Why Be Passive-Aggressive?

By Janice Tieperman
News Editor

Let’s face it: in the current social and political climate, there are a lot of differing opinions out there—and that’s great!

The freedom to think and believe in whatever we choose to is one of the most important parts of keeping a democratic society healthy and thriving.

So, why is America so toxic?

As social media has become a prominent pillar in our society, debates and discussions have been occurring increasingly online.

This in itself is not the problem, but the passive-aggressive platforms that emerges from these online locations are.

In short, passive-aggressiveness is a long-winded term used to describe individuals who use a passive, impersonal platform (i.e. any given form of technology) to instigate nasty and combative messages to other people.

It’s important to recognize that some individuals are naturally passionate about certain topics and appear more aggressive than intended on their posts—but this by itself does not constitute a passive-aggressive environment.

When it comes down to it, passive-aggressive messages are inclined to show very little respect to the people they are directed towards.

Since social media cuts out the verbal middle man in communication, it has become all too easy to forget that the people responding on the other side of the screen have feelings and opinions of their own.

In a moment of anger, technology has enabled us to deal with our emotions in an unhealthy way, leading to missed communication, and ultimately bypassing a confrontation that would best be said in person.

This being said, it is very easy to use technology as a shield to avoid the awkwardness that can arise from physical conversation.

While technology has undoubtedly become a huge part of society, it is also important to emphasize the importance of inperson communication.

More often than not, spur-of-the-moment emotions can lead to regrettable messages being sent.

So, how do we avoid this kind of toxic communication?

First of all, remember to take a moment to pause in a conversation, especially if it’s a digital one.

If the discussion is heated, it is perfectly okay to step away from the device until clearer, more rational thinking can be reached.

Next, read over all messages before sending them.

Try to imagine the recipient’s perspective.

Would this person be offended by this message?

Better yet, would this message be better said in person?

More often than not, the answer to the latter question is yes.

Finally, try to get in the habit of discussing issues in a face-toface manner.

It’s an uncomfortable moment, but getting used to having conversations in person, no matter how tense they may be, can lead to more mature and productive interactions in the future.

Keeping an eye out for passive-aggressiveness in society is undoubtedly a challenge, but is the key to cleaning out the toxins in many current conversations.

Email Janice at:
jtieperman@live.esu.edu

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