An energy vampire: No, it’s not the subject of a new teen movie franchise à la Twilight. It’s a real-life term for the people in your life who suck up all your energy (you know, like vampires). Chances are you’ve come into contact with one, even if you didn’t know it at the time. That’s why you should learn how to spot them and how to deal with them.

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vampire dracula
Universal Pictures

Know how to identify them
The term “energy vampire” seems aggressively negative, like this person is actively seeking to ruin your life. That’s totally not the case. An energy vampire doesn’t have to be an enemy at all—she might be your most fun friend. You can tell someone is one, though, if you feel drained after every interaction with them. They tend to be dramatic, needy and high maintenance.

Set boundaries
The types of boundaries you should set will depend on your relationship. If it’s a friend, know your limits. Know the point at which her company becomes too much and know when to walk away. If it’s someone whose company you don’t value but is in your life nonetheless (like the office gossip), put a time limit on your interactions by saying something like, “I only have five minutes.” Once you set these boundaries, stand your ground.

vampire trueblood
HBO

Don’t be afraid to be a little rude
If you’re a people pleaser, this one’s going to be tough, but sometimes that’s the only way to get the message across that you’re done with them. This might mean interrupting them in a conversation or flat out denying a request to do something. Put yourself first in these situations and be OK with being firm.

Rely on buffers
When it comes to dealing with a draining friend, there’s strength in numbers. Make an effort to hang out with her only in groups. This way, her energy-sucking powers will be split between a few people instead of just you.

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vampire count
Sesame Workshop

Don’t try to fix them
It might be tempting, but resist wasting your own time and energy trying to change her ways. Accept an energy vampire for who she is—a vibrant but sometimes exhausting personality—and keep your interactions as light and causal as possible.

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