first step is to create boundaries.  This can sometimes work to resolve the issue. In more extreme cases, removing the person from your company entirely is the only solution. 

I’ve been in this situation (not often), but after an energy vampire is removed from the equation, you’ll know it was the right decision when you and your team feel a complete sense of relief that “It’s finally over”. 

Here are a few tips when creating boundaries…

NEVER give them an inch, as they will take a mile. Set super clear expectations and stick to them no matter what. 

At the same time, you must also adjust your expectations. You can’t fix an energy vampire, but you can reshape your expectations about them and be mindful how you are going to react to their response, action, or situation. 

Remember, it’s your choice whether you decide to “take the bait” or not. 

In my experience, when an energy vampire has infiltrated your team, and there is no indication it is getting better, there’s really nothing you can do but let them go. 

The damage that can be done to you and your team isn’t worth it (no matter how talented they are)

Obviously, anything you can do to prevent toxic energy vampires from making a permanent home within your business is key. 

For example, when my team is hiring new team members for clients, not only do we put candidates through a rigorous DIS-qualification process; after our client hires them, we require they put them on a 90-day trial period. This further ensures a right fit for them and for the new hire

Just another thing to consider as you build your dream team!

To your success, David

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