I’ve been on the topic of priorities this past while. There are the things we choose to do with our time, but there are also the people we choose to spend time with. Which leads us to the energy vampire. No, this is not a genuine psychological term, although I was amazed to read that real psychologists use it. I am a real psychologist, but I only use it in jest. Whether or not I jest, I believe we all know one.
An EV is always in crisis or emotionally wearying or overwhelmed. He’ll call at his convenience or when he needs something but is MIA when you could use his support. Time spent with him is exhausting. If you are reading this post, I am not speaking of you. The very act of reading makes you attentive and kind and supportive of me.
Lately I’ve heard many stories of EVs and how people deal with them. Most recently, a friend I was coffeeing with mentioned her plan to text a fellow who had stood her up to say: “No more.” She had wanted to tell him in person before he bailed on their date. I encouraged her to text him while we visited, knowing a kiss-off text wouldn’t take long to write. And so she did, and so he responded with meaningless drivel, and that was that. I can’t speak for her but I think she felt better for taking action.
Some people just have to go, and pronto. My friend had set aside time for this dodo, and he had bailed. The dead weight was dragging her down, so she acted, and admirably I might add. In the process, she determined that internet dating was not for her, so she quit that venture too.
Who says an EV can’t be an activity or a profession or even that bestseller that everyone is raving about? Let’s not limit EVs to people, people! I once moved to a new gym because too many women started asking me for consults in the shower. I didn’t go to the gym to work before my workday even started.
I don’t have time or energy for EVs, perhaps because I’ve become one myself since I was diagnosed with cancer. I see people on my terms, I don’t offer the same level of support, and sometimes I am MIA when you need me. If we do get together, I may barely be able to follow a conversation, or I might not be my usual animated self.
We are all EVs sometimes. Everyone has crises and needs the support of others. I just try to be careful not to overdo my EVness by spreading it out through my support group. I sometimes even leave my EV at home. Occasionally I am fun to be around and supportive and able to listen. I hope that these parts of me balance out.
It took cancer for me to acknowledge my inner EV, and to realize that I could pare down the EVs in my life. You needn’t wait to get sick. Follow the example of my healthy friend, who took her bulls by the horns. She reminded me that not everyone deserves three strikes before they’re out.
And then she suggested we reconvene for a lunch date. Phew. I’m not out yet.