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You know who they are, right?

They hurtle toward you at a party, corner you in the hall. Ramble on about something or other, whining complaining joyless stressed. Their self-preoccupation is in extravagant bloom, venom raging under their veneer of social grace. On and on and on they go.

Yep. They’re the energy vampires, sucking you dry.

A minute or two in their presence, and you feel your spirit shrink, life draining right out of your soul.

At a party – extricate yourself, fast. But what if this person is a central member of a work team, a crucial client, or, God forbid, your boss?

Ouch. That’s when we invoke the Vampire Golden Rules.

Beware of the cheery vampire. He smiles and fawns and sucks you in so he can bite you in the back, the moment you walk out the door. Your stomach twists in knots in the face of his good cheer. Yes, he’s so very nice – but you don’t buy the bullshit.

Rule # 1: Play the game. Instead of crumbling, notice their game. Play the game. Play it on your terms. Out-cheer him. Then cut out with grace. It will leave him dumb-founded.

Beware of the hostile vampire. She carries a chip on each shoulder. Bitter angry wounded resentful, she unleashes every single one of her emotions on you, and her sarcasm will cut your heart like a knife.

Rule # 2: Drive the conversation. Let her whine – for no more than 90 seconds. Then reframe the conversation. How can I help you with …? What would happen if we …? Transform complaining energy into problem-solving energy. Take charge of the conversation.

Beware of the needy vampire. He drops by your office a little too often, sends too many emails, texts every few hours, ceaselessly solicits your advice. He seems to really, really, really want to be your friend. Problem is – he robs you of your time and offers nothing in return.

Rule # 3: Talk time constraints. Send very clear time signals. I have 15 minutes right now. Can we do this in 2 minutes? This is not a great time … Manage your boss with if/then statements. If we do this now, then that report will not get done. If/then is a beautiful reminder of the price of too much neediness.

But here’s the supreme golden vampire rule, the one to follow with every single vampire. Your secret vampire protection plan.

Rule # 4: Don the Golden Shield. Think sci-fi for a moment. You stand in a cone of golden light. See it. See the light surround your body like an energy shield. Vibrant, shimmering. No, you won’t beam into outer space. Stay where you are. This may feel just a little new-agey to you but energy is something we CAN see and sense. Visualize the cone, prepare to sense. And as you engage with the vampire, know that no mal-intent will penetrate your golden shield.

Go out, spot the vampires and do not shun or fear them. Follow the Vampire Golden Rules, and watch the vampire powers wither away.

Your energy is conserved. Beautiful, right?