We ALL know "fine" isn't a real answer.
Are you being passive-aggressive? If you regularly say these things, keep reading!
- “Nothing’s wrong.”
- “I was only joking.”
- “I thought you knew.”
- “I forgot.”
Ok, so there are times when each of the above statements might be the actual, accurate response to a situation. On the other hand, if conflict, or the potential for conflict, makes you feel sick; if you worry about what other people are going to think; if you feel pressured to answer in a certain way, even though it’s not what you really mean, then you might be answering in a passive-aggressive manner.
What does it mean to be passive-aggressive? According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary , passive aggressive means being, marked by, or displaying behavior characterized by the expression of negative feelings, resentment, and aggression in an unassertive passive way (as through procrastination and stubbornness).
In other words, showing your resistance through your behavior, without actually saying what you really think. This is what a “people-pleaser” does when trying to avoid any conflict or unpleasantness.
It’s a way of expressing some underlying hostility while saying what you think the other person wants to hear.
Here’s why it won’t really work for you, and how to fix it:
1. You aren’t being honest.
You might be trying to avoid conflict, but trust me — people pick up on the discrepancy between what you are saying and what you are doing. It may not happen right away, but people will notice. It’s a lot easier to just be up front in the beginning.
Instead of saying “Fine” when someone asks you to do something, instead try saying “I’m not sure I can commit to that. How about if I…” and tell them what you really are willing to do.
2. You aren’t living your truth.
This is your life – it’s important to value yourself and your time. Valuing yourself means recognizing that your thoughts, feelings and opinions matter. If you don’t like what’s happening, try saying “I’m upset that…” or “I’m concerned about…” This is a lot more effective than saying “Nothing’s wrong” and seething inside.
It also allows the opportunity for change. If you don’t say what’s bothering you, there’s no chance for the situation to improve.
3. You aren’t being clear.
Remember the saying “If you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything?" You don’t have to be silent. If you have an opinion, feel free to share it in a caring and kind manner. But making a snarky comment and then saying “I was only joking” is either hurtful, ineffective (when they miss your meaning) or both.
Try saying “I really like…” Or “I prefer…” as alternatives to express your true thoughts or feelings.
4. You aren’t being reliable.
It’s important to realize this if you are committing yourself to a response, or a course of action, that doesn’t make you happy. It’s really frustrating to discover someone hasn’t lived up to their word, and has a negative impact on your relationships.
If you are certain you don’t want to do something, it’s better to say “I’m not able to do that” than to agree, not follow through and later say “I thought you knew” or ”I forgot”.
Sometimes it’s really hard to be honest, clear, reliable and live your truth. If you are struggling with this, it’s okay. Practice being your best self and treating others as you want to be treated.
Keep in mind that you are the only one who knows what you’re thinking and feeling. If you don’t share what’s going on inside you, there’s a good chance you won’t get your needs met. You deserve to be happy and that’s likely going to require being more straight-forward, with yourself and with others. You’ve got this!