What Do You Do If You Have A Passive Aggressive Friend?

by Reid on July 16, 2017

Girlfriends LaughingAre they being mean? Or joking? When someone is passive aggressive it can be confusing. What do you do?

With Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com.

Cathy: What if you have a friend that you really care about who sometimes gets a little passive-aggressive- 

Reid: Pfft. Whatever. 

Cathy: … And subtly or not so subtly pulls you down? 

Reid: Way to go smarty-pants. Great question. 

Cathy: This is Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com. 

Reid: Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com. 

Cathy: It can be hard, especially when you’re close with someone. Is it teasing? Are they pulling you down? What’s going on? What would you say to someone that was … 

Reid: If people are passive-aggressive it’s because they’re not taking care of themselves. So ask them where they’ve stepped over their boundaries, and they’re not speaking of it. That’s usually where passive-aggressiveness comes from. That’s a very reductive statement, I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on the internet. However, that has been my personal experience when I get passive-aggressive. It’s because I’ve crossed a boundary of mine usually with good intentions, but then I’m making everybody else pay for it. So you can call your friends out on it, and be like, “Hey listen, like, I’m just curious. Like are you teasing me and this is all fun? Or is this … Are you actually like … Are upset about something and we need to talk about this?” Then you gently reminding each other that like you need to learn how to say no and take care of yourself, because you’re way more fun to be around when you do that. Of course say that in a non passive-aggressive way. 

Cathy: I’ve noticed too that like I tend to … I hang out with people that are kind goofy, and they’re teasing a lot, and sometimes I doubt myself. Like this is I’m being too sensitive or whatever. Just sharing my truth it’s like … Can I role model with you? 

Reid: Sure. 

Cathy: So, Reid do you have a minute to talk? 

Reid: Yes. It’s going to be passive-aggressive. 

Cathy: Thank you. So I have something I’d like to ask but I’m kind of afraid that if I ask you about, talk to you about, you’ll think I’m kind of goofy or too sensitive. 

Reid: Okay. 

Cathy: What I’d really like to have happen, wait … 

Reid: No, that rhymes. This is cute. Keep going. This is fun.

Cathy: What I’d really like to have happen is for you to know that I’d talk to you about anything that’s bothering me. 

Reid: Yep. 

Cathy: That we can clear things up and have a really good connection. 

Reid: Okay. What’s up? 

Cathy: What I’ve noticed is some of your comments lately leave me feeling kind of bad about myself. I’m not sure if you’re just joking and I’m taking them wrong, but I wonder if we can talk about what’s going on. If you’re feeling resentful towards me, or kind of jabbing, or your jokes are just landing wrong for me. 

Reid: Okay. 

Cathy: I’d like to figure it out either way. I’d like to fix it so I don’t feel left a little bit feeling bad about myself after we hang out, because I really like hanging out with you. 

Reid: Cool, let’s do that. Get it? She’s using the difficult conversation formula. 

Cathy: Yeah, it’s a good formula, it really works. 

Reid: Where you share what you’re afraid of, what you’d like to have happen, and then the thing that you need to talk to them about. 

Cathy: Yeah, I really love having a safe word too. So if you notice it happening, like say Reid and I had that conversation, and I’m like, “Hey, could I use a safe word when I notice it seems like we’re going down that path, where you seem like you’re being passive-aggressive?” So we can kind of stop the conversation, and check in. You can pick whatever, we’re not … I know- 

Reid: Pick a happy safe word. 

Cathy: Bunny. 

Reid: Don’t pick a passive-aggressive safe word because that’s- 

Cathy: Yeah, asshole. 

Reid: Yeah, well that would be funny. 

Cathy: No, but it allows you to check in the moment, because sometimes people don’t realize there was … It could be subconscious or they could just be goofing off and thinking that you’re fine with it. So cleaning this up before it starts to be a big problem is really important. It can make the relationship so much stronger, healthier, and helps you practice taking care of yourself. 

Reid: Yep, and also show them this video, but in a non passive-aggressive way. 

Cathy: How do you do that non passive-aggressively? 

Reid: I don’t know. Use that formula. Leave a comment. What do you think? Bye.

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