Like most people, I’m scared of aliens, zombies, and – occasionally when I get up to pee in the middle of the night – Bloody Mary. But there is one modern-day monster more frightening than any of these terrifying ancient legends: energy vampires.

Energy vampires appear ordinary on the exterior, but spending any amount of time with one can be enough to turn you  into a full-blown hermit. Before you know it, the thought of spending time with one of these life suckers again makes your armpits go into “raging rapids” mode and sets your hands a-quiver. The only remedy is hiding under your favorite fuzzy afghan with a warm glass of milk and a book of “super easy” Sudoku.  

But how can you tell if someone is an energy vampire (before you inadvertently fall under their spell and end up writhing impotently on the floor in a puddle of your own tears)? Well, all energy vampires share certain traits, and below are the six most common. If you encounter someone exhibiting these behaviors, run from them like they’re the police and you have a crack pipe in your pocket, and never look back. If they try to follow you, kick them in the junk. This is not a situation where manners matter.

And if you recognize yourself in any of these traits below, may God save your soul

1)      Energy vampires are usually louder than any situation requires. Of course, being loud in and of itself doesn’t necessarily make someone an energy vampire. Some people just have a really great stage-voice. The sort of loud I mean is the kind where it’s really obvious a person needs everyfuckingone to hear them. They want to cause a scene, be heard, make people look, draw them into to their vampires selves. For example, if you’re at the library with a friend and she suddenly wants to discuss all the scandalous scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey in a louder-than-normal speaking voice, you might be kanoodling with an energy vampire. Run.

2)      Energy vampires complain a LOT. In fact, almost everything they say is a complaint of some sort. They can be sneaky about this sometimes, though; sometimes they’ll complain but try to make it look like they’re not really complaining. Example: posting a hateful comment about one’s spouse and following it up with a winky-face.

3)      Energy vampires Bogart entire conversations. We’ve all done this at one time or another. Sometimes we get off the phone only to realize with horror that we did most of the talking, and we feel like a giant asshole because of it. Most of us make a mental note to ask that person more questions next time or to just shut the hell up and listen. We want to make sure our friend gets a little reciprocal validation. But not energy vampires. They never shut up about themselves and it never occurs to them to ask about anyone else. This is probably the most stand-out trait of energy vampires. Again, this can be tricky, because sometimes they’ll ask about you or your family and after you’ve spoken one sentence, they’ll use that sentence as a diving board to belly flop back into their swimming pool of self-adulation.

4)      Energy vampires exaggerate. This trait is particularly draining, because when conversing with an energy vampire, your brain can never fall into a relaxed pattern of thinking as it’s too busy shooting down five gazillion red flags. “Wait, your husband’s bonus was how much? And you bought a what with it? And it cost how much? And why are you telling me this?” Keeping up with all the fake awesome is just too much for any normal human brain to process.

5)      Energy vampires are often fraudulently insecure. Do you have someone in your life who requires constant reassurance about everything? Or batters themselves with insult after insult? You suspect they don’t really believe all these terrible things they’re saying about themselves, but are making negative comments for the sole purpose of hearing you disagree with them. This is because they get a big payoff when you spoon feed your precious life force to them in the form of flattery and validation.

6)      Energy vampires gossip. They say terrible things about people they supposedly love; frequently preambling their negativity with a phrase like “bless her heart.” For example: “Bless her heart, but she is just the biggest bitch on two legs that I have ever seen! I love her to death but she is such a total bitch.” See how your brain has to go into over-drive trying to figure that shit out? It’s exhausting.

Memorize these important signals so you too can prevent yourself from being drawn into “friendship” by the wily, hypnotic allure of what first appears to be a typically extroverted person. Or you could end up like so many millions of the energy vampires’ hapless prey; empty shells, shuffling the sidewalks aimlessly and staring off into the distance with haunted, unseeing eyes.

Or, if all else fails, just remember to always carry around a book of easy Sudoku.


Kristen Mae is a novelist, freelancer, classical musician, and artist. Follow her on Abandoning Pretense, and check out her books, Beyond the Break and Red Water, available now at most online booksellers.


  1. Loved this! I call them energy vampires too! I repeated the pattern of attracting this type of friend (?) and relationships for a long time before I finally figured out how much time I wasted on people who only cared about themselves for the most part. It was a long road but I have now used the experience to my advantage with my talk show and book about it all. Humor gets you through a lot of negative situations which can help shed light on certain things. Always watch for red flags and listen to those spidey senses! It will save you a lot of bullsh#t in your life. Glad I found this blog/website! <3

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