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Types of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

5 Types of Passive-Aggressive Behavior

With whole websites dedicated to passive-aggressive notes, the phrase has been thrown around enough to be part of our everyday language. And while we all seem to know it when we see it, it's hard to define.

Passive aggressiveness is marked by a resistance to follow social expectations. It's subtle, but insanely annoying. It usually causes those on the receiving end to lash out, giving the instigator exactly what he wants.

So if you really want to annoy the passive aggressor in your life (that's not PA at all, right?), you need to know what you're dealing with. Here are five behaviors that say passive aggressiveness loud and clear.


  1. Backhanded compliments: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is the latest person to be accused of the backhanded compliment. After meeting the wife of Britain's new prime minister, Samantha Cameron, Carla said the Brit was "kind of" a fashion icon. Hardly the worst backhanded compliment I've heard, but it's definitely one.
  2. Silent treatment: The silent treatment is exactly what it sounds like — nothing. It's horrible to experience and hard not to blame yourself for, but if someone cuts communication off it really is him, not you.
  3. Sabotage in the form of compliance: "Just doing what I was told!" is what passive aggressors will say after sabotaging a situation. They follow the rules rigidly and blindly, and don't revise when circumstance calls for new rules.

Read the rest below.

  1. Procrastination: We all procrastinate when we don't want to do something, but usually the potential of affecting another will motivate us into action. Not the passive aggressor! For him, it will do the opposite.
  2. Forgetfulness: You'll know a passive-aggressive person by his inability to remember something he said, did, or didn't do — chronically.

I'm sure these all can be mere mistakes at some point, but not likely.

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