How to Deal With People Who Drain Your Energy, According to Psychotherapists
If there’s someone in your life who’s always complaining, always has problems, and needs you to help and comfort them without ever offering anything in return — they are likely an emotionally draining person, especially if you notice that you feel exhausted every time you talk to them. That’s not okay, and you need to make a change to save your mental and physical health.
We at Bright Side found out what you can do when someone close to you is draining your energy. And we hope our tips will help you, and even the emotionally-draining person, find some peace.
Don’t try to offer them a solution.
When someone comes to you with their problems, don’t try to fix them. What you can do is support them emotionally, but you don’t have to play the role of a therapist or parent who solves all their problems for them. Put that responsibility back on their shoulders and encourage them to make decisions on their own because they know what’s best for them.
Suggest getting professional help.
If a person is constantly complaining about their life, they’re always unhappy about something, and it doesn’t seem to have an end — it might be a sign that the person needs psychological help. While you might emotionally support them temporarily, it won’t fix the root cause of all their problems, which could be issues with mental health.
Limit your contact.
Try to limit the time you spend with people who you find emotionally draining. For example, you can decide not to answer their messages if they write to you early in the morning, late at night, or during the weekend. If they come to you in person, tell them right away that you’ll hear them out but that you don’t have a lot of time and will need to go soon. This won’t make you a bad person or friend, you’ll just put more value on your time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere.
People who drain your energy often don’t understand your boundaries. They might talk to you about subjects that you don’t feel comfortable discussing, show up unannounced at your house, or call you with their problems when you’re at work. Depending on how close you are to such a person and how much energy you’re willing to spend on them, explain to them what your boundaries are. Don’t be angry or aggressive, but do it firmly so that they understand you really mean it.
Consider distancing yourself.
If you notice that the relationship with the person who drains your energy has an extremely negative effect on your mental health and you’re really suffering from it, it might be a good idea to cut that person out of your life. If the relationship is toxic and they use you to feel better about themselves without giving anything back, it might not be worth saving.
Don’t forget about self-care.
If you still want to be there for the person who makes you feel emotionally exhausted, make sure you also take time for yourself. Do something without that person where you don’t have to think about their problems and how to solve them.
Keep your cool.
Some people don’t complain about their life, they brag about it. They want to feel important, and they need your emotional validation. They might even belittle others to feel good about themselves. If someone’s wasting your time and energy in this way, try not to react aggressively. They want to feel valued, so when you reply to them, say something nice first. However, after that, also get your point across.
Use the “grey rock” method.
People who drain your energy feed on your emotional reaction to what they’re telling you. So if you want them to stop bothering you, don’t show any emotions, as if you were a rock. Keep your answers short and factual. You can even act bored, tired, or sick, and they’ll see that they’re not getting what they want from you.
Do you know someone who’s emotionally draining? How do you deal with them?