What is an Energy Vampire?
Energy vampires are those people you meet that drain you - emotionally, physically, mentally. They might be drama queens or perpetual victims or constantly negative. They tend to make everything about their self, their challenge. Their drama or situation is always "more" than yours - more distressing, more challenging, more worthy of talking about...
How to spot them?
The behaviours above are good indicators, but to the above you can add people who use guilt trips or ultimatums with you. Got good news? the Energy Vampire will take your news and turn it into something about them or talk it down. But for me it's the feeling you have with them and after spending time with them - you feel low energy, drained emotionally and often physically. They have a problem for every solution
How to deal with them?
Awareness is the first step! Once you have recognized the behaviour you can begin to change what you control - not them - you! Set boundaries - either explicitly or implicitly for your self. Limit your interactions.
If you must see them limit how much you respond or react to their drama / story / situation. Neutral language, neutral viewpoint. You can't change them but you can control yourself. Limit the reactions you give.
Be ready to say, "I don't feel like it" and hold your position. Remember they'll try to guilt / bully / manipulate you to have a coffee, meal or go to a movie, pub or club. Just say no.
And above all remember they don't want to be this way. The culmination of their life experiences: family, relationships and employment have created this dynamic. So if you can find the love in you, set boundaries, but don't be cruel; limit the interactions but be your loving self when you do see them; guard your emotional capacity but don't be unavailable.
Remember it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness