Passive Aggressive Examples

Passive Aggressive

Someone whose actions are described as passive aggressive demonstrates resistance or displeasure with a person or course of action in a roundabout manner rather than through direct confrontation. Someone who is passive aggressive may act in such a way that undermines another person or course of action (i.e. losing documents at work by "misplacing" them). The person may also gossip and question another behind their back. The goal of a passive aggressive person is to get back at someone or voice displeasure without an open conflict.

Examples of Passive Aggressive:

Examples of Passive Aggressive Behavior

When someone says "fine" or "it doesn't matter" when something has obviously upset him or her, they are engaging in passive aggressive behavior. You know that the person is upset, but they are refusing to bring the issue to the surface. Instead, they leave everyone else walking on eggshells because everyone knows that it does matter and everything is not "fine."


When someone deliberately puts off completing a task or doesn't make progress on a task, this may be passive aggressive behavior. For example, your boss assigns you some additional work to do, even though you feel that your workload is already heavy. You consistently put the new task off or at the bottom of your to do list to make a point that you should not have to do it.


Sometimes, passive aggressive behavior involves withholding information. For example, someone who wants to get back at their boss may choose to withhold key information until a time when the boss looks weak or unorganized for not knowing that information. Then, the person feigns innocence and apologizes because they thought the boss knew the information.


A final example of passive aggressive behavior is the backhanded compliment. Here are a few:


I did not expect that dress to look so great on you!


I wish I had your confidence and could just tell it like it is.


Those jeans really make you look thin.

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