Passive-Aggressive Language


Hey, everyone. In this lesson we’re
going to talk about passive aggression or being passive aggressive. A passive-aggressive person finds it
really hard to say what they really want and what they really need, and sometimes
they feel like they can’t directly be angry. So their words come out as if their words
mean: “That’s fine”, or “That’s okay”, or “I’m feeling good”, but actually the real
meaning of what they’re saying is opposite. The words, if we just listen to the words,
they’re not showing that the person’s angry, but the true meaning of what they’re trying to say
shows that they’re not happy about something. And if you wondered why I’m wearing this
cape today it’s because it protects me from passive-aggressive
comments in my videos. So let’s have a look at the different kinds
of passive aggression. This will help you to get more of an idea what it is. We’ve got
overt passive aggression and covert passive aggression. When something’s overt, it’s obvious,
it’s more obvious, we can see it; and when something is covert
it’s like hidden. So let’s start with overt passive aggression,
the more obvious kinds. Someone… Someone’s not happy with you, they can give you the
“silent treatment”, that’s when they’re just like: “Umph.” They won’t talk to you, they’re
sort of ignoring you, and they want you to know that you’re really pissed off with them,
you’re really angry with them, and you’re so angry you can’t talk. So it might be for
a few hours, it might be for a few weeks. Sometimes married couples don’t speak to each
other for weeks if they do this silent treatment thing. When you give someone the “cold shoulder”
that’s when you’re around that person, but you make no effort to be warm to them, to be
nice to them. It’s a bit like just… It’s a big like ignoring them
or just showing that: “Oh, I don’t… I don’t… I don’t want to
know you. I just don’t want to know you.” And a very clear, direct
way of giving someone the cold shoulder would be if somebody said:
“Hi” or maybe wanted to shake your hand, and it would be so direct if you just didn’t shake their
hand or you’re like: “Hi”, that sometimes happens. Now let’s look at covert passive aggression.
This is when it’s less obvious and sometimes you have to really
think about it: “What is this person doing? Am I…? Am I
mad? Am I making this up? Is it true?” Okay, so now I admit that I
have been once very skilled in the arts of passive aggression myself,
and one of my jobs when I was 17 years old, I worked in a fake Italian restaurant, and I
hated this job. And one of the ways I showed how much I hated it was my job was making…
Making desserts and serving the drinks, and one of the ways I showed I hated this job
was to put the desserts on the plate in a way where they looked as bad as they possibly
could, but only just passing. So the… So the waiters would still take them out, or the
manager of the restaurant would come and look at it and think: “This looks… This
looks bad”, and he would be a bit annoyed with me, but he would still take it because
there’s more things to do. So in my little teenager head, every time I made
those desserts look bad, I was like: “Haha, hahahaha. Ha, I
hate this job.” Right. Moving on to “procrastination”, that means
taking a really long time before you actually do something or get it done. So, have you ever
been in a situation where you ask someone to do something for you
and they keep saying: “Yeah, in a minute, yeah, it’s just
coming, I’m just about to do it”, and it still doesn’t happen; you
have to ask them about 10 times? That can be a form of covert passive aggression.
Not every time, obviously. It just… It depends if someone is always doing it. “Constantly late” is another one. Sometimes
if people just don’t really care that much, they’ll be late and late and late, and also
sometimes they’re late because they… They just find it really hard to say: “I don’t want
to meet you at that time that we arranged.” They find it really hard to say: “I’d rather
meet at 7.” So because they can’t say it, they just think: “I’ll turn up late, that’s
when I wanted to arrive anyway”, and the reason is they can’t, like, can’t
say it in the first place. Next: “late-minute cancellations”. Well, this
can happen when you don’t… You just don’t really want to go somewhere, you just don’t
really want to meet that person, but they called you up and you… They invited you
somewhere and you said you’d go, but when you get near the time you realize you just
don’t really care that much and you don’t really want to go, so that can be a… You
know, you get near the time and you get like: “Oh no, I can’t be bothered.” Next is “forgetting”. I once worked in a learning
English school in Dubai, and English teachers, they always have so many pages to photocopy
for everyone in the class and if you’re doing more than one page you can be ages on the
photocopier. And the manager in the school said: “It’s no problem if you need someone to photocopy
stuff for you. Just ask the receptionist.” I thought: “All right, that’s good”,
and I asked the receptionist: “I need this page and this page photocopied. I
need eight copies. I need whatever”, and she said: “Sure, Miss Jade. I’ll
photocopy this for you.” And I come back just before
class to get my photocopies, ask where they are, she said: “Oh, sorry,
Miss Jade. I forgot to do your photocopies.” And I was like: “Oh, okay. Don’t worry about
it.” Did it myself. Next day, ask her to do some photocopies, same thing happened. “Oh, sorry,
Miss Jade. I forgot to do your photocopies.” And then I had to just be, like, step back and
think about it: Is she actually forgetting or does this mean: “Miss Jade, I don’t want to do your photocopies,
it’s not my job to do your photocopies”? So I finally realized that sometimes
forgetting or not doing something is a way that people who can’t directly say:
“It’s not my job” or “Don’t ask me”, they show you that way. Okay? And this is more
of a… That kind of thing you can see with the cultural differences more because that
receptionist, she was from the Philippines and I would guess that there they just have a
hard time telling the teacher no, for example. They just have other ways
of showing it. Okay? And the last example here is… It’s a little
bit similar to doing the sloppy work, if you don’t like someone or you don’t like a job,
you can show it by misusing the tools and not… “Breaking things”, not using things
carefully because it’s not… It’s not your thing, whatever it is, so you don’t care, you
can just break it. So what? It’s not yours. So it could be something that happened to
my brother, my brother is a stone mason, he uses… He uses tools to, like, shape stones,
and he was working on a job where someone borrowed his tools and brought them back
all broken. And my brother was like: “What the hell is this?
What’s happened to my tools?” But I think in that
situation what happened is the person who broke the tools didn’t like
my brother, and wanted to, like… Wanted to make him angry and wanted to, like, show him
and that’s why the tools came back broken. So if you ever get in a situation where you’re,
like, confused by this person’s behaviour-they say one thing, but it doesn’t really make sense-you
might be dealing with a passive-aggressive situation. So now let’s look at specific examples of
language. Here’s a situation. This could be a parent talking to their teenage child:
-“I want you home by 10pm. Okay?” -“Fine!” Okay? So, passive aggression depends on the
tone that somebody’s using in their expression. “Fine”, it usually means: “Sure”, “Okay”,
“Good”, but if you say it like this: “Fine!” obviously it’s not. And why it might happen
in this situation is because the teenager doesn’t really feel they’ve got a choice.
If the teenager had a choice they wouldn’t be back at 10pm. So they feel like they
can’t really argue, so I just say: “Fine!” Moving on. This situation would be if you’ve…
I’ve been in this situation, you have a job and what happened to me, it was about quarter
to… Quarter to 6:00 on a Friday afternoon, and bear in mind this wasn’t a proper job,
this was some kind of intern job. Right? Not even a proper job. They came over to me and
then they said at quarter to 6:00 on Friday: “You’ll work late and help the team, won’t
you? Everyone else is staying late. You’ll stay late and help the
team, won’t you?” So if you answer passive
aggressively, you go: “Uh, mm, no problem,
no problem.” Because what you
really want to say is: “No, it’s quarter to 6:00 on Friday. I’m
going. I’m sorry. I’m just an intern. You’re not paying me for this.” In fact, that’s what I said. I didn’t use
the passive aggressive, I just said: “Sorry, no. Can’t. It’s too late. You should
have asked me earlier. Sorry. Not staying.” But imagine if you’re in that situation, like
you’re an intern or something and the whole reason you’re there is, you know, you want them
to give you a job, and you want to impress, and you want to look keen – most people would
probably just say: “Okay, okay”, but they don’t really mean it. Secretly inside they’re
like: “I want to get out of here. It’s Friday.” Next is, this could be… This could be a
friend, this could be someone you’re in a relationship with. One says: “Oh, I don’t feel
like going out tonight.” And the other one says: “Suit yourself”, and off they go out.
“Suit yourself” means… Well, in this context it means: “Well, I’m still going out.”
When you suit yourself it’s like please yourself. Probably what this person wanted: “I don’t
feel like going out tonight”, this person probably wanted the
other person to say: “Oh, you don’t want to go out tonight?
Oh, I don’t want to go out either. Let’s stay in together
and watch a film”, but it didn’t really
work to be indirect. Next example is imagine you… This seems
like something a mom would… A mom would say. Ask… Ask some… Ask the teenage kids
to do the dishes: “Can you do the dishes?” And she waits about 30 seconds, and then she
says: “Don’t worry, I’ll do it myself!” Or she says: “Do I have to
do everything myself?” And then she ends up
doing the dishes, and she’s like… She’s angry.
More examples coming up. Next we’ve got an example of… This could be
you’ve had an argument with your boyfriend, and he says to you: “I’m really sorry. Promise
I’ll make it up to you.” But you’re still angry and you don’t believe him. He’s done
it again, or he’s a liar. But you say: “If you say so”. “If you say so” in this context means: You say that, but
I don’t really believe it. It means something like: We’ll see in the future that’s not true.
If you weren’t being passive aggressive in that
situation, you would say something like: “I’m still really angry with you, and at the moment
I don’t believe what you’re saying.” That way you express what you feel inside, rather than
like: “If you say so.” It’s just… It’s like holding on to your simmering
anger and keeping it inside. Next we’ve got… You say to someone: “What
do you think of my new shoes?” And they say: “Mm, green’s not really my colour. Each
to his own”. “Each to his own”… Oh: “Each to his own, though”. When you say: “Each
to his own”, that means I don’t… I don’t agree with you… When one person thinks one thing,
I think something else, so you can say: “Each to his own. It’s not… It’s not what I
would wear. It’s not my taste. Each to his own.” Now, obviously, it wouldn’t be very polite to
say something like that if someone is seeking a compliment. “What do you
think of my new shoes?” But it’s this kind
of language here. Actually all these examples here are similar.
“If you say so”, “Each to his own”, and the next one here, they’re similar because the
statements themselves don’t have so much meaning in terms of the words, but they’re just a way
of replying to show that you don’t really agree that much with what
the other person said. So the next example: “I’m not a fan of metal.
I’m not a fan of metal. I’m not going to come. I’m not a fan of metal. I’m not going to come.”
This could be talking about going out to listen to some… Listen to a band, and this is
the way the person says I’m not coming: “No, I’m not a fan of metal. I’m not going to
come.” And the other person who wants you to come, that’s why they invited you, says: “Fair enough.
Fair enough. Fair enough.” Obviously it depends on their kind of face that they use when they say
it, because “Fair enough” is quite a widely-used expression. And most people tend to think of
it has… Think of it as having a positive… A positive kind of meaning in the sense that
if you say: “Fair enough”, it means: “Well, you think that and you do that, that’s cool
with me.” But actually how I’ve observed most people using it is like it means the opposite.
You think something different. Oh, I would want to change your mind about this, so I
would want you to agree with me, but I can’t so I’ll just say: “Fair enough.” Next example, let’s say somebody did… Did
something and you know they did it, and you didn’t like it, you could say: “Why
did you do that? Why?” And they say: “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know
what you’re talking about.” But it’s obvious they do. This is a way of saying: “I don’t want
to talk about it. Dismiss, dismiss. Not… Not going to talk about it.” So actually they do
know what you’re talking about, but can’t admit it. Next example, this could be a
teenager wants to go out somewhere: -“You can’t go because you haven’t finished
your homework.” -“Whatever! Whatever!” Next example: -“What do you want to do
tonight? What do you want to do tonight?” -“I don’t mind. I don’t mind.”
-“Okay, let’s watch football.” Girlfriend’s not happy. She said she
didn’t mind, but she did really. She just wanted you to say:
“Okay, let’s go and… Let’s go and eat pizza in the nice restaurant”, or
she wanted to watch the film she wanted to watch, but she didn’t say that, so he decided…
Oops, this is not a new one. So he decided, and so she just sulks all night.
She’s not happy. Last example here… The number is in the
wrong place again, the number should be here. Mom walks around the house, crashing, banging pots in the
kitchen-bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang-dad says: “What’s wrong?” She says: “Nothing.
I’m good.” More examples coming up. Okay, let’s look at: “You look really
fat in that dress… Only joking.” Has anyone ever said that to you before?
Say something really rude, and then go: “Only joking”? Someone
once said to me: “Let’s play a game where we get
really up close to somebody’s face and say something horrible, like: ‘Jade, I really
hate you.’ Only joking.” They’re not joking. Next one: “Not being rude… Not being rude…
Not being rude, but do you even lift, bro?” If someone says: “Not being rude”, they most
likely are being rude. And just to make sense of what it means, if someone
says: “Do you even lift, bro?” This would… You would say that to someone who looks like
they don’t know anything about training, or they don’t know how to workout, or something like that.
They don’t… They don’t look built and they don’t look like they’ve done a lot of exercise. So you
say: “Not being rude, but do you even lift, bro?” That’s the way of saying: “You don’t
look like you know anything about this.” Next example, it’s almost the same: “Not being funny,
but you should wear more makeup in your videos.” You might see this in
the comments section. “Just giving you some advice that you need. Not being
funny, but you should wear more makeup in your videos.” Another example: “I don’t mean to be mean, but
you should pluck that hair out of your nose. Just giving you a heads up.
Just helping you out, here.” This is actually a real example that I got in my comments because I have a
video that’s filmed quite close to my face. There’s thousands of comments on that video,
and no one mentioned that there is a hair there before. I didn’t check. I didn’t want
to know if there really was one there, but anyway they’re just
helping me out. “Don’t mean to be mean, just so you know
you should pluck that hair right out.” Next example, someone again might
say in the comments section: “No offence… No offence, but you’re not a good English
teacher. No offence, don’t take it the wrong way.” Next example: “I hope you don’t mind me saying,
but that hair colour doesn’t suit you.” Another real-life example. I was in one of my videos…
This is my hair colour, I’ve never actually dyed it in any of the videos, but someone
thought they’d be helping me out with some advice by saying: “I hope you don’t mind me saying, but
that hair colour doesn’t suit you.” Well, I’ll tell you what, Mother Nature
must have got it wrong in that case. And the last example is… Always be very scared…
Always be very scared when somebody says to you: “Can I ask you a question?” Just say…
Just say no. Don’t let them. Someone said this to me once: “Jade, can… Jade…” How
was she speaking? She was German. I cannot… Sounding Indian at the moment. Anyways, she
was German: “Jade, can I ask you a question?” Imagine a German person. “Jade, can I
ask you a question?” I said: -“Yeah.” -“Why do you always wear jeans
two sizes too small for you?” She was saying I was too fat to be
wearing whatever jeans I was wearing. I looked down, and I was just like: “I
didn’t know that. I always do that. Oops.” But anyways, she was just being:
“Rownh, rownh.” So, anyway, beware. Be especially aware if a German person says: “Can
I ask you a question?” because you don’t want to hear it. So, thank you for watching the video. The
thing about passive aggression is in a way the… The title of it, “passive aggression”
is wrong because sometimes the examples are so hidden they don’t look like aggression
and you have to think about it after. So we could think of it as kinds of manipulation or
ways that we say things that we don’t really mean. Anyways, so here have
been lots of examples, and what you can do now is go
and do the quiz on this lesson. Thanks for watching, and I’ll
see you again soon. Bye.