Knowing how to deal with passive aggressive behavior will come in handy throughout your life. Learn how to conquer pettiness with class.
Passive aggressive behavior is both super annoying and difficult to deal with. On one hand, the person is upset but on the other, they’re showing their feelings in a very immature, irritating way. Therefore, you can get pissed by this and respond badly if you’re not sure how to handle it.
Because passive aggressive people need to be dealt with carefully. Why? Because they clearly have issues when it comes to communication and that means you need to be careful with what you say. There’s a reason they’re being passive aggressive and not just coming to you with their problem.
Why everyone should learn healthy communication skills
The biggest issue those who are petty or passive aggressive have is not being able to communicate effectively. Instead of just confronting someone about what’s upsetting them, they write little rude notes or make sly comments directed at them.
They don’t know how to fix a problem through communicating. And that’s something everyone should learn to do. Because if you can’t talk about what’s bothering you, you’ll end up with a ton of issues bottled up and this can affect many different aspects of your life. [Read: 9 tips for dealing with a non-confrontational partner]
How to deal with passive aggressive people and keep your cool
Yes, people who would rather make snide remarks and write mean notes are irritating. You might get mad and want to yell at them instead of talk things through. You may even be irritated by something that’s such a quick fix if the person would’ve just talked to you.
But unfortunately, they didn’t. And that means you now have to deal with this person while slightly annoyed or even angry. Here’s how you can calmly deal with passive aggressive behavior.
#1 Understand where they’re coming from. I know it’s frustrating when they’re acting the way they are, but you have to calmly assess the situation for what it is. Where are they coming from with that behavior? Obviously, it’ll be from a place of hurt. They’re upset.
If you take a step back and look past the annoyance of their behavior, the truth is very obvious. They’re hurt and they’re not sure how to convey that message. Understanding this can help calm you down so you can proceed with a nicer attitude. [Read: 11 ways to understand women and unlock their mysteries]
#2 Remember that they’re not good with confrontation. The passive aggressive behavior comes directly from them not being able to talk about how they’re feeling. They can’t tell you how they feel, so they show it in ways that might seem irritating to you. But they’re trying to show you, regardless.
Keep in mind that they’re not good with confrontation and will likely not respond well if you try to come at them with harsh questions. Don’t just say, “what’s your problem?” in an angry way. You have to keep calm and figure out a nicer way to get on the topic of why they’re upset.
#3 Find out what the issue is before going to them. If you can pinpoint the cause for their behavior, do it. Think back to what you’ve done lately that could’ve caused them to get mad. Honestly, you’ll probably be able to figure it out best just by listening to their passive aggressive comments. It’ll come across loud and clear.
#4 Avoid using harsh words. Again, don’t use any blaming words. Avoid telling them off and upsetting them more. They’re just not good at communicating. Shouting or going at them with an aggressive demeanor will only make matters worse. Keep your voice as calm and nonjudgmental as you possibly can.
#5 Stay positive. Positivity will make dealing with those passive aggressive people a lot easier. I know it can be hard but if anything, you just have to fake it until you make it. Focus on keeping a happy, positive attitude and it’ll make approaching and dealing with them worlds easier.
Not only will they be more comfortable talking to you when you’re positive, but it’ll make it easier for you to talk to them without losing your shit. Smile, be polite, and then get them to open up. [Read: 17 ways to have more positive energy in your life]
#6 Try to help them express their issue. This might be hard for you to do but it’s possible if you just sit back and talk to them. Get talking about something random and slowly take the conversation so the fact that they’ve had a bit of angst as of late. Normally, if you’re joking and having a good conversation, they’ll laugh and tell you why. If not, try alternate methods.
#7 Just ask them what’s wrong – calmly. If you approach them with concern and ask them what’s upsetting them, you’re more likely to get an answer out of them than if you just shout and tell them how annoying they’re being. Walk up to them and say something like, “Hey, you seem kind of irritated lately, what’s up?”
It’s a simple way to get the ball rolling. If they blow you off and refuse to give a reason, let it go for now. Try again when they’re in a calmer state.
#8 Get vulnerable with them about something else. This is actually really helpful even though you might not see why. How does talking about how you feel about something else entirely help deal with the passive aggressive behavior? Well, if you open up to them, they’ll be more likely to want to open up to you.
Often times, people who are passive aggressive are intimidated. They’re basically just afraid to talk about what’s upsetting them for fear of looking weak or stupid. So if they see you being vulnerable and comfortable, even about an unrelated matter, they’ll want to open up too. [Read: 13 clues to know if someone has emotional maturity]
#9 Ignore them. Sometimes all you can do is ignore the passive aggressive behavior in the hopes that it’ll stop. If you’ve tried everything else and it’s just not working this might be your best bet. They’ll probably continue making comments but eventually, they’ll stop and you’ll be at peace again.
#10 Try to avoid altercations with that person in the future. If you know the person well, just avoid doing whatever it is that upset them. Try not to annoy them and they’ll quit it with the behavior. Instead, try focusing on bettering your relationship with them so they’ll feel more comfortable coming to you with an issue rather than making snide comments and writing rude notes.