From LeStat, to Angel, to Dracula, and, yes, even Edward Cullen, vampires are a force in our culture. The glamour and gore satisfy the imagination like the salty sweet combination of pretzels and chocolate. Some combinations are just matchless.

While vampires drain the blood of their victims and leave them undead, there are those people we come across in life who are soul vampires. Those people who seems to suck the very life out of us, and leave us dead inside. I’ve met many kinds.

The leech: That needy friend who can’t get enough sympathy. The world is never positive and so the mere presence of this friend leaves you lethargic – as if anemic.

The thief: That friend who seems determined to be the humbug. Each joy you bring is met with the downside, the risks, the potential pitfalls, the discouragement.

The superlative: Ah, yes. We all know this person. Each success you have is met with their “greater” accomplishment. Each tragedy you share solicits a story of their deeper trauma.

The devil: The one who seems to be your best hope, help, and support. This person is a light, bright and shining. Until challenges come or life is too hard, or the cost is too great. Then you find that your misplaced trust has left you alone, and you, once again, are left feeling disoriented and anemic, unable to find your strength after having the heart and soul drained by the betrayal.

I hate each and everyone of these soul eaters. I am getting better and better at smelling them from a mile away and avoiding them at all costs. Sure, I’m friendly to them, but I’m not often, if ever, friends with them. I know the exhaustion of living with the leech, the discouragement of living with the thief, the frustration of living with the superlative, and the heartbreak of living with the devil.

Here’s the thing. Sometimes, I look in the mirror, and I see a vampire. Sometimes, I have to look to myself and ask what my motives are. Sometimes, I am the leech. Sometimes, I am the thief. Sometimes, I and the superlative. Sometimes, I am the devil.

I am desperately trying to never be any of these again. I am desperate for true friends who bring me life and joy and support and hope. I am desperate to be that kind of friend, as well, so that I never see the vampire in the mirror again.

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