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Examples of Passive-aggressive Words - If You Really...:
· If you really loved me, you’d let me…
· If you really cared up about us, you would come and meet my parents.
· If you really cared about having a clean house, you’d help clean once in a while.
· It you really cared about this team, you’d work much harder.
· If you really cared, you be on time for our client meetings.
Explanation - Why This Borders on Verbal Abuse:
One of the top ten worst phrases to use because of its frequency of use, and the “hidden” meaning that underlies it.
If you use any form of this phrase, here’s what you are saying, according to the presuppositions involved:
· You don’t really love me.
· You don’t care about this, but you are pretending to care.
· You’re lying about how much you care.
· I don’t trust your words.
If you mean to talk about those messages because they are important aspects of your relationship, this isn’t the way to do it. If you have these doubts, they shouldn’t be expressed in such a passive-aggressive, or indirect way.
Imagine you are on the receiving end of these phrases. How do you respond? Do you respond to the underlying messages? Or do you respond to the issue it’s attached to? Almost always, you’d respond to the much more important, but hidden insinuation that you don’t care, or you don’t REALLY love the other person, and that’s going to be a destructive conversation.
Make It Better:
If there is a specific issue, let’s say about keeping the house clean, drop the phrase and focus on the issue.
· I’m not sure we’re on the same wavelength about keeping the house clean, so maybe we can talk about how important it is to both of us, and make a plan we can both live with.
If you really do believe the person doesn’t care, or doesn’t love you, then you might need to come at that more directly, but it’s a tough topic to tackle — the closer the relationship, the harder it is to have that conversation. To make the conversation less attacking and threatening, it might be best to ask questions and listen, rather than express the opinion that the person doesn’t “care”.
· John, I’m getting the impression that we’re drifting apart the last few months. Have your feelings changed?
· Mary, you seem a bit different lately. Is there something on your mind?
One key is to remove the YOU from the discussion, at least initially. YOU statements tend to sound like attacks, and the likely response is a denial or an attempt to defend, and neither makes for a productive discussion.
· It’s a challenging time for all of us, so we all have to pitch in and put in some more time.
· It’s important that we all arrive on time for our client meetings. It shows we see our clients as important.