How to fend off that coworker who drains all your energy

Ever feel like when a certain coworker drops by to talk, your energy disappears in 3 … 2 … 1 … when they finally walk away? Here’s how to handle this person at work.

Ever feel like when a certain coworker drops by to talk, your energy disappears in 3 … 2 … 1 … when they finally walk away? Here’s how to handle this person at work.

Say nope, nope, nope

The answer doesn’t always have to be “yes.”

Christiane Northrup, M.D., an OB/GYN, author and radio show host, writes on her site about how empaths can deal with “energy vampires” in different areas of life. One of her tips is to use the word “no.”

“One of the best ways to protect yourself is to minimize your interactions with a vampire. You can do this by becoming ’empowered in the negative.’ In other words, learn how to turn people down. Saying ‘no’ takes practice. And, it’s all about compassion, which as an empath, you have plenty of. If you find it too difficult to say ‘no’ at first, start by saying, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ The main thing you need to master is stopping the knee-jerk ‘yes.’ ” she writes.

Don’t be a pushover

Brandon Smith, an author, executive coach, speaker and podcast host, writes on LinkedIn about how you should “be aggressive and take charge.”

“Emotional vampires tend to pray on our professional courtesies and politeness. They take charge of conversations and quickly turn the topic of conversation to themselves and what they want to talk about. They do not like aggressive conversationalists,” he writes. “If you are the one asking the questions of them and if you keep redirecting them back to the agenda, you’ll soon see that they will begin to avoid you. You prevent them from getting what they want and they don’t like that.”

Protect your time

Remember, your time is limited — especially at work.

Dr. Judith Orloff, M.D., an author and psychiatrist, writes about dealing with different types of ‘energy vampires’ in the office on her site. One of the types she describes is ‘the sob sister,’ who she describes as someone who plays the victim, is always ‘whining’ when you two talk and does a lot of ‘complaining’ instead of fixing what’s wrong.

This is how Orloff recommends dealing with someone like this: “Set clear boundaries. Limit the time you spend talking about her complaints. Say ‘no’ with a smile. For instance, with a co-worker, smile and say, ‘I’ll hold positive thoughts for the best possible outcome. Thank you for understanding that I’m on deadline and must get back to my project.’ ” she writes.

Don’t soak up all their bad vibes

Jon Gordon, a speaker and author, writes in his newsletter about how to interact with “EV’s,” or “energy vampires.”

“If you are not a manager or leader and you have EV’s on your team or in your office it’s also important that you decide to be more positive than the negativity your face. A simple rule is: Your positive energy must be greater than all the negativity.

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.