On Being Passive

September 24, 2011

I know we are all different.

That’s good, and I think it helps this world go ’round.

However, when someone at work told me I need to work on not being so passive, I got a little offended.

I guess I don’t see my passiveness as a bad thing. It is who I am, and I’m okay with it!

Someone who can relate to this is my sister (a.k.a. my clone). Her and I–no matter how far apart we live–are in constant connect through ESP. (There’s just no other explanation. šŸ˜‰ )


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We were talking the other day—not through ESP but on the phone—when I told her how I kind of got in trouble for being too passive at work. I didn’t necessarily “get in trouble,” but this person commented that I am too passive, and I need to work on this flaw of mine. When I was told her this, she immediately said a very similar thing happened to her at work (imagine that!).

We will both be the first to admit we are not outgoing people. We often will sit back at a social gatherings and “take it all in” rather than feel the need to be the “life of the party.” (This is definitely contingent upon who the people are, the size of the group, and topic of discussion.)

We would rather let those people who “need” to be the center of attention do their thing because we realize this is their source of energy.

What frustrated us the most about our situations was the fact that our bosses had a hard time accepting this trait and instead wanted us to change.

We understand the need to be a leader or step-up-to-the-plate at times (especially in a work situation), and we are definitely able to do that.

So to all those people who see our passiveness as a bad thing:

You see us as being passive, we see it as being nice!

We just want to be accommodating and not make life more complicated than it already is. We can go with the flow and won’t make a big deal out of something that doesn’t need to be a big deal! We will let those of you who are more outgoing than us have your limelight, and we will speak up if we feel strongly about something!

~~~~~~~

Craig and I are running a race tomorrow!

Wish us luck. . . . actually, wish Craig the most luck because I can’t remember the last time he ran!

12 Comments
    1. i’m just like that too! i can totally relate….it’s always a bummer when people want to “change” you. everyone can’t be the same.

    1. How awesome that you and Craig are running a race together!
      I am very passive as well, but have found that I’m actually passive everywhere but work. It’s the one place where I have found my “voice” and stick up for myself and my kids when needed. Thinking of you and hoping things get better for you at work soon!

      1. I find that very interesting you are passive everywhere except at work. I can’t be too passive when teaching either, but I have to put an act on, so it isn’t real and I don’t like having to do it.

    1. It’s the “Minnesota nice!” That’s the first thing I thought of when I started reading, hah. I’ve been talking a lot about this sort of thing in my Diversity class in school. The whole passive/passive-aggressive thing totally Midwestern! People are more blunt in other parts of the country. Funny, isn’t it? Cause I agree with you–there are times when you gotta be blunt, but honestly some things you just gotta let go and be a little passive, you know?

    1. umm, i totally understand. i am fairly outgoing and confident, but in a group of people i always prefer a quiet “side conversation” with a good friend (or even a new friend) rather than a large/loud group discussion.

      yeah, i’m also from kansas…its the midwestern politeness. often mistaken for passive. but its not.

      i hate it when i feel misunderstood at work. hope things get better for you!

    1. I think that people underestimate what it means to be a woman in the workplace. Sure, we have “equal rights” (cough cough..whatever) but the bottom line is that we TOTALLY fall into extremes, instead of ever being seen as a happy medium.

      As a woman in the workplace we are EITHER:

      Flirting or a Bizzo. There is no in between. If you are nice to people, you are flirting. If you keep the conversation COMPLETELY about work…you’re unfriendly and a bizzo.

      Passive and useless or a control freak: There is no in between here either.

      I hate it!

      Keep up the hard work Michelle! No one who has run the races you’ve run could possibly be passive! You have self discipline, commitment and stamina!

      : )

    1. I’m really passive too, so my boss always says in my review, “you need to be more of an advocate for yourself.” I just have difficulty speaking up in meetings with groups of people. But also, I don’t like to speak over other people which I think people mistake as passiveness….you’re right, it’s just nice!

    1. Wow… I had my review at work today and got the same feedback!! The people who double check our work all meet and write-up something on us for our yearly review, and the negative thing they came up with is that I am not confident! I guess I see why they wrote that, I mean the interaction I have with them is when I need help with something. So if I am at that point I am obviously not sure of what to do, I guess it comes off as not confident.

      Too weird that you posted on this same thing! I guess we do have a lot in common! šŸ™‚

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