Staff Editorial: arguing against passive aggressive speech in dealing with people

The Chimes staff encourages readers that conflict does not always have to be negative.

Chimes Staff, Writer

Though our society praises itself for moving beyond restrictive politeness and into an age of honesty, we are mostly kidding ourselves. In the difficult situations, our knee-jerk reaction is often geared towards passive aggressive responses instead of honesty. How many times have you told a friend that something they did was “fine,” or communicated your disapproval with an underhanded phrase? Disagreeing with someone or bringing up a hurt feeling can lead to conflict, but conflict does not have to be negative if it is handled well. In a culture that encourages us to love one another, we are doing each other no favors by bottling it up or packaging barbs in shiny paper.

PROLONGING THE PROBLEM

Passivity only makes you more miserable while prolonging the problem. My roommate once brought a friend into our dorm room at the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. while I was still in bed. The two of them proceeded to have either a conversation or a shouting match — I forget which. Rather than simply asking them to go elsewhere, I made a show of being woken up by writhing around and burying my head under the pillow. They failed to notice, and I was left silently fuming and tangled in my sheets, my misery augmented by my stubborn passivity. Nothing is gained by passive aggression.

THE CONFRONTATION CULTURE

In Christian subculture, confrontation is socially discouraged because everyone is trying to “love on” each other, or at least appear to be doing so. However, this is a shallow version of love.This notion does not jive with biblical concepts of truth and honesty. Relationships are not strengthened by being passive aggressive. Rather, open dialogue brings resolution to situations where people are offended — even seemingly small situations where, building on the example above, your roommate has been inconsiderate. Leaving the hurt unresolved allows bitterness to grow and gives the enemy an opportunity to bring destruction to the relationship.

SPEAK WITH TACT

To be sure, engaging in confrontation for the sake of conflict is not recommended. Confronting someone should be done thoughtfully, after cooling down and carefully choosing one’s words. Approaching a frustrating or hurtful situation with tact is key. Instead of crafting a passive aggressive statement meant to quietly express your disdain, arrange your words in a way that expresses your feelings without pointing proverbial fingers. A discussion where both people reach a mutual understanding should be the ultimate goal.

Before your gut begins to twist and your blood boils, build up the courage and take time to confront the person about the issue. You will remove the temptation to harbor anger inside of you and instead will form deeper relationships through it. 

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