Workplace Vampires, Find Out How To Handle Them

Since the return to office has become the norm, many people are dealing with workplace vampires. You know who they are. They’re the people who gain energy and drain yours by monopolizing the conversation and having an excessive need for validation or attention in the workspace. Whether you’re in the office fulltime or on a hybrid schedule, here is some solid advice to spot these bloodsuckers so you can avoid them and keep your energy.

The CDC has published numerous studies that workplace stress is on the rise. Nearly 40% of employees said they find their job “extremely stressful,” many citing stricter deadlines and longer hours as the source of their stress. Workplace vampires were, however, overlooked as a major cause of work-related stress. They are the people that you work with that suck your energy, leaving you feeling like you ran a marathon without getting up from your desk. Before you learn how to shut them out, you need to be able to spot them.

7 Types of Workplace Vampires

The Criticizing Vampire

This coworker feels superior to you. Making it ok to belittle, judge, or make you feel ashamed and small, which is not acceptable.

Self-defense tips: Remember that their behavior isn’t about you, so don’t take it personally. Don’t get defensive or combative. Rather, look at them, smile, and say, “Thank you, I’ll make a note of that,” and then walk away.

The Passive Aggressive Vampire

This colleague may be super sweet and then turn around and take the mask off. Their behavior is unpredictable, leaving you guessing who you’re working with and never knowing who’s walking through your office door.

Self-defense tips: As tempting as it may be to return their passive aggressiveness in kind, stop yourself. Remember, it’s a them problem, not a you problem, so don’t engage.

The Victimized Vampire

This coworker feels the world and everyone in the office is out to get them, relying on others to rescue them and make them feel safe.

Self-defense tips: Remind yourself that you are not a therapist. You need to set clear, firm boundaries and don’t get sucked into her pity party.

The Needy Vampire

This office mate is a bit intrusive. They may stand in your space or monopolize your time with non-stop chatter. They may be genuinely nice but demand too much attention, which is why they drain you mentally.

Self-defense tips: Keep a few phrases on your tongue for a quick getaway when they make an appearance, such as:

  • ” I have an important call in 5, so I have to keep it short.”
  • ” Let’s make it quick. I’m on a tight schedule today.”
  • ” I’d love to catch up for a few, perhaps some other time?”

When you’re dealing with a needy vampire, you need to set clear firm boundaries.

The Negative Vampire

This colleague may be a Debbie Downer, or they may be overwhelmed in the workplace. Their coping mechanism is, unfortunately, to dump their problems at your feet, leaving you feeling emotionally burdened.

Self-defense tips: You need to build an invisible shield around your mind. This will protect you from their negativity and prevent it from penetrating or influencing your mental space. Secondly, learn to walk away politely. You are under no obligation to stick around and play pop psychologist at work!

The Controlling Vampire

This coworker has an opinion about everything, knows what’s best for you, has a rigid sense of right and wrong, and needs to dominate. 

Self-defense tips: This may be tough to conquer, but you must feel confident in your choices and work performance. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Assert your opinion and then agree to disagree.

The Narcissistic Vampire

This coworker may be the most toxic of the bunch. They possess a feeling of grandiosity and are hungry for admiration and accolades. Most likely, they come across as charming unless they feel threatened, in which case, watch out!

Self-defense tips: set realistic expectations regarding interactions and do not expect a lot of teamwork or cooperation.

Develop A Game Plan

Now that you can spot those workplace vampires and you have the tools to ward them, you need to get comfortable with putting yourself first. Even in the workplace, self-awareness and self-care are critical if you want to perform your best. This information applies to those that work in groups, solo, in the office, or remotely. Remember your bag of tricks that you are armed with moving forward!

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Posted on August 16, 2023 by Melanie Rauch

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