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Strategies to Minimize Energy-Draining People in Your Life

Strategies to Minimize Energy-Draining People in Your Life

EMFs usually relate to “electromagnetic fields,” generated by electronics. Let me talk about another type of “EMF”—“Energy-draining, Mana-sucking Friends.” For those of you unfamiliar with the word “mana,” it is Hawaiian for “power” or “life force.” Do you have any of those?

These are the people who zap your energy, live in a world of negativity, lean on you too much, and leave you feeling drained. When they call, you think, “ugh,” and then either let the call go to voicemail or brace yourself for a tiring interaction. If you can relate, maybe you need a more effective strategy to deal with EMF friends or family members so that you don’t lose your energy dealing with them.

First, who are the EMF’s in your life?

Some people help you to build your energy, rejuvenating you (a reciprocal process), while EMFs leave you exhausted, tending to:

  • Not respect your time
  • Not take no for an answer.
  • Be “drama queens,” making mountains out of molehills.
  • Be judgmental, critical, and fault finders.
  • Complain and blame others for what’s going on.
  • Stay stuck in a problem that you’ve repeatedly listened to for years.
  • Never bring anything new to the table– it’s always about their bad relationships, horrible work situation, crazy life situation, etc.

Strategies for Minimizing your Time with EMFs

EMFs are not “bad people,” but they do not serve you, and their problems should not become yours. It’s okay to draw stronger boundaries, honor yourself, and spend less time with them.

Here are a few steps to help you now and in the future:

1. Clearly identify existing and potential EMFs. By name, you know who the current EMFs are. Identify future EMFs by trusting your intuition and visceral reactions after an encounter. Though this person may come across as witty and smart or have good stories to share, stay tuned in to how you feel during and after your encounter. If you feel tense, sad, confused, your energy lowers, or you are left with a negative vibe, this person could be a potential EMF to you.

2. Limit your contact. If you can’t limit your contact, for instance, with family members or coworkers, always start out the conversation with something like, “I only have a few minutes and then I have to go.” Keep the conversation brief and on point, then exit gracefully. If you cannot exit, lovingly tune the person out.

3. Do not allow yourself to get pulled in. You may think that you can help the individual fix his or her problems, but it is unlikely. Your best strategy is to set clear and firm limits, and resist offering solutions, even when asked. Listen for a short while, then say something like, “I’m sure you’ll find the right answer for yourself” or “Things will work themselves out. I’ll send you some good energy.” Then direct their attention to something positive. Be kind, but firm, and do not try to solve or fix anything.

4. Watch your emotional response. EMFs like people who react to them. When you offer an overly compassionate ear or get outraged or emotional, you draw these people in and teach them that they can depend on you for a reaction. A better strategy is to calmly listen, interact for a bit, and then disengage.

5. Still have trouble detaching? If you have a hard time holding the boundaries with certain EMFs, honestly ask yourself what you are getting out of it. Do they make you feel needed? Do you use your interactions with them as social currency with others? Do you feel “above them,” because they are so “messed up”? Do you feel sorry for them? If so, remember that it is up to them to make changes in their lives, not you.

I have seen first-hand how addressing energy-draining friends and people is essential to our wellness and can help to improve the quality of our lives.

Alice Inoue

Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Happiness University. She is an expert life guide, and author of five nationally award-winning books on life wisdom, self-growth and happiness. She has two columns, one in MidWeek titled “A Mindful Moment,” and an award-winning column in the Sunday Star-Advertiser called “Go Ask Alice” that offers pertinent life guidance. Through Happiness U, she helps both companies and individuals develop positive mindsets in order to live more inspired in both their professional and private lives.

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