The Pros and Cons of Taking a Passive Position

There are always going to be times when we feel compelled to chime in on an issue. Whether it be at work or in our relationships, sometimes we  feel it necessary to state our concern, opinion or idea. What does it mean to take a passive position? This is not about being passive, but rather taking a position that is more passive in nature.


  • We have slowed down our immediate response button. When we take a position that is passive initially, we allow ourselves time to gather information.
  • We are more receptive to input. Because we have slowed down the process, we tend to be more flexible in our information gathering, and are open to seeing both sides of a situation.
  • We are considerate of others. Taking a passive position allows others to weigh in on the issue without feeling confronted or criticized.


  • People may view a passive position as being non-committal. If we take too long in our information gathering, others may not feel supported.
  • We may be too quiet. Ultimately, our opinion matters; if we are too quiet, we run the risk of diminishing our importance.
  • We miss the opportunity to speak. There is often a window where ideas are shared and solutions are decided upon; remaining too passive might allow us to miss the boat completely.

When weighing in on an issue or needing to express a concern to someone, taking a passive position initially can be helpful in creating an emotionally neutral space and yet if we wait too long, our opinion may no longer hold any weight.  It would seem that what really matters here is timing. Being able to take some time to weigh in objectively and being able to state our opinions or ideas so that our voice matters, is key.

By relying on the principle that ‘anything delivered calmly carries more weight than when it is delivered with anger’ (or in any case, aggression or heightened emotion), we can learn to take a passive position initially, as a way to gather our thoughts before sharing.

Photo credit:

2 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Taking a Passive Position”

Leave a comment