At the office, it’s important to watch the way you say things and preserve relationships with your colleagues. But everyone has bad days, or coworkers they can’t stand, and putting up a polite front can let some passive-aggressive language slip.
If you want to keep an eye out for this kind of pettiness or make sure you’re not the one doing it, here are some passive-aggressive things people say at work:
- “Per my previous email…”This line is a passive-aggressive way of correcting someone or doubling down on something you said that you think they aren’t getting. Basically, it suggests a short rope or a lack of trust. Other versions of this include “As I mentioned,” or “like I said.”
- “CC’ing my boss for visibility.”If someone ropes in the boss on something, that’s a red flag that they don’t completely trust you… or are trying to rat you out. One way to fix this is by simply asking the person to prioritize the thing you’re talking about, like a task they want to make sure is finished by a certain time.
- “A lot of us think…”This suggests that people at the office have been talking about you, but not confronting you. And it might not even be accurate, it could be misrepresenting your other employees. It’s better to just be direct with people if you’re having an issue and work it out.
- “No offense, but…”If you have to say “no offense,” there’s probably some offense happening. Saying you don’t want to offend and then doing it anyway it a pretty classic example of passive aggression. Try this instead: “Do I have permission to give you feedback on something?” or “I’d love for us to build trust so we can have an open dialogue with each other.”
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