What is passive-aggressive language? In this lesson I talk you through examples of passive-aggressive communication, which happens when a person is angry but their anger is not directly expressed. You’ve probably experienced a situation in which someone tells you that everything is fine, even though that person is actually angry: this is an example of passive aggression. I’m not recommending that you communicate passive-aggressively! This lesson is designed for you to learn the different forms of passive-aggressive communication and typical phrases people use, so that you can improve your own communication and express your needs more directly. It will also help you to recognize when someone’s confusing behaviour towards you is being driven by passive aggression.
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Hey, everyone. In this lesson we’re going to talk about passive aggression or being passive aggressive. A passive-aggressive person finds it really hard to say what they really want and what they really need, and sometimes they feel like they can’t directly be angry. So their words come out as if their words mean: „That’s fine”, or „That’s okay”, or „I’m feeling good”, but actually the real meaning of what they’re saying is opposite. The words, if we just listen to the words, they’re not showing that the person’s angry, but the true meaning of what they’re trying to say shows that they’re not happy about something. And if you wondered why I’m wearing this cape today it’s because it protects me from passive-aggressive comments in my videos.
So let’s have a look at the different kinds of passive aggression. This will help you to get more of an idea what it is. We’ve got overt passive aggression and covert passive aggression. When something’s overt, it’s obvious, it’s more obvious, we can see it; and when something is covert it’s like hidden.
So let’s start with overt passive aggression, the more obvious kinds. Someone… Someone’s not happy with you, they can give you the „silent treatment”, that’s when they’re just like: „Umph.” They won’t talk to you, they’re sort of ignoring you, and they want you to know that you’re really pissed off with them, you’re really angry with them, and you’re so angry you can’t talk. So it might be for a few hours, it might be for a few weeks. Sometimes married couples don’t speak to each other for weeks if they do this silent treatment thing. When you give someone the „cold shoulder” that’s when you’re around that person, but you make no effort to be warm to them, to be nice to them. It’s a bit like just… It’s a big like ignoring them or just showing that: „Oh, I don’t… I don’t… I don’t want to know you. I just don’t want to know you.” And a very clear, direct way of giving someone the cold shoulder would be if somebody said: „Hi” or maybe wanted to shake your hand, and it would be so direct if you just didn’t shake their hand or you’re like: „Hi”, that sometimes happens.
Now let’s look at covert passive aggression. This is when it’s less obvious and sometimes you have to really think about it: „What is this person doing? Am I…? Am I mad? Am I making this up? Is it true?” Okay, so now I admit that I have been once very skilled in the arts of passive aggression myself, and one of my jobs when I was 17 years old, I worked in a fake Italian restaurant, and I hated this job. And one of the ways I showed how much I hated it was my job was making… Making desserts and serving the drinks, and one of the ways I showed I hated this job was to put the desserts on the plate in a way where they looked as bad as they possibly could, but only just passing. So the… So the waiters would still take them out, or the manager of the restaurant would come and look at it and think: „This looks… This looks bad”, and he would be a bit annoyed with me, but he would still take it because there’s more things to do. So in my little teenager head, every time I made those desserts look bad, I was like: „Haha, hahahaha. Ha, I hate this job.” Right.
Moving on to „procrastination”, that means taking a really long time before you actually do something or get it done. So, have you ever been in a situation where you ask someone to do something for you and they keep saying: „Yeah, in a minute, yeah, it’s just coming, I’m just about to do it”, and it still doesn’t happen; you have to ask them about 10 times? That can be a form of covert passive aggression. Not every time, obviously. It just… It depends if someone is always doing it.
„Constantly late” is another one. Sometimes if people just don’t really care that much, they’ll be late and late and late, and also sometimes they’re late because they… They just find it really hard to say: „I don’t want to meet you at that time that we arranged.” They find it really hard to say: „I’d rather meet at 7.”