I believe you can say anything to anyone. It's not what you say, it's how you say it that matters the most.
Have you ever stopped, and observed people from a distance as an innocent bystander? We all have at one time, or another. Our human instinct is to listen in, and observe people with intrigue if we find the topic interesting, and relative to us. One of the hardest traits I find that is the toughest to overcome is being passive aggressive in nature. When you are passive aggressive you tend to define being nice by not expressing your true honest thoughts about someone, or something. You tend to just keep going with your feelings kept inside, or by hiding behind your phone.
In a rapidly changing world where technology is advancing, and more and more communication is indirect via email, and texting; I have found that this becomes more and more of a problem for many out there. When I moved to Minnesota a little over a year ago from NYC I found this one of the hardest transitions to overcome. My direct, and honest mentality was a bit unfamiliar by many. I had made a promise to myself that I would always listen, and observe one’s behavior, and assess how honest, and forthcoming I could be. It was just as equally important that I still be true to myself by stating the truth to someone, and not holding in how I felt. This by far has been one of the best things to happen over time while adapting to passive aggressive behavior.
By standing up for myself, and my feelings I was able to create clear guidelines and boundaries for how others treated me, worked with me, and respected my time. I found that you can have a tremendous amount of respect for someone, but you also need to respect yourself by being honest, and sharing your feedback constructively. When we say things with compassion, and are genuine in how we come across people feel, and see that. They tend to listen, and not just go straight into defensive mode. They truly engage back, and that is when the magic of a great mature dialogue begins.
For those who struggle with being more passive, and want to gain a more assertive mindset here are my thoughts on how to do that.
Write down, and journal when you observe your passive behavior. Anytime you catch yourself walking away feeling like you didn't end your conversation with being as honest, and forthcoming as you would have liked write down a few key aspects.
Who was I with? Why didn't I get my point across? What am I afraid of?
Practice makes perfect...Work on your conviction, and practice with those you feel most safe with. Typically, it has been found that people who are more passive tend to have grown up in a more controlling environment, but not always.
One of the best phrases I love to use is this...
"I feel a certain way because of xyz. I am wanting to be honest because I care, and want to move forward. In order for me to move forward I need to get this out in the open. You may not agree with my feelings, but this does not change how I feel."
ALWAYS remember that you hold your power. Your conviction is because you are allowed to put yourself first, and feel a certain way. No one is ever allowed to tell you how to feel.
Communication is the key to success in anything these days. Relationships, friendships, work, and everything else in between. Also understand that taking a step back, truly listening to someone before speaking, and then reiterating what someone said will help to clear up miscommunication, and misinterpretation. Emails and text messages are the worst with not knowing how someone perceived your words. This is why I am such a lover of a good old-fashioned call, or even facetime!
No one wants the nice person anymore. They want someone who they know is going to have their back, tell them the truth, and communicate it in a way they can hear, and respect it.
And lastly, never be too prideful to say you’re sorry, and mean it. Those two words can profoundly change your life if you come across a time, or in my case many times where you need to own those words, and say them.
Here's to passing up passive, and being more assertive!