Does Garlic Work On Energy Vampires?

Did the title make you doubt my sanity? Haha! It will all make sense as you read on. I have been listening to this fascinating podcast over the past 2 weeks called Founder Thesis wherein the host interviews many successful Indian start-up founders. You might be aware that I started my own business last year and this podcast has been super helpful in giving me ideas about what I can do better. While listening to the business side of the podcast interviews has been educating, I also discovered a concept called ‘Energy Vampires’ that was a revelation for me and explained so much about my interactions with the people in my life.

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Over the past 3-4 years, I’ve noticed that I thrive and feel more energetic when I get some ‘me time’ and often feel drained after interacting with some friends and family members. My understanding of it was that I have a limit to how much social interaction I enjoy and overdoing it leads to me feeling drained out while hanging out with people. But the concept of energy vampires changed my perception of my interactions.

So what or who is an energy vampire? An energy vampire is simply anyone who zaps the energy out of you. Have you had an interaction with someone that left you feeling drained out? That is exactly what an energy vampire does – he/she feeds off of your energy. They can do so in different ways. Some examples are:

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  • The Critic: Being insecure themselves, they prey on the insecurities of others by bringing them down with their criticism. Eg: A coworker criticizing you for taking 4 hours to do a piece of work that they believe could have been done in 2 hours.
  • The Martyr: They want to pass on the blame of their problems to someone else and never take responsibility for their contribution to their problems. Eg: Every time something gets hard, they’ll find some incident in their past to blame for their woes.
  • The Shifters: These are people that will diminish your problems by playing up their own. Eg: you were only stuck in traffic for an hour, my flight got delayed by 3 hours and I was stuck in the airport with nothing to do and so many annoying people around – it was so much worse.
  • The Users: This category will use your good nature to get what they want by unloading their troubles/stories/problems onto you and then disappearing before you get a chance to share your woes.
  • The Codependents: These are people who are emotionally needy and latch onto others to get their feed. They often use romantic relationships to get their fill of drama but also, often use friendships to do the same. Eg: Continuing in a bad relationship cause they are super codependent and can’t imagine being alone.

What are the signs that you feel after hanging out with an energy vampire? The main sign is that you feel drained out and emotionally zapped. You feel like you are giving more emotions and care than you are getting back – the balance of giving and receiving is off. I have often felt like this after hanging out with some friends and while reading the categories I could actually categorize a lot of them into these categories. (Eg: My ex-flatmate loved talking and unloading her woes/stories onto me but would lose interest in the conversation as soon as I’d start sharing my stories. I always wondered why I felt drained out after our interactions and realized this was a pattern and called her out too about it.) Looking back what I believed was me running out of my social clock was actually just me being zapped out of my energy and needing a break to recoup. Ironically, I had an interaction with a blogger recently that left me feeling zapped and now I can understand why.

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The best way to deal with energy vampires – is to set some boundaries with people that leave you feeling drained out. If they are close enough to you, calling them out on their behaviours that leave you feeling drained is a great way to keep your relationship going. I unconsciously chose to set boundaries and limit my interaction to conserve energy but ended up doing so with everyone instead of just the energy vampires cause I wasn’t able to tell them apart.

Finally, it is also important to realize that we can be energy vampires in someone else’s life. I totally see myself being The Critic. As an insecure person, I have had a tendency to criticize and bring down those close to me. This is something that I identified some time back and I am working to correct this behaviour.

So does garlic work on energy vampires? Maybe. Maybe bad breath will help you get some distance from them but overall – boundaries work better than garlic.

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Does this concept resonate with you? Do you see people around you that take more energy from you than give back? Has any interaction left you feeling zapped? Share your stories in the comments!

If you haven’t already, check out my other recent posts:

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting article, it explains so much!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. utahan15 says:

    denim and leather
    gina and heather
    red and blue
    me and you

    Liked by 1 person

  3. petespringerauthor says:

    One of my other blogging friends writes about this topic quite often. Her term is “energy-sucking vampires.” 🤣

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Happy Panda says:

      I’d love to read her posts. Please share a link – if it is not too much trouble.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. petespringerauthor says:

        The link is so long, I can’t get it to fit. I’ll send you to her blog. Her article is the third or fourth post down.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Feeling drained is the biggest tell tale sign. I come from a family of gossippers and complainers (on my mom’s side) while my dad’s side tends to be a little more open and in line with how I live my life. I’ve moved away from home 9 years ago and it helped a lot, but even on certain Skype calls/texts sometimes it creeps up. Setting boundaries is so important to maintain your energy, and in time your optimism and self-care habits can rub off on them too!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Doer Mindset says:

    hahaha I read the title three times trying to understand !! after reading the post everything made sense. Many people, I know are energy vampires, and they don’t know it. Definitely, boundaries are needed for your own sanity.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post! Yes over the years I’ve learned this about people as well and I tend to be able to spot them very quickly now. So if I come across someone toxic, I pretty much put a wall up right away and steer clear of them if I can. My peace and sanity are just too important to deal with that crap. Such an amazing life lesson you’re learning and I hope you can find some people IRL who lift you up and don’t zap you! That’s also taken me many years to find 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Tamara Kulish from says:

    Years ago when I was very much a people pleaser and codependent, I’d have people telling me about energy vampires and how to protect myself. The thing is, I was a martyr, and until I was absolutely drained and had given my all to someone, did I feel “validated” that I had done my job of “serving” them. When I started putting up boundaries, they mostly went away.

    I now find myself needing to put up boundaries with a young person who is dear to me, and I’ve already spoken to her mother to be able to approach it in a way that a young person can understand because she hasn’t listened to me in the past. These are the hard conversations to do, but very necessary for our own mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I knew somebody like this. But he was more than just an energy vampire. He was a monster. There is a difference. Energy vampires just suck your good vibes. Monsters try to ruin your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Moksha,

    “The Shifters” and “The Users” are annoying. However, I myself fall in the category of “The Codependents”, if I qualify for it.

    I’m not in a relationship at the moment. Neither I do any kind of drama.

    But I must say that many times I emotionally broke, and I try to understand the situation.

    I need a genuine guide at that time who introduces me to the positive reality and hope.

    I’m co-dependent on my family, friends and teachers. But I am learning to walk on my own feet. And becoming more stronger.

    Learning: Be rational thinker and educate yourself. Be capable.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ally Bean says:

    I’m familiar with energy vampires. It took me a while to catch on to their ways, but now that I have I keep *garlic* around. The ones who pester me the most are the Shifters. Oy vey, the problems they have. 🙄


  11. Pooja G says:

    I don’t know if you watch “What We Do In The Shadows” but it’s a satirical comedy about vampire that I would 100% recommend. Anyway, among regular vampires there is also one that is an actual energy vampire that kills people by draining their energy. Those kind of people exist in real life too and they really seem to suck your energy out. I think boundaries is the best way to to deal with them and if that does work throwing garlic at them has gotten me great results too.


  12. Forestwood says:

    No one in the world is perfect and that is never more true of these folk, in a collective sense. Being aware of their energy-sucking ways is the first step to setting those boundaries. Unless the person is toxic, you can still have a relationship keeping boundaries intact and in that way you can be a role model for them. They are on a journey of self discovery about social interactions too. Having said that, as an introvert I sometimes need a lie down and silence after an interaction with one of them!


  13. Qonyike says:

    Maybe were twins, because I also see myself as a critic. But this is eye-opening 👌❤️


  14. Yes, yes, yes! I love the idea of it! Good fences make good neighbours just like healthy boundaries make for healthy relationships!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Juliette says:

    Great post! I didn’t know about this concept but I surely know a lot of people that could fit in one or more of these categories! I have worked a lot on setting boundaries with some people in my life lately and while I still suck at it, I feel like it’s getting easier to recognise some of these behavioural patterns, which in turn makes it easier to distance myself and set boundaries.
    And as you said, everyone could be an “energy vampire” to someone else, the key is to realise it and work on it!


  16. amyerusso says:

    Such a great post! Definitely enlightening.


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