How To Handle Different Communication Styles + Reduce Drama

- By

Passive-Aggressive Communication

Serious dark skinned male and female colleagues having discussion during working process disappointed with planning, angry african american woman quarrel with hipster guy checking documents at desktop

Source: GaudiLab / Getty

Passive-aggressive communicators are some of the most frustrating people to deal with, because it takes some time to identify their actions. On the surface, they’ll appear docile, agreeable and even passive. They might use friendly and peaceful language, but then their actions won’t match up to their words. This communication style is characterized by:

  • Sarcasm
  • Limited consideration of others’ feelings
  • Spreading rumors
  • Attempting to sabotage others
  • Condescending language
  • Backhanded compliments

Passive-aggressive communicators are tough to deal with because they do not directly do or say something harmful, so they don’t create an opportunity for you to have a real conversation.

How to deal with a passive-aggressive communicator

You can call the situation out head-on, but you can use softening language so as to not escalate things. Here’s an example: “I’m confused because, you said that you enjoy working with me, but then you left me out of that group project” or “This doesn’t really add up: you agreed to help me with this, but then you were very late and on your phone most of the time.”

Passive-aggressive communicators take advantage of vagueness or lack of boundaries, so it’s best to communicate with them directly. If their words and actions don’t add up, tell them you see that, and ask them to explain why that is. The last thing passive-aggressive communicators want is to be confronted. So if they learn that you will confront their behavior, they might cut back on it to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.

Do also try to have empathy for passive-aggressive communicators. Research published in the National Library of Health shows that passive-aggressive personality disorder is often the result of dysfunctional or traumatic childhood environments and experiences.

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN