The internet just became a better place after this career coach gave us the best one-liner to question passive-aggressiveness at work.
We have all been in toxic workplaces where work-life balance is like a see-saw that only swings towards work, work and more work. We have also found ourselves in situations opposite a toxic colleague where the meter of passive-aggressiveness would probably go off the charts. A TikTok video has been well received among the masses for its epic one-liner to deal with passive-aggressive situations at work. The video posted by Jennifer Brick (@jenniferbrick) begins with, “This phrase will instantly shut down passive-aggressive people at work and in life.”
Talking about its usage and effect on her own personal life, Brick said, “I started using this with passive-aggressive people last year and there has not been even one case where I have used it where the person hasn’t backed off with their toxic little tail between their legs.” Her description really makes you wonder what this magical spell is and she continues that the “best part” is its simplicity. So what is this magical line that works wonders on the “toxic little tails” that wag themselves in front of us in life? Brick explains to use “your most neutral tone” and ask, “Are you trying to be helpful or hurtful?” Bam! That’s it, that’s the end of the video but the question lingers on for longer and leaves you with food for thought.
The comments section felt similar and was erupting with more such questions for diverse situations and personalities. The section had a roar of laughter as well over this. @dustythewhale said, “A true passive-aggressive person will respond 'I'm trying to be a little of both.'" @veronicamustoe commented, “My favorite is to say, 'Can I ask you to repeat that?' Then just stare at them.”
Some viewers liked to get into a debate about dealing with passive-aggressiveness at work and commented. @seacamp2009 commented, “If you can, take the passive-aggressive language as literally as possible." While some agreed that this was great, some shared their own versions of such questions that can truly shut down the passive aggressiveness and some just had a great laugh. While the punch line does convey the intention behind how it feels to be in the face of passive-aggressiveness, the effectiveness is going to be a test for each individual who dares to give it a try.
Workplaces can become a real toxic environment and dealing with it requires some healthy boundaries so that your mental health remains somewhat intact. Along similar lines is a story of an employee who stood up to their toxic boss who refused to believe them when they handed in their notice period. They said that the day after they handed in the notice period, the boss refused to even acknowledge them and when he walked in to inquire about their new job, he asked to see the actual offer letter. Upon seeing the real existence of the offer letter, they watched “the smug expression leave his face.” It was the moment of truth that the boss didn't expect but surely got. Well, we’ve all been in the same room as the most toxic bosses and colleagues but thanks to TikTok we can learn some new ways to deal with them, eh?