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Passive aggression at work

Passive aggression at work

The quickest way to deal with an unhappy situation at work is to confront it head-on. Yet many people resort to passive aggression or using underhanded comments to vent frustration.

A survey from Preply showed that:

  • 73 % of American workers said they had experienced passive aggression at work.
  • 52% admit to being passive-aggressive at work themselves.
  • 38% feel their workplace incentivizes passive-aggressive communication.


186 reads

Passive-aggressive phrases

Passive-aggressive phrases

The most harmful types of passive aggression include shifting blame, patronizing, and denying anger.

The worst passive-aggressive phrases are:

  • “As you, no doubt, are aware . . . “
  • “For future reference”
  • “Friendly reminder”
  • “CC’ing [my boss] for visibility”
  • “Per my last email”


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Strategies for managing passive-aggressive people

If you're on the receiving end of passive-aggressive comments from a coworker or your boss,

  1. Identify and label the intensity of it. For example, are you annoyed or outraged?
  2. Don't associate the emotion with yourself. Don't say, "I'm angry". Instead, say that "there is anger in me". This way, you can detach from the emotion and get rid of it.
  3. Don't react in the moment. Let it go for a time, then address the situation with observable behaviour. "When you made this comment, it made me feel this way." The other person may not be aware that their comments are interpreted negatively.


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