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The Happiness Vampires



We all know them, those individuals who are the Debbie and Donald Downers of the holiday season, the grinches who try to steal happiness. They seem to come out more during this time of year. They appear to have the ability to find fault with almost everything. They are the happiness vampires.

In our attempt to be nice to everyone during this time of the season, we try to engage with more people, to do our “charity work” at family or friends’ events and talk with them. We walk away swearing that we won’t do this again next year, but we repeat. They try to suck us dry of the happiness spirit, those devilish vampires of happiness. What’s up with that?

Remember, these are people who are not satisfied with their own lives, and so they attempt to bring everyone else down to their levels of misery. They are not picky about whose neck they bite. They find some kind of morbid pleasure in making others uncomfortable and sad – misery loves company.

So, what should you do if you find yourself trapped by such a person. You don’t want to be impolite, but you find yourself getting more and more irritated. They tend not to pick up on social cues and simply continue their antics. This may sound like a no-brainer, but simply excuse yourself and walk away. These people have poor personal boundaries. There’s an interesting saying- “The only people who will be upset with you setting boundaries are those who need boundaries the most.” You can try different approaches like light-hearted joking or sarcasm, or being direct. Remember, YOU are not responsible for their happiness, especially during the holiday season.

For the most part, I always try being gentle first, but sometimes no matter what I do, they don’t get the message. Often, I just change the subject. I’m not always successful, but most of the time it works.

So, Debbie and Donald Downer, please don’t try to steal the happiness of others. This is supposed to be the happiest time of the year.

Tikkun Olam- heal the world. Leave it a better place when you leave.

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