6 traits of people who suck the life out of you (if you let them)

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

We’ve all encountered those who seem to drain our energy – they’re negative, attention-seeking, and often toxic. 

But they’re also pretty deceptive, making it harder for you to spot them. 

So, here are 6 traits of people who, if you allow them to, will suck the life out of you. I’ve also shared some tips on how to protect yourself, so let’s dive in: 

1) The eternal pessimists 

Negativity, on a constant basis, is incredibly draining. 

It saps all the hope and happiness out of you – and that’s exactly what happens when you hang out with a negative Nelly. 

You’ve surely got one in your friend circle, family, or in the form of a colleague. They seem to thrive on looking at the glass as half empty. 

Even when positivity stares them in the face, they firmly ignore it, instead resorting to dampening the mood with their gloomy forecasts. 

So, how can you protect yourself against such negativity? 

  • Limit the amount of time you spend with such people. Even family members. 
  • Explain how their negativity affects you – they might not even realize they’re doing it. 
  • Set clear boundaries – politely excuse yourself from draining conversations. 
  • Surround yourself with positive people instead. 

Ultimately, a negative person can only affect you as much as you allow them to. That’s why it’s vital to be proactive in choosing your social circles and who you spend time with! 

2) The drama divas 

The drama llamas of the world might be entertaining to watch on TV, but they can suck the life out of you in reality. 

They constantly attract trouble (or rather, create it), and will either drag you into their mess or expect you to be their personal therapist…free of charge. 

But it’s also draining to be around someone whose emotions change quicker than the weather. You never know what to expect. 

Especially when you find yourself sucked into their drama – this leaves little time to focus on your own life. 

Try this if you’ve got a few drama divas in your life: 

  • Be empathetic but avoid getting sucked into their drama by setting strong boundaries. 
  • Prioritize your well-being. Don’t feel guilty for taking some time away from the friendship. 
  • Be clear with the drama llama about why you’re stepping back – this could trigger them to examine their own life and perhaps, make some positive changes. 

It’s normal to feel bad for distancing yourself from someone who constantly seems to be “going through something”.

But remember – distance is necessary if you want to stay sane! 

3) The guilt-trippers 

I made friends with a woman a few years ago, we started casually meeting for a drink here and there. 

But I quickly noticed that if something good happened to me, she’d find a way to make me feel guilty about it…like I didn’t deserve the promotion at work, or to have adopted the kitten I bought home. 

Then came the times when I didn’t message her back straight away – she’d send emotional texts making me feel bad, completely ignoring the fact that I had been working all day. 

She was a guilt tripper. 

There’s no doubt you’ve met one of these before – they suck the life out of you because you constantly feel responsible for their happiness. And guilty when they’re unhappy. 

Here’s what I did to deal with the guilt tripper, which could help you too:

  • Stand up for yourself. Assert your feelings and rights when they make you feel guilty for something that has nothing to do with you. 
  • Refuse to get sucked in. Guilt-tripping is a form of manipulation, and it’s best to refuse to play along. 
  • Remove such people from your life. They might change, or they might not. But ultimately, you have to protect yourself. 

Be warned, the guilt tripper will resort to their normal tactics when you do make a stand. 

You’ve just got to stick to your guns and know that your life will be much happier without them in it. 

4) The narcissists 

“Narcissist” is a big buzzword right now. And probably because most of us have met one, and it’s liberating to put a name to the traits we all despise so much. 

So, what is it about narcissists that suck the life out of you?

Well, for one, they constantly prioritize themselves, never truly caring about your needs. They want constant attention but never give it back. 

Secondly, they refuse to take responsibility for themselves. This can be tiring and draining since they’re long accusatorial fingers will usually find you. 

And finally, they’re master manipulators. They find ways to get under your skin and poke at your sensitive parts. 

No matter how much they hurt you, they somehow manage to make it all your fault. 

Dealing with a narcissist isn’t easy. But there are a few things you do:

  • Set strong boundaries. My friend’s mom is a narcissist, and she’s only invited to family gatherings once or twice a year. That’s been put in place to ensure the well-being of her 3 adult kids! 
  • Seek support. Especially if it’s someone you can’t easily distance yourself from. Talk to good friends or consider therapy. 
  • Limit or end contact. Sometimes, no matter how many boundaries you put in place, walking away from a narcissist is the only option. 

Some would go as far as to say narcissists enjoy sucking the life out of people – it’s a hobby for them. Don’t feed into their mind games. Cut them off cold if you have to – anything to protect yourself. 

5) The chronic takers 

Ever met someone who constantly asks for favors, but is nowhere to be seen when you need something from them?

These are known as chronic takers (or as I like to call them, parasites). 

They abuse your goodwill and nature, leaving you feeling used and abused. You know they’re taking advantage of you, but you feel bad for turning them away. 

And they know that. They feed off that. That’s how they get away with doing what they do for so long. 

After a while, you end up feeling resentful and unvalued, which can be a major energy drainer, especially on your self-esteem and self-worth. 

So, how to deal with chronic takers?

  • Learn to say NO. Get comfortable with putting yourself first. 
  • Balance the scales. Ask them for favors in return and don’t be afraid to call them out on their selfish behavior. 
  • Stand your ground. Protect your energy. You aren’t an unlimited resource that people can keep taking from. 

Ultimately, friendships, or any form of relationship, are about give and take. And if someone doesn’t uphold their end of the deal, it’s time to say goodbye! 

6) The emotional vampires 

Remember the friend I mentioned earlier?

Yeah, she wasn’t just a guilt-tripper, she was an emotional vampire too (I got really lucky with that one). 

Every time I’d meet her, she’d drone on and on about her problems. At first, I was really empathetic. I tried to give her advice and be a shoulder to lean on.

But it became obvious that she wasn’t interested in solutions; she enjoyed having so many issues in life because that’s how she got sympathy and attention from others. 

After just a few weeks of “friendship,” I was done. I felt dread every time I saw a message with her name pop up. I felt exhausted after meeting her. 

Does this sound like someone you know? 

Emotional vampires are pretty common – they draw you in with a sob story and then suck the life outta you. 

Here’s what to do with emotional vampires: 

  • Establish emotional boundaries and remember, you’re not responsible for managing their emotions. 
  • Prioritize your mental health – take breaks when needed from this person. 
  • Consult a professional. If the toll of living or working with an emotional vampire wears you down, a professional can give you tools to protect yourself.

So, now we’ve covered 6 traits of people who suck the life out of you – but only if you let them. I hope you’ll consider the tips I’ve shared on how to protect yourself. 

Because toxic people aren’t going anywhere. All we can do is get educated, spot the signs, and put our own well-being and mental health first. 

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.


Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

12 signs you’re more than just tired, you’re completely burnt out

10 warning signs you’re in a loveless relationship