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Jennifer Newman: How to deal with vampire coworkers

Workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman explains how these negative coworkers affect productivity and what to do about it.

Negative coworkers depress productivity and lower morale in the workplace, says psychologist

Workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman explains why negative coworkers are more than just a nuisance at work. (Getty Images)

Are the people at work sucking you dry?

These "workplace vampires" leave those around them feeling chronically drained, rather than motivated. 

"They tend to be adept at killing new ideas and excitement for innovation. They're negative, they're quick to find things  wrong with life, work and other people, and they're masters of the 'Yes, but...' answer," said workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman.

Negativity affects productivity

These coworkers depress productivity and reduce overall morale in the workplace, said Newman. 

They point out flaws and make personal attacks under the guise of providing feedback, she said.

"Bosses like this deflate their team and rob them of their enthusiasm.

"It really is de-energizing because it's denigration," said Newman.

Following these kinds of draining interactions, workers need to recover and may spread further negativity by venting about what happened. 

Individuals may begin to isolate themselves, and may stop exercising, eating or sleeping properly, which can result in further depletion, she said.

How to ward the 'vampires' away

"It's not going to be with garlic or any type of that thing," joked Newman.

Instead, consider using somebody else as a buffer so that you aren't locked in a life-sucking one-on-one situation. 

"You have to try to limit your exposure," she said.

"Cultivate a sense of learning at work. Ward off negativity by looking for things that give you energy, as opposed to being around folks like that."

Newman also suggests keeping a strong connection with your family and community at large, and actively seeking out things that boost your frame of mind.


To hear the full interview with Jennifer Newman, listen to the audio labelled: How to ward off vampire coworkers that drain your energy on the job.

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