Five Signs You Are Too Passive

Have you ever wondered if you are being too passive at work and/or in life? Some people are simply more passive by nature. That is the way they are naturally wired. Others are only passive in certain situations. Sometimes, it is when they are in a new environment or in the presence of someone who they feel intimated by or nervous when around them. Many people confuse being passive with being nice, humble, and being well-liked. However, it is possible to have those attractive traits without being passive. Passivity itself is not usually an attractive trait.

Following are five signs you are being too passive:

  1. You do not take the initiative. When you don’t take initiative, it means you are not the one doing the choosing. Instead, others are doing the choosing for you. I worked with a client who was highly skilled and respected in a specific industry, however, she wanted to branch out of that industry. Instead of taking the initiative, she kept getting offers and invitations to work at companies in her existing industry. They were choosing her, rather than her choosing something else. I have talked with many adults who stay in their same social circles, even though they are not serving them anymore. Although they would rather branch out to other social circles, because they do not take the initiative, their current friends are choosing them.
  2. You do not want to make a decision. You may be so agreeable that you are good with others making decisions about what to do and where to go. Some people do this to be “nice” and “easy to get along with.” However, if you never take a stand to make a decision, people can get frustrated. Many times, they want you to say what you really want. They will respect you for that.
  3. You avoid conflict at all costs. Very few personality styles feel comfortable dealing with conflict; however, others know that they need to handle it when needed. When you avoid it, it reveals to others that you are not being true to yourself, and you will never be seen as a leader. Remember, conflict does not magically disappear when avoided.
  4. You apologize a lot. You find yourself apologizing for things that you don’t need to apologize for. If an apology is truly needed, then yes, apologize. But if not, don’t apologize! It can make you appear weak and passive. Some people apologize frequently out of habit. Start being more self-aware of when you apologize and ask yourself, “did I really need to apologize for this?”
  5. You wonder if you are being too passive. If you wonder this, then you probably are! You have a little voice inside of your head that is telling you what you need to know. You may be passive because you fear that if you speak up more you will be seen as aggressive. However, remember that it is very possible to be nice and be respected without being passive.

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