How to Deal with Four Kinds of Vampires in Your Life
Halloween may only come around once a year, but for some of us, it feels like we’re surrounded by vampires all year long. No, we’re not talking about blood-sucking creatures of the night that can steal the very essence of our souls. We’re talking about the people in our lives that seem to drain our time, energy, and patience, leaving us feeling frazzled, frustrated and empty.
Unfortunately, unlike mythical vampires, garlic, crosses and holy water won’t keep these people at bay. But fear not, we’ve outlined four types of vampires that commonly haunt us, and how to deal with them so you can take back the control over your own life.
1. The Time-Sucking Fiend
The time-sucking fiend is someone who drains your time relentlessly. They come to your office with long-winded speeches that could have been communicated in a single email, they call you at all hours, “just to say ‘hi’,” and they CC you and everyone else they know on every email that comes their way.
To protect yourself from these fiends, you must set firm boundaries for yourself. An open-door policy is great in theory, but in reality, it’s like an invitation to all the time-sucking fiends in your life. Instead, limit your open-door policy to specific times and schedule the rest of your work around those times.
When the time-sucking fiend approaches you with a request for your time, be polite but firm. Tell them that you’re busy with other tasks, but you’d be happy to discuss their request at a specific time later in the week. Remember, your time is valuable, so treat it as such.
2. The Humorless Hellhound
The humorless hellhound is someone who sucks the fun out of life. They take offense at every joke, demand explanations for every off-hand comment and complain to anyone who will listen if they feel like they’ve been made the butt of a joke.
When dealing with a humorless hellhound, keep your responses simple and straightforward. Say “It wasn’t important” and move the conversation onto another subject. Do not defend or condemn anyone who made a joke that upset the hellhound. Leave them to deal with it on their own.
Note: Sometimes people who make offensive remarks try to hide behind the mask of humor, saying “aw, it was just a joke!” Those who stand up to such comments are vanquishers, not humorless hellhounds. Learn to tell the difference.
3. The Vacuous Horror
The vacuous horror is someone who lives a shallow, superficial life. Their pleasures are simple: drink to excess, bed hot chicks or dudes, get high, play their music loud and party hard. They don’t want your time, they want your attention, and your jealousy, as if you should envy their pseudo-wannabe-MTV lives.
To deal with a vacuous horror, you must limit their access to your life. Be courteous but distant, and steer the conversation towards matters of greater substance. If necessary, use the “two-step” approach to extricate yourself from the conversation. Say “Yeah, that sounds great. Listen, I’ve got to get going,” and then leave.
4. The Detail Demon
The detail demon is someone who fixates on minor points that have no bearing on anything outside of their own mind. They want to discuss the pros and cons of the serial comma in the corporate style book, and they want to discuss it for a really long time.
To deal with a detail demon, do not give them control over your time. Instead, ask them to write up an itemized list of their concerns and email it to you. Most of their concerns won’t matter much, so you can usually give them a simple “go ahead” on the changes they suggest. But for any concerns of actual importance, you will need to address them.
In conclusion, vampires of all kinds can be dangerous to our productivity and well-being. But with some boundary-setting, patience, and assertiveness, you can vanquish these energy-sucking beasts and take back the control of your own life. Just remember, garlic, crosses and holy water won’t work on these vampires, so you’ll need to stick to the methods outlined above. Good luck!