Am I passive aggressive?
October 14, 2012 3:00 AM Subscribe
Am I passive-aggressive? I've always felt that I am not, but more than one person recently has accused me of it, and where there's smoke there might be fire...
posted by maxwelton to Human Relations (42 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I suspect most of this might be around the fact that time and I have never had a very good relationship, which is obviously within my powers to fix but I never get around to it (zing). So I'm almost always a bit late to things like meetings, I tend to wildly underestimate how long things will take (and therefore miss deadlines I set myself) and I frequently take a lot longer to get around to doing things than I expect I will.
Some of this is I've always procrastinated, and feel some of my best work comes under intense time pressure. (I can see the other side, that this is, at best, an excuse.)
I also do that thing where you keep saying to yourself "well, five more minutes of [answering email, talking on the phone, soaking in the shower, whatever], and then I'll go" and before you know it, it's meeting time and you're fifteen minutes from being there.
Sometimes it's because I allow absolutely no margin for error and, of course, error happens. You leave the house on time if the roads are empty and you catch the light, but the county has trucks out to repair the roads and then you hit the five-minute traffic light just as it's turning red, etc., etc.
Other times it's because I genuinely lose track of things. I know something is due on Wednesday, but it doesn't occur to me that today is Wednesday, as moronic as that sounds. On something like a chore, I might think "well, I just did that x days ago, it can wait another day" when x is actually several weeks ago.
And I've always been awful at estimating how long things should take. If I say an hour, it's guaranteed to take two, and if I pad it and say a day it will take two days.
I know this is one of the most annoying things about me (and that's saying something), but I've never made much progress in battling this tendency of mine, annoying the ever-lasting crap out of a lot of people in my life. But it never occurred to me that I might be doing this from passive-aggressive motives. I definitely don't think of these time issues in terms of "your project is so special, eh? Let's see what a slipped deadline looks like" or "yeah, I said I'd do that, maybe I just won't get to it."
Are they right? Am I being passive-aggressive? I've read lists of what constitutes p-a behavior, and this is the only thing that seems to mesh well with what I do. It seems like true p-a behavior requires motive; if I have one it must be pretty deeply buried, and that's something I should probably see someone about if indeed this likely stems from that.
(It's also entirely possible I'm just a complete flake.)