It’s everywhere and everything, sneaking into regular interactions like a cursed black cat, a dark, ominous shadow over seemingly pleasant conversation.
Ok, maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but it’s true! People act passive-aggressively all the time, whether they notice it or not. It’s so commonplace that it’s normal, and turning a blind eye has become our first response to subtly scathing comments. That’s why I’m here to call it out for what it is: a disrespectful, immature practice with no conducive purpose.
For one, passive-aggressivity can tense relationships. It’s irrelevant if the person in question isn’t someone you care for, but if they are, then be cautious. No one wants a salty frenemy on their hands.
For instance, say you ask your friend about their grade on a test you both had in class. They tell you they got a 75, and you respond, “Oh, really? That’s a super good grade. I got a 98.” That is a situation I’ve seen and experienced multiple times before, and it never ends well. Comments like that wedge their way between peaceful relationships, so it’s best to avoid them altogether.
On top of that, subtle passive-aggressivity rarely accomplishes its goal. It’s too much of a patronization to be effective, as most people will get agitated by the remark and fight back. Plus, it’s easy to ignore due to its subtlety, making it completely ineffective.
Most people utilize passive aggressiveness for one of two reasons: to call someone out or to boost their ego. Although I encourage neither purpose, if you are forced to comment on something or are simply determined to be rude, there are more efficient methods to do so.
For example, if you want to stop someone from acting questionably (idiotic), instead of saying, “If that’s what you want to do…” with a roll of the eyes, you could be direct and assertive by saying, “That is not a good idea. Please do not do that.” Rather than approaching it acerbically, getting straight to the point is a much more effective solution. It’s much kinder too, which leads to my last argument.
Subtle passive-aggressivism is plain rude. We must remove harmful norms from modern practice to create a healthier society, starting with passively rude remarks.
All in all, passive-aggressivism is a societal norm that should not be normalized. It’s damaging, ineffective, and harsh. In short, the best way to undermine healthy connections. Being mindful of our words is how we can eliminate this detrimental normality.