I am starting to understand what passive aggressive means and what it looks like in interpersonal communications.I went to this local restaurant. The waitress was a happy person but was not providing the best service. I told her that I want to drink my coffee in the restaurant, but then she put my coffee in a to-go cup, which annoyed me. My automatic thought was that she is dimissive of me and careless towards me because I do not look respectable, that I look like someone she can just push around and get away with. I wanted to respond to her with aggression and say something like: “Hey, why would you put my coffee in a to-go cup when I am staying here. You are lazy. And you are disrespecting me.” On and on I would have went. In my head I was judging her, criticizing her, and insulting her because I made assumptions about her and her motive behind giving me the to-go cup. But I did not do it—fortunately. Instead, I said, “Hey… um, never mind.” It’s near passive aggressive but with restraint.
Weeks later, reflecting on what went through my head and how I was feeling that day, I discovered the nature of passive aggression and why I act the way I do in certain situations. I want to hurt people when they hurt me; but I do it in a passive and insulting way. I would do it indirectly so people can feel a sting, but not feel a direct attack. I am also protecting myself from a frontal assault if people decide to fight back. But what I learned from that story was how I had the opportunity to respond in a confident and assertive manner, in which I take the higher ground and not let her affect me. This can be accomplished by using humor, which—I believe—I am very good at.
So the next time a similar situation happens, I would say this instead: “Hey, I was wondering if I could have my coffee in a hard cup. I love the feel of ceramic touching my mouth. It feels different.” I would say this with confidence, in a loud enough tone to show that I am not a push over and I am okay with other people hearing our conversation. I would also say it in a nice tone. I would then accompany my statement with standing up and walking with the waitress to show that I am stopping what I am doing so I can be friendly with her (instead of expecting a full service). With a little effort and humor, and not take things too seriously, a lot can be avoided.
Hi. I'm Kent and this is my blog. Let me know what you think.