Working with Passive Aggressive Colleagues

Today’s blog is the first in a 3-part series on working with passive aggressive colleagues. Part 1 focuses on common behaviours and expressions used by the passive aggressor. Part 2 will examine why people are passive aggressive and part 3 will demonstrate how to deal with persons who are passive aggressive.

12 Things Passive-Aggressive People ALWAYS Do — But Don't Realize

  • I appear sweet, compliant and agreeable, but am really resentful, angry, petty and envious underneath.
  • I’m afraid of being alone and equally afraid of being dependent.
  • I complain frequently that I am treated unfairly.
  • I procrastinate frequently, especially on things I do for others.
  • I sulk, withdraw and pout.
  • I cover up my feeling of inadequacy with superiority, disdain or hostile passivity.
  • I am often late and/or forgetful.
  • I make up stories, excuses and lies.

Familiar passive aggressive statements:

"I'm not mad." “I thought you knew.”

"Fine. Whatever." “Sure, I’d be happy to.”

"I didn't know you meant now." “I was only joking.”

“Why are you getting so upset?” “You’ve done so well for someone with your education level”


Jocelyn Herrett, DSW, RSW

Senior Mental Health Clinician

Walmsley, EFAP