By | John Bowe | www.cnbc.com
Passive-aggressive behavior isn’t always intentional. As a speech and communications expert, I’ve found that people who have these tendencies often just struggle with being honest about their emotions.
But when you send mixed messages by failing to be straightforward, problems and tensions can go unresolved and people make assumptions about how you feel. It may even make people respect you less.
The most successful communicators get to the point and avoid these phrases that only serve to irritate the listener:
1. “Just a friendly reminder…”
I call this one a “throat clearer” — an indirect attempt to demand attention or a faster response. Other phrases to eliminate: “Per my last email…,” “Not sure if you got the memo, but…” or “As I mentioned before…”
These phrases only camouflage your request and make the other person think you’re trying to nag, blame or be bossy.
What to say instead: Be direct. If you need a quick turnaround, there’s nothing wrong with saying, “Hey, I’m sorry to bug you again, but I need a response.”
2. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…”
This phrase almost always prefaces something annoying or offensive.
The lazy, self-serving logic behind it is that if you tell people in advance that you’re going to be rude, it’s okay to go ahead and do so. Wrong.
What to say instead: Legitimate criticism is necessary and even helpful, as long as you’re not a jerk about it. Think before you speak: Are you focusing on the problem you want to solve?