Life Lessons

Life Lessons: Dealing with passive-aggressive coworkers

It’s never easy dealing with a passive-aggressive person in your social circle, but at least you have the option to confront them or cut them out. But what do you do when you work with the person?

How do you handle passive-aggressive colleagues?

Passive-aggressive people at work are easy to spot, from leaving things undone, running late, giving backhanded compliments or sometimes saying nothing at all. They can make you dread going to work.

So what’s the best way to approach them? Remember, it isn’t you and you aren’t going nuts.

If you see a pattern, feel free to respond by drawing sharp boundaries. Don’t let them walk all over you, and express your feelings to them instead of bottling them up.

Consider what could be motivating their behavior, and try to step into their shoes.

Also, be sure to own your part. Chances are you may not be reacting in the best way and it could be causing bigger problems.

Watch your language upon approaching them about it, and find safety in numbers. You don’t have to deal with the situation alone, especially if you have other colleagues feeling the same way.

Some things to avoid while addressing the problem: don’t lose your cool. Be sure to state the underlying issue in a calm, matter-of-fact way. Do not directly accuse the person of acting passive-aggressive, as this can just make them angrier.

Finally, don’t assume you can change their behavior.

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