A Guide To Responding To Passive Aggressive Behaviour

Passive-aggressive behaviors are, in essence, expressions that involve acting indirectly aggressive rather than directly aggressive which might look more like an outright confrontation.

People behaving passive-aggressively might show opposition to requests by procrastinating, sulking, acting stubborn, or through sarcasm.

This can apply to your friend who wore white to your wedding rather than telling you she didn’t want to come or to your coworker who regularly emails you saying, “not sure if you last my last email.”

Ask For Clarification

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

When someone is passive-aggressive, they’re often sugar-coating what they want to say. You might be tempted to retort with a taste of their own medicine. 

However, you might choose to ask for clarification genuinely. Instead of escalating the unspoken tension, this might help get to the core of the matter. 

Call Out Passive Aggressive Behaviour

Photo by Alex Motoc on Unsplash

For instance, if you have a friend who you’re supposed to meet at a predetermined spot. This friend always has an excuse as to why they’re late. 

Show them that you would like it if they were on time so that you aren’t wasting your time. They might reveal that they don’t like the location or don’t really want to spend time with you, whatever the case may be, causing them to behave passive-aggressively.

Avoid A Tit For Tat

Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash

Avoid going into a passive-aggressive match between you and the other person. Once you recognize the passive aggression, 

Don’t let their bad mood have you acting out of character. So try not to say things you don’t mean, like, “I’m fine” or a dismissive “sorry, then.”

Be Open To Communication

Photo by Amy Hirschi on Unsplash

Encourage the conversation to move in the direction of positive change by embracing an open and honest and dialogue. Try to get to the core of the issue.

Remove Yourself

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

At some point, recognize when someone just doesn’t want to get to the bottom of things and, it’s okay to want no longer to expend any more of your energy.

Written By:
Tumisang Mosito

Recommended Posts