Advanced search

to not want to play the game...

(19 Posts)
silvercrate Fri 15-Feb-19 09:56:21

When you meet someone who is always trying to gain the upper hand in a conversation and chooses to blank you when they see you when you're on your own, but then absolutely fine in a group. Lots of passive aggressive behaviour, how do you respond? I try to be myself and not the behvaiour affect me and ignore it. But I end up feeling verbally battered and bruised by the passive insults and digs that come my way. I try to keep ignoring them but wonder if there is a better way?

I've seen other people handle these kind of people in a more aggressive, confrontational way and they seem to end up with the 'upper hand' and come off so much better. Jo Brand said the other day on the radio, just ask them to repeat themselves. They'll feel embarrassed or ask them if what they said really meant to come across as so offensive. But this must require so much effort and I just don't want to play these games. Do I just walk away, tail between my legs and go back for round 2 the next day? Or is there a better way of dealing with it. I can't go NC, it's someone at work so I have to see them most days.

CallipygianFancier Fri 15-Feb-19 10:17:31

I generally talk to them as you would a disobedient small child or stroppy terrier.

Highheels1 Fri 15-Feb-19 10:48:27

It’s frustrating to deal with people like that - sounds hard to NC if you work together but if I were you I’d stop passively ignoring it as it is essentially permitting the behaviour.
It could be argued that by not being more true to yourself ie not actually happy being treated like this, is a harder “game” to play as you are allowing this person to continue to lord over you. They will respect you less the longer it goes on.

I would be professional and polite at work. Be too busy to engage in conversations with her wherever possible. Any time the passive aggressive/snide comments/upper hand comments happen I would probably make a point, each time, of pulling her up on it - somehow stopping the her flow depending on context either by a silent slow side eye with raised eyebrow and a bemused expression asking for clarification, brushing it off by actually laughing to myself or at her (trying but not hard to make it with her)

Try not to let her get to you - either accept this is how she treats you and allow it, or draw a line in the sand and start calling her out - it doesn’t need to be confrontational; saying “right” and a confident dignified silence to oneupmanship or a withering facial expression can be far more effective against

Talk to your close friends too xx good luck

silvercrate Mon 18-Feb-19 16:39:47

Thanks @Highheels1 this sounds like great advice and you sound like a lovely person to be friends with! I wish I could do these things but I'm just too slow to know what to say when it happens. I'll try the things you suggest though because you're right I can't keep permitting the behaviour. I'll report back on how I get on! Thanks again

doctorfrog Mon 18-Feb-19 17:04:06

I can't think of snappy comebacks either but as a teenager I taught myself how to raise one eyebrow which is almost as effective.

In all seriousness if it's at work you can't win by arguing; someone like this will find a way to turn it back against you and next thing you know you look unhinged and everyone else is sympathising with them over your total overreaction.

You win by looking professional in the face of their wildly inappropriate behaviour, which means rising above it with a slightly patronising smile. I personally get politer (and for some reason posher) the ruder they get. No one has ever in the history of the world been pulled up at work for being too polite.

An added bonus of doing this is that sometimes it winds them up so far that they snap and look ridiculous, but even if it doesn't come to that you still have the very visible moral high ground.

silvercrate Mon 18-Feb-19 19:31:34

Agreed @doctorfrog I think disapproval needs to be shown somehow to call them out even if it's just with a facial expression. I'm so used to agreeing and going yeah yeah haha but inside thinking HOW DARE YOU SAY THAT! I've got to put more effort in but really don't want to engage in tactics that consume my thinking while I'm having the conversation Needs must I suppose and if that's what everyone else does I probably need to step it up.

YeahYeahYeahFineWhatever Mon 18-Feb-19 19:38:58

Just practice a few “standard” responses. A raised eyebrow is good, or a “oh right” or “d’you think so, ok”
Once you get good at it you could build up to the mumsnet gold standard of “did you mean to be so rude?”

ineedaknittedhat Mon 18-Feb-19 20:07:22

A raised eyebrow and saying "is that right?" slowly, in a cynical and disbelieving tone can work wonders.

Highheels1 Fri 22-Feb-19 00:06:03

Hey silvercrate 🙂 how is it going?

You sound like a lovely person - it’s so easy to go along with things in this situ esp if there is an “alternate reality” outside of work where things are so different... really hard to navigate when their behaviour is so different. If you consistently subtlety acknowledge the uncomfortableness when they make you feel uncomfortable then it will them look/feel like the arse they are being and hopefully change/stop.

Hope you’re spinning out a raised eyebrow when needed! Xx hmm wink

Treaclesweet Fri 22-Feb-19 00:12:39

If you can think of it in the moment "Wow, you must be really embarrassed to have said that" is good.

GreenTulips Fri 22-Feb-19 00:19:31

You seethese people think they are quick and clever and quite often don’t hear the things they say and their brain has moved on to the next out down

So by repeating what they’ve said in the tone they said it actually stops their brains working and it becomes awkward for them to find an answer to their own question


Hey X youre always late for work!
You repeat I’m always late for work?
Now they have to quantify their observation and they won’t be able to

Try it, it’s quite surprising

ShadyLady53 Fri 22-Feb-19 00:22:46

I have no answers sorry! Watching with interest though as my Line Manager is currently doing this to me so mega awkward!!

NoShitHemlock Fri 22-Feb-19 00:32:25

One of my preferred responses to arseholes at work is laughter - actually laughing in their faces. I find it particularly useful when someone is really angry - laughter causes their faces to turn many, many different shades of red and it really is most amusing. And then I sashy walk away

But then I am a PA bitch grin - I just dont enjoy verbal confrontation

Other than that, I am in total agreement with PP above about the eyebrow.

safariboot Fri 22-Feb-19 00:40:37

I lost the game.


miltonroad Fri 22-Feb-19 00:48:26

I just lost the game too 😕😂

HennyPennyHorror Fri 22-Feb-19 00:53:03

I encountered one of these last year. I started openly laughing at her...she'd say something or do something bitchy..think handing me a piece of rubbish and pointing at the bin type of thing or not answering a question I'd asked.

I took to laughing openly at her...she ended up getting sacked because I told everyone what she was doing.

Italiangreyhound Fri 22-Feb-19 01:51:49


"One of my preferred responses to arseholes at work is laughter..."

That's interesting. Tonight I watched, "Sleeping with the Far Right"

At one point (39 minutes in) the presenter laughs, and I felt it was a quite good way to deal with the stupid comments from the guy she was interviewing/shadowing.

Italiangreyhound Fri 22-Feb-19 01:58:22

Also at the end of the programme the idiot says something about how tough his life has been and she just says "you win." it's brilliant.

I'd say, less is more!

silvercrate Fri 08-Mar-19 16:42:05

Hey thanks everyone! I have tried the eyebrow once so far @highheels1 and it seemed to stop her for a second or two. Will keep practicing! I do have to remind myself to get in the right frame of mind before talking to her because I always go in with the attitude just be genuine and your usual self and it will be ok. But no, I'm always on the back foot. That's why I just can't be bothered to play the game, it really takes a lot of brain power!

I love the repeating back idea @greentulips, that's one to try for sure. It's things like I mentioned how my dd is going through a period of anxiety and she replies and says oh well in my experience it's usually down to the parents etc. I reply and say I hope you don't think that about me haha and she says no of course not! But she does! It's not just being tactless. I just don't know how to handle those kind of comments it's so draining.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »