Passive Aggressive


Recently, I was forced to deal with someone on a nearly daily work basis who is passive aggressive.  Generally, if I notice someone is passive aggressive – I just delete them from as much of my life as I possibly can.  I dislike dealing with people who won’t just come out and say what they want and who try to make the rest of the world feel guilty in the meantime.  I’m sure there are things about a straightforward personality that are hard to deal with, but I much prefer that to passive aggressive.

This person would say the most bizarre things and then once they walked away I would realize that they were totally insulting me.  They would also act like they were trying to be helpful, but were really just annoyed that they thought I should be doing things differently.  Let me give an example.

Passive Aggressive: Hello.  How are you?  I need your help getting this document together.  We need it done as soon as you possibly can.

Me: Okay.  Let me know when you’re ready for my help and I will help you.

<WAIT FOUR HOURS until it’s noon>

Me: I’m going to run to lunch.  I’m still willing to help you just as soon as I get back.

<I get back from lunch.  Passive Aggressive is at my desk doing my portion of the work>

Me:  Can I help you with something?

Passive Aggressive:  Oh…well, I have been waiting for you, but you disappeared.  So, I thought that maybe I should just do this part myself.  I am really in a hurry.

Me: Oh…I told you I was going to lunch.

Passive Aggressive: I didn’t realize you meant right when I needed you.  I guess you didn’t realize this was an important project.

<Passive Aggressive walks away>

WHAT!?!?!  In my mind I’m thinking,  “Well, I did wait for four hours….and I’m allowed a lunch break!”

At first I thought it was me.  I went to my mentor and told her that I was having this issue.  She reminded me to take all emotion out of the situation and re-examine.  I did and thought that maybe Passive Aggressive was unaware that she was being ridiculous.  But, then I discovered that multiple people were having the same issue.  Multiple people were annoyed with the underhanded demanding personality.

This has been my first experience with a truly passive aggressive person.  I’m not a fan.  And, yet – I have to work with this person.  It’s odd.  I can’t just avoid or escape like I normally do. I’m being forced to be an adult.  Not a fan…

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2 thoughts on “Passive Aggressive

  1. More and more people are recognizing these passive aggressive behaviors in the workplace. Not all passive aggression comes out just in romantic relationships, it carries over to every relationship the passive aggressive person is involved in. But unlike a romantic relationship, it can seem a little harder for the victim in the workplace to address and deal with (or “delete”) the person. Like you said you “have to work with this person.” So how do you do that? How do you work with someone who behaves this way? There are ways to “be an adult” to deal with these childish behaviors, and they don’t involve “stooping to his level.” One of the first steps is to determine if your organization (team and managers) is aware of the behaviors and their negative impact on the team and productivity. Once you know that for sure, you can move forward. You can get more information and even step by step help for you and your team at the link below.

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