Every one of us has that one friend, or a few of them, who we love but cannot stand at the same time. They drain you with their life’s issues, drone about their latest relationship problem or simply empty your liquor cabinet and leave without even a “thank you”.
It won’t be wrong to call these friends 'vampires' — as a recent reports in British tabloid, The Daily Mail did — simply because they suck the life out of you.
Friend or foe?
The problem with vampire friends is not that they are needy, but the fact that they are not as considerate towards your problems, as you are to theirs. “Since school, I have been the shoulder to cry on for one of my friends. She begs me for advice but never uses it. And when I have a problem, she won't even bother to listen to me patiently,” says Anubha Goel, a 27-year-old marketing executive, adding, “My husband has repeatedly told me that this friend takes advantage of me. But it’s difficult to break ties with a good pal and I feel guilty too.”
Rohit Iyer, a 28-year-old media professional, invariably ends up being the protective escort to his friend whenever she’s drunk, and hates every bit of it. “I can never have fun because I always have to watch out for her. And whether she is drunk or not, she always wants to be the centre of all the attention. We have been friends for years now, so I can’t be rude to her. But, I am very tired of this.”
Learn to say no
So how do you deal with a ‘vampire friend’? On the one hand, you don’t want to upset a good friend, but on the other, you know that he/she is using you as a punching bag.
City-based psychologist Aditi Samant says, “Dealing with such people can be difficult. They don’t realise they are being extremely needy. They think it’s perfectly okay to burden others with their problems because, for them, it’s about sharing their thoughts.”
If the needy pal happens to be a close friend, talking it out might solve your issues. “A close friend will see what your’re saying. But if it’s someone who has never bothered to respect you, or your sentiments, then maybe it’s time you let them go. The bottom line is, you must never let anyone take advantage of you, and it will only lower you own self-esteem.”
Are you a vampire friend?
Do you have a constant urge to unload your problems on others?
Notice how your friends react to you when you tell them your problems. Are they positive or do they look bored and want to change the topic?
Ask yourself if you are encroaching their space.
Do you ever listen out to their issues instead?