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The irony of passiveness

I quite like the Apple dictionary (v2.2.3) description of passive which is "accepting or allowing what happens or what others do, without active response or resistance…" But what I really wanted to highlight was the interesting combination of possible messages that can be communicated though passive behaviour.
It can simply communicate that I don't care about what is going on. Or say that I agree with what is happening and have nothing to really add. This of course is a reasonable situation to be in. But it can also be a response to fear, meaning I do not want to express my own wants and needs for some reason. I do not agree with what is occurring but am not prepared to communicate this. In this instance the situation is unreasonable because for some reason, I am not prepared to stand up to protect and have mine or someone else's rights respected.

It can be difficult to work out when observing others behaviour, the difference between simply not caring and caring but not being prepared to stand up and say so. Unfortunate both cases still make the same statement when passive behaviour is used. Both communicate whatever is happening is okay by me. We seem to default to thinking that unless people say or do something this means they agree.

This is where the irony of being passive comes from. It tends to communicate our agreement even when we don't and people tend to think by being passive we are not sending any message when we are. What this means for dealing with behaviour is that we need to be sure passiveness is due to actual agreement or simply not caring. When passiveness is due to some other influence like fear, we need to help assert and respect everyones rights.
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