It’s lunch time and you try to avoid seeing anyone in the break room as you know what’s going on in there. The sharks are circling and trying to get any bit of juicy gossip they can feast on…in order to draw more sharks in.
It’s possible you might not even be aware of what is happening as snide comments are masked, and you are left feeling like you were just complimented and insulted at the same time. Maybe they even said “Relax. I’m just kidding.” Like that takes away the sting of their hostility. The truth is, it doesn’t. They know that what they said was carefully crafted to hurt. These people have spent years acting this way and to be honest, might have been raised in a home that used tactics in passive-aggressive warfare.
Passive-aggressive behavior is actually masked in sarcasm, silent treatment, withholding praise, being critical yet complimentary at the same time, arriving late, procrastinating or avoiding responsibility altogether, and basically sugar-coating mean remarks and hostility.
You can be sure of one thing. This is open hostility towards you.
If you noticed any of the above red flags of passive-aggressive co-workers, friends, or even family, it might be hard to deal with. As a matter of fact, you might just want to shut down, but that’s exactly what they are after so I am going to give you a few tips on how to handle this.
5 Ways to Deal with Passive-aggressive Folks:
- Name it for exactly what it is. Do NOT let them make excuses for why they treat you this way. “Oh you can’t take a joke. I was only playing.” In order to make you think it’s your fault. The truth is, they can feel when their behavior is wrong. If someone is using shaming tactics, being unreasonable, making you feel uncomfortable deliberately, trust me, they know. This is a repeated pattern.
- Shore your boundaries. You can’t change them; however, you can change how you interact with them and how much. Notice where they hang out and who they hang with. That says loads about them. Look them in the eye if they are speaking down to you, and stand up straighter. Give visual and body language clues by making sure your shoulders are back and your head is held high that you are having none of their crap today. Or any other day. You don’t want or need that “energetic pooh” in your life. << That links to my clean energy tips and what “energy pooh” really is.
- Notice how you are being and what triggers them. If you are having a great day, got a great review, the boss patted you on the back or you got special notice, chances are, they’re probably jealous. Yup. Triggers their insecurities and bitterness. I jokingly said today on my FB Live chat “Mama always liked you best” from the Smother’s Brothers, but it is a true trigger for some people. Whether or not it happens to be true, the person who uses hostile words masked as “fun” is feeling left out or unloved.
- Maintain your composure during the “dig”. Now is the time to practice RBF…resting bitch face. Only the eyebrows move up a notch, but you just look at them and say nothing. You aren’t going to change them, but staring at them for a minute usually makes them say more. If all else fails, you can use humor, or simply walk away. Want a bit more on what they are trying to do here? You can read 5 Ways to Spot an Emotional Manipulator. Or if guilt seems to be used try reading When Guilt is a Weapon. << opens in new tab.
- Be mindful of yourself. It’s easy to fall into the trap of silly little games, but your weapon can be mindfulness. How is arguing with them going to help? What are they trying to gain from this? Making you look bad. If you engage, they are trying to poke the bear so to speak. Oh look at what so and so said to me…can you believe it? They will conveniently leave out all indication they said anything at all. Just remember that words can be twisted but if you simply look at them and walk away, they have nothing to use against you.
Looking for a supportive group to build yourself up? Find out more here. << Click on I need support.
When they tell you not to bite off more than you can chew…you need to listen. The problem is, maybe “they” have never been broke. Maybe “they” have never been in debt. And I’m definitely thinking “they” don’t know what it’s like to worry and/or stress over whether or not you will have enough to pay for groceries. Sometimes, people have to do what they must in order to survive. Even if this means adding to their stress.
Ways to survive this type of stress are to take breaks during your work day. I read recently that you should set a timer. Every 50 minutes or so. Ha. But I think that would help me out with my current craziness because then I would realize I have not eaten lunch…that e-mail can really wait.
Go to yoga. I say this quite frequently. But seriously. Either that or learn to meditate…unless having some type of wine port attached is legal. I don’t think it is yet.
If I was the boss, wait I am the boss of myself, sort of, I would make mandatory no work after 5 p.m. ever. No work on weekends, ever. And that sort of thing rules. I really wish I could do that to myself. Why is it people who work from home end up working more??? Someone forgot to mention that to me.
Someone smart in your company needs to streamline the processes for other people. I really liked to make things easier on other teachers when I was a teacher. I liked group planning because IF it ran the way it was supposed to, oh yeah it didn’t, but if and when it did on rare occasions, you would really come out with like a version of the easy button. EVERY company needs this. I can’t stand it when there is no version of something that everyone needs to use. I end up creating my own documents for future reference.
So that’s my motivational tips for today. If there is an easy button, use it folks. Just use it.
There are lots of differences in life. Different people. Different views. Different ways of living your life. Ultimately it is YOUR life. Some people forget that. However, that does not mean people get to do whatever they want, when they want. There are consequences and sooner or later, those things you say catch up to you. I have told people before when I write this blog, I write not only from my experiences, but also from other points of view. Sometimes I weave in 5 different scenarios and make it one post. I think about current events or news. I think about friends and family. I think about people my husband knows. I think about society as a whole.
I am in several different “groups” on a popular social media place. Not everyone always gets along. Even though I have never met some of these people, I know the ones I gravitate towards. I watch their words, and see if their “actions” keep up with their words. Who they are both publicly and privately must align. For example, in public, they can’t be spouting off about integrity and honesty, and then in private have none of those values themselves. One of the biggest struggles for me is to find someone who says they are Christian publicly, but damns other groups, ways of life, races, or attitudes. If they say they are Christian, yet won’t speak to another church member in public because her views are different, what does that say about them? Better yet, what about the polite conversation they make publicly, then privately berate the person. Love how they become judge, jury and executioner in the name of their faith.
So I say to you, are you keeping yourself accountable to your values? Are you practicing what you preach? Nine times out of ten, the answer is no. I do not have a problem with people who are always up front. This is what I believe, this is what I have always believed, and this is how I live my life. That doesn’t bother me even if my views are not the same. They know how they feel and stay the course. If you don’t want to hear how they feel, stop asking them questions publicly and expecting a different answer. Period. That’s me. I got asked a question a while back and the person or persons involved expected me to tell them I changed my mind. Doing so would change who I am. I am not doing that for anyone. I see things as they are not as others wish them to be. I am holding myself accountable. It’s your turn.
I once used the word asinine in the middle of a meeting with a team of people and you would have thought I said the “f” word. Maybe I did in a way because I meant foolish or senseless. I used the word correctly and the idea was absurd. Sometimes I don’t understand why we tip-toe around the truth. I don’t remember who brought the idea up now, it was a few years ago, but I was known for speaking my mind which is why they put me on that particular team. All the other people were nodding their heads so maybe in a way it was my administrator’s idea, but I knew it was not put out there for the good of the many. It was put out there as a way to give negative criticism and hide behind a fictitious veil of righteousness. So I came up with an idea that was the opposite and we went with that.
Only a few people knew how truly awful this upper management’s mind worked…and only a few people cared. I wondered, as any good employee does, how these people get to be in management. I’ll never forget the meeting we all went to with other members of our community. I was taking notes, my team was brainstorming, and I looked over and there was our fearless “leader”. Texting under the table. Checking her e-mail. Playing on her phone the whole time. I ate lunch with two of my like-minded team members that day, and we talked about how embarrassing her actions were.
Remember the old saying “If you can’t beat them, join them.”? Well, I don’t believe in that. As a geek, I see this as going over to the side of Lord Vader or Lord Voldemort. Take your pick. Perhaps Frodo should have just kept the ring, hmm? NO. What if we all just went with foolish ideas because it was easier. How about instead of the old saying we change it to “If you can’t beat them, come up with a better idea.” That works for me. So my friends, your task is to be witty and fearless. Go out and brandish your ideas as a way to combat foolishness everywhere. Do not give in to the dark side.
As a parent, you sometimes have these events that happen in your children’s lives and you don’t hear about them until later. Much later. At that point, you have to decide what to do. Apparently at the end of one of my child’s soccer games, where the players go to shake hands and say “good game”, a boy made his hand into a claw and raked it along my child’s arm and said “bad game”. If she had told me right then, I would have gone over to his parents and said something. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about it until later. At that point, I talked it over with my husband and we decided the moment was gone.
My child saw this boy another time and he was not very nice to her again. He was saying things that were rude and generally trying to make my girls miserable. I didn’t hear about what was said and what went on until I was tucking them into bed that night. At that point, I thought it was too late so say something yet again. I did the best I could at that time and said what I thought was good advice, if he can’t play nice with you, don’t play with him. Period.
To be honest with you, what he did to her on the soccer field was unsportsmanlike conduct and I was floored by it. I wish I had known then, but I had to make a judgement call and decide if I could just call this mom out of the blue and tell her what had happened. I should have. I really should have. I would want to know.
The thing is, I let other people tell me to avoid conflict. My husband doesn’t handle things the way I do, and would rather avoid talking to them altogether than deal with this. I don’t know if saying something would have changed anything…it would have made it uncomfortable for a while. But sometimes conflicts are needed in order to grow. If you are always avoiding situations, things will stay the way they are. So even though the self-imposed “statute of limitations” is over in this situation, I know I should have been a grown-up and tattled. Where is my parenting handbook? They forgot this section. Sigh.