Fortunately, most people are generally good souls. But every once in awhile, you may run across someone who makes you feel like things "just aren't right." You may be dealing with an emotional vampire.
Here are ways to determine whether or not you're dealing with an emotional vampire...
1. Your gut tells you that something is different about this person. Trust your intuition; it's been given to you for a reason. If someone gives you chills, or a negative feeling, you can't ignore those things. If you feel a certain sense of dread when you're in the presence of the potential emotional vampire, or are reluctant to be around this person, you must heed those warning signs. Even if this is someone close to you, keep yourself open to this possibility.
2. Determine how this person's interactions make you feel. Does this person bring you up, as a supportive friend would, or drag you down? Is the person negative, always dwelling on things that are upsetting to you or to them? Do you feel as though a dark cloud has come over you when speaking to them or interacting with them? No matter how positive your outlook before speaking to the person... do you feel negative or bad when they're around? Do they always bring ANY conversation back to something negative? If the answer to these questions is yes, you're likely dealing with an emotional vampire.
3. Determine the frequency, timing, and nature of contact. Does this person always seem to bother you over small things when you have your own issues to deal with? (I'm not talking about a normal, healthy friendship where everything is a give-and-take; I am talking about a relationship where you give, and give, and are expected to give some more.) Does the person accept help or other things from you gladly, even extolling your virtues, but then seems to "disappear" or fill him/herself with excuses when your time of need arises? Or, worse yet, does this person seem to "kick you when you're down"? Even if they are not an emotional vampire... this type of behavior is unacceptable.
4. Discern your own feelings before and after contact. Do you feel drained of energy or positivity when your interaction with this person is over? Do you feel as though you've nothing left? It is especially important to figure out how you're feeling before the contact, and then assess your status post-contact. We all have our good days and bad days... but if there's a pattern to this draining/feeding process (especially if you can determine it over time)... you need to pay attention to this pattern of victimization.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against emotional vampires. Check my blog for more information for help in how to deal with them!