Getting Acquainted with Social Vampires

COVID times and you met someone online. Basing on his profile picture he appears to be lean, slender, and neat. Digging more into the person and from the pictures of his travels and group photos he shared via social media, he seems to have many friends and takes good care of himself. Exchanges with him shows that he is knowledgable of many things and conversations with him is often smooth….. Cool!

Sounds promising. But as always, knowing a person online is way different than being in person. For one, communication is filtered- the speakers often don’t see each other. In some cases, the tendency of both speakers is to put their best foot forward. It is easier to convey thoughts just typing away since when not satisfied with how the intended response is expressed, it is always convenient to just erase and make a do-over.

Having established a level of confidence, both parties agree to meet and seal their relationship. As time went on, the other feels like the relationship seems to not be satisfying; being around the person feels draining, and eventually, boredom set in. Conversations have grown bad, as the trend of communication always geared towards one half of the relationship. This kind of situation expunges one’s energy three ways: physically, emotionally, and socially. It might, in some way, even take out one’s confidence and self worth.

Social vampires are those people who talk about themselves forever. They are the ones who overpower others in the entire conversation with unrelated anecdotes, unsolicited advice, and don’t listen to anything anyone else is saying. They may even forget that there are others in the conversation at all while they talk and talk and talk incessantly and don’t seem to tire from it. They are the ones who do not give high regard for house rules as they have the tendency to overstay as those who are usually the last leave in a party or gathering.

On one hand, they are the kinds of people who are initially exciting; they talk a lot, a wealth of wonder, they seem to know a lot, and it was their assertiveness and confidence that attracted us to them in the first place. This would diminish in time as one would feel utterly frustrated. Be this as it may, as each one is wired differently, this does not hold true for everyone.

Truth be told, on the part of the person himself, some of those who share in the same trait may not be aware of how they are so in any given social circumstance, it could be that he may not find his behavior to be malicious or ill-intended.

Social vampires are among us: family, friends, acquaintances, partner, etc., but while it seems like they can’t be avoided, there are ways to limit exposure to such characters in a way that won’t have a negative effect on both parties:
1. Set Boundaries – Voice out your current social treshhold how you may be feeling at the moment for them to respect your current state.
2. Let them know when they have over stepped in some way- They should realize that what they have done/ doing does not sit well with your own person.
3. Invite them for an activity that would only limit your exposure to them so they would know that their time with you is limited.

This takes into account how they would feel and not to appear as if you want to get rid of them right that very instant. Start by bearing in mind the amount of good the relationship has brought into your life. However, if it seems like the other person does not acknowledge the negative effect on your wellbeing after all, it may be time to break away. Once it has been identified as such, no one can force anyone to stay with a social vampire. It is still the own person’s decision. It won’t hurt to be rational, would it? Remember that there is a need to re-energize after being exposed to social vampires who may have drained us of our energy.

Nothing beats an effective communication. Believe you me, if your partner doesn’t seem like he has something to say, there is a way to bring out and establish a good balanced conversation for a win-win kind of situation.

We all know, in our heart of hearts, the kind of people we should be surrounding ourselves with on a daily basis (friends, colleagues, partner, and family members) are the type who would energize us with their presence, as well as generate warmth and positivity. They are those who should help give that boost of confidence and make us feel good about ourselves. Needless to say, the people whom we choose are those who would listen to our every word.

*Currently working at the Philippine International Convention Center, where she began services 22 years ago, Kathryn Valladolid Ebrahim is an alumna of St. Scholastica’s College–Manila; she finished a degree in Bachelor of Arts, major in Sociology, at the University of Santó Tomás; drawing and writing are her primary avocations.