Austin Kleon writes about the “vampire test”: avoid people who suck your creative energy and leave you with nothing. We should often steer clear of these people, he says, or else we risk not having enough in the tank for our own work.
This got me thinking about the perspective of the vampire. They must feel wonderful after having such an interaction! How can we cultivate this feeling in everyone after a conversation?
In my own life, I’ve had conversations with people where it feels like we are on the same wavelength. We’re sharing the space and both of us are contributing. It’s not about me, or them, but us. These are my most cherished conversations, but they are also rare. These conversations don’t just happen by accident. They require effort from both sides, and it’s best when there aren’t distractions.
Other ingredients for these conversations: A shared interest in the topic, a willingness to be open and vulnerable, trying to understand each other, and a sense of friendliness instead of defensiveness.
The conversations aren’t zero-sum, which is the implicit premise of a vampire.
I think conversations can be generative to everyone, and it’s the kind I’m seeking out more and more in my life.