Passive-aggressive language may feel like you are saying the right thing by disguising how you really feel. Unfortunately, it does more harm than good when people pick up on your true feelings. Using certain phrases can also chip away at your loved one’s self-esteem while making them question your honesty. Watching out for these common passive-aggressive phrases helps you to communicate more clearly.
“I Don’t Want to Be Rude, But…”
Just the fact that you are saying this tells the other person that you know you are being rude. This phrase also turns the negativity into the other person’s problem by making them feel like getting upset is wrong since you supposedly are just trying to help. If you feel the need to say this, then stop for a moment and think about whether or not the person needs to hear what you are about to tell them.
“You’re So Lucky to Win That Award”
There are times when being lucky is good. Winning the lottery is an example of having luck over earning an achievement through hard work. However, you never want to attribute someone’s promotion, sports award, or other achievements to pure luck. Try to mention something that you’ve noticed contributed to the success. At the very least, say that you are proud and congratulate them on their achievement.
“Stop Being so Sensitive”
This comment comes up as one of the most commonly used phrases that people say to their spouse or other family members. Saying this makes the issue the other person’s fault and discredits their emotions. It is normal for people to get upset or even cry during a disagreement. Asking why they are upset and working together to find ways to solve the problem works better than making them feel ashamed of their emotions.
“Well, if That’s What You Want to Do”
You can catch yourself using this phrase by listening to your tone. Not only are you likely using a snarky tone of voice, but this phrase is laden with judgment. You’re essentially saying that you don’t agree with the other person’s choice at all but will tolerate it. You’ll get a better result by stating your disinterest in an activity but letting the other person know you’ll do it. Or, you can ask them for alternative ideas until you find one that you can both agree on.
No one’s perfect, and it is likely that you’ll catch yourself saying these phrases occasionally. When you do, acknowledging the problem and rephrasing your thoughts works well for helping you to improve your communication. With some practice, you’ll soon notice the results of watching what you say as your relationships become more positive.
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