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How To Be Less Passive-Aggressive

At one time or another, you've probably been on the receiving end of passive-aggressive behavior, and you know it's never a pleasant experience. Living at home, living with roommates, living in a crowded city; all these situations are breeding grounds for passive-aggressive behavior to grow.

If you're dad pretends to be fine with you missing a family event, but months later guilts you for not being there, that's passive-aggressive behavior.

When your roommate leaves you a note to clean up the dishes instead of asking you in-person, that's passive-aggressive behavior as well.

On the subway, someone nudges you aggressively instead of simply asking you to make room. In each situation, you wish the passive-aggressors would've been honest and direct with you from the start.

While it may be hard to admit it, you've also been the passive-aggressor. When you're angry or frustrated with someone but don't tell them, those feelings get bottled up and usually come out later in confusing, and often hurtful, ways.

You think you're avoiding a moment of conflict by suppressing your feelings, but instead, your anger is felt by those involved, with no explanation given.

Just because we're not vocalizing our frustrations doesn't mean we're not reacting.

Passive-aggression is a nasty reaction to conflict that comes in several forms: Procrastinating, ignoring, playing the victim, withholding or pretending to be in agreement with someone when you're not are all signs of passive-aggressive behavior.

Being passive-aggressive in difficult situations rarely works. Everyone fears conflict to some degree, but that fear shouldn't get in the way of being genuine with others.

There are several strategies you can use to replace your passive-aggressive behavior in irritating situations.

Asking a question, with real curiosity behind your question, is very effective. If people aren't aware what they're doing is rude, they'll usually change their behavior immediately. Sharing your feelings in a logical, non-emotional manner also works well.

While it's more uncomfortable to be direct, it's better to face an uncomfortable moment than to suppress your feelings.

For more advice on how to stop being passive-aggressive, watch the video above.

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Rebecca Jones

Subscriber

Rebecca earned her degree in Film and TV from UW Madison and has since worked in television production and development.
Rebecca earned her degree in Film and TV from UW Madison and has since worked in television production and development.

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