I Don't Care if You Read This. It's Not Like I Want to Help You Communicate.

It's fine, we don't have to communicate, I'll just talk to myself.  

Wasn't that an annoying statement?  There is little more irritating to me than passive-aggressive tactics and unfortunately this style of communication is prevelant.   

Late for dinner?  No problem, I love wasting my time.
Look at all this laundry, too bad nobody will help me fold it.
Boy that grass really looks tall outside, someone should mow it.
Sure, I'll stay late at work, it's not like I have a life or anything.  

These are a combination of sarcastic and passive-aggressive statements, don't they just grate on your nerves?   Maybe so but you know you've used passive aggressive sarcasm.   But think about this: if it is irritating you, how effective is it?   It's not.  

Passive aggressive responses are manipulative and almost always egocentric.  This is not an effective form of communication and typically shuts others out immediately.   This is a conversational flaw that is typically present when conflict exists.  We become angry or agitated by something that someone else has done, or neglected to do, and rather than respond directly and address the issue, we try to slither behind it with non-specific statements that provoke retaliation, not productive responses.  

Try this:  The next time a passive aggressive phrase passes your lips, pause, apologize (this means you have to own it and get over yourself) and try to articulate a more direct statement that addresses your objective more directly.  You'll be glad you did because it will illicit an actual response rather than an empty retaliation.   

When I am on the receiving end of a passive aggressive statement, I don't respond until the point is expressed more clearly.   I ask a clear and direct question:  "Do you feel overlooked?  Are you upset? Would you like for me to help you?"   Direct questions demand direct responses and clarity is always a more effective way to achieve a goal, than attempting to manipulate a person or situation.  

People do not like to feel manipulated.  If you are communicating in a way that suggests manipulation, you are inviting conflict and if you invite a fight, you'll get a fight.   

Be aware of the words you use, they will shape your experience.  

For more healthy tips on improving your communication skills, grab a free copy of my guide:

What are some of the most irritating passive aggressive statements you've heard? (or used)?  And what will you do from now on to be more direct and clear? 


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