Corporate Peon: Passive Aggressive

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Passive Aggressive

I mentioned to someone the other day that I sometimes feel as if I've forgotten how to interact with others. I mean sure, I smile and hold the elevator even if I'm fuming inside, and I don't throw things or chant incantations at the office, but as far as basic conversation...sometimes I feel as if all this time on my own has turned me into somewhat of a recluse.

I commented to my conversation partner that I thought it was because I was selfish and only thought about what I wanted to talk about, or didn't want to talk about (if I don't want to hold a conversation, make small talk - I won't. I'm comfortable with uncomfortable silences.), and the person was suprised by that comment. As I don't normally talk about myself to that person, s/he didn't think of me as selfish.

I've gotten very good at deflecting questions or queries. Someone can ask me what I did this weekend, and I'll pick the most banal part of all in order to not have to detail it. And then I'll immediately turn it around to what they did this weekend, and query them on that so that a) the focus is off me, b) they are forced to talk, and c) it's harder for them to turn the conversation back around to me.

It seems unselfish, but the intent is selfish. Talk about you so I don't have to, please.

If I really said what I thought, or what I did, or just answered honestly, I would be booted on my ass so quickly. And I don't just mean at work, I mean...from 'polite society' in general.

Example: Someone gives a shitty speech and asks me how they did, saying the usual "Oh I was so nervous, how bad was it" type of compliment-seeking crap. I'm not going to lie and say they were great; I'm not going to be honest and say they sucked. Instead, I'm going to comment on a point they made in the content of their speech, or make a generic suggestion about eye contact - something innocous so that I'm saved from outright lies while also being saved from outright honesty.

Would it hurt them if I were upfront about their suckiness? Perhaps. It might help, also, but I'm a chickenshit. Ask me what I think about something, and I'm likely to either make a general statement or state that I have no opinion. And then see if you're asked what you think about it.

Is it something I can impact, or is it going to happen regardless of my opinion? Why should I tell you I don't want you wearing blue, if you're going to wear blue anyway? And if you're going to wear blue, how does that impact me to the point that I need to talk about it? You live your own life and make your own choices; who am I to tell you what to wear?

I don't know my own mind, and what I know, well, it's a little...kinked up in here. Too many coils to step over, too many cords to unwind. I spend time doing that, but the more I expose it to others, the more they'll see how much work needs to be done. And who wants that?

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