You have probably come across people that you find it difficult to talk to or be around. Energy thieves who get you in a bad mood or make you tired. Maybe you experience that person as negative or annoying. But what is really happening?
The best definition of energy thieves I have come across is “people who want you to take over their problems”. They don’t just want you to listen, they want to involve you in what they find problematic. Ideally, you should take over the responsibility for the problem and solve it.
It’s of course a different thing if one of the two people involved is depenent on the other for some reason. Young children for example, need the help of their parents. Managers have the main responsibility in a workplace, etc. Even though there may be an unhealthy distribution of responsibility even in those two examples, this primarily applies to people in a fairly equal relationship. Where both are fully capable of taking care of themselves, but where one still manages to transfer their problems to the other.
Some people are better than others at sensing the vibe in a room. They feel the atmosphere and see or feel when something is wrong. This makes them an easy target for those who want to put their problems in someone else’s lap.
What happens when you are “sucked into” someone else’s problems is that you go into the other person’s energy. This is why it can feel like being dragged down. It definitely does not feel very good, and that makes you want to create some kind of change so the other person will feel better.
But being empathetic does not necessarily mean that you have to listen to everyone who complains.
The solution is not the solution
Maybe you come up with an idea quite quickly that would actually solve the other person’s problem. But, if that solution involves some kind of effort or change in attitude for the energy thief, you can count on there being several bullet proof arguments that makes that solution impossible for this particular person. Frustrating? Yep.
Do not take over the problem
As soon as you have established that the energy thief’s agenda is not just to get constructive advice or someone that will listen for a little while, you need to back off. A sure sign is usually that you feel more and more discomfort and frustration.
You have no obligation, nor any opportunity, to help an energy thief by listening or discussing their problems. The goal is not to find a solution. The goal is to involve you.
If you feel like it, you can try asking questions that reverse the problem. Maybe it leads forward and helps the energy thief to accept responsibility for their problems. Otherwise, the best thing you can do is to change the subject or get out of the conversation in a reasonably polite way and leave.
To retain your own energy
Being receptive to other people’s energy can be a great asset. You also pick up the good things and are easily affected when someone is happy. You may be greatly touched by beautiful things and have easy access to strong and deep feelings. It’s an asset, for sure. Feeling a lot makes you more alive. But being receptive to other people’s energy doesn’t mean that you need to immediately tune into it and start feeling the same. You can choose how you want to feel.
For most people, it is not entirely easy to maintain a high, comfortable frequency without effort. It is built on the choices you make and it needs to be maintained. If you regularly allow yourself to be pulled down by other people it becomes more difficult to feel good about yourself. Which is of no use to no one.
If you identify as a target for energy thieves you can try to imagine that you have a protective cover around you that numbs your feelings a little, so you don’t immediately let everything all the way in. That gives you time to make a decision and an active choice. Some control questions you can ask: Do I want to go into this person’s energy? Does anything get better if I do? Is this the right time?