Moving right along in our series about communication styles, today’s post is about passive-aggressiveness. True to its name, it is a combination of both the passive and aggressive positions. In this style of communication, you sacrifice your own needs, and although it feels okay to do so, it also comes with some resentment attached to it. And as a result, usually somewhere along the line, you get back at the person who asked you to sacrifice your own needs in some way. The message that is sent to both yourself and others is “I am not important and neither are you.”
A good example of all three styles of communication takes place in a restaurant. Three people are seated in a steak house; all three have ordered their meat medium-well. When the orders come from the kitchen, it is discovered by each of these people that their steaks are a bit too rare. The passive person will say nothing; after all, they don’t want to upset anyone, hence they deny their importance. The aggressive person will insist the steak be returned and will be angry with either the waitress or the chef for their incompetence in getting it wrong, hence they make themselves more important than the person they are being grouchy with. And lastly, the passive-aggressive person will most likely say nothing to the waitress but they will either not leave a sufficient tip or complain to anyone who will listen that the steak house is not a good restaurant choice, hence denying their importance as well as others.
As I often note, everything exists on a continuum, including communication styles.
Tomorrow’s post will be about the healthiest life position of “I am important and so are you.”