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.