The Daily Man-Up: Passive is The New Agressive: Some Thoughts on Power

July 9, 2018 | No Comments » | Topics: Man-Up

*Your neighbor starts building a fence, waking you up every day for a week at six AM.  Instead of confronting him about it face-to-face you write an email to the homeowner’s association.

*You disagree with your pastor’s decision making.  Instead of asking him to meet with you to discuss it, you rally a posse to your cause without his knowledge to “confront him” at the next elder meeting.

*You give a friend a ride to the airport, expecting payback in the near future.  You don’t tell him about the expectation, and when he doesn’t offer any payback on his own, you become resentful.

*A long-time friend offends you by cancelling a hang session.  Instead of telling him how you feel, you just don’t contact him for months.

*A family member brings up a topic of conversation you don’t wish to discuss.  You look away and act awkward, making the other person feel uncomfortable, in order to reinforce the fact that such topics should not be referred to in your presence again.

*You meet a person who is particular position of influence in your industry.  In order to gain potential opportunities you pursue a friendship with the guy, who thinks you just enjoy hanging out with him.  When he gives you a good “lead” that you cash in on, you start spending less time with him.

I realized recently we have fallen into this mentality for a number of very specific reasons.  Cell phones and the internet have created a disconnected culture of texting and emailing.  Most of us are not great communicators to begin with, and the outlet of digital connection allows us to choose laziness and avoidance.  Also, many of us have parental wounds from dysfunctional families which taught us that our feelings do not matter.  And when your feelings don’t matter, you subconsciously resort to indirect means to get your needs met, because a straight line will not help you acquire what you desire.  “Guy code” also dictates that we don’t share our feelings, because that would expose us to potential rejection and shame-the two greatest evils to males.  In the wake of this, the deceptive/pleasing/avoidant approach is the only alternative in our minds.  Besides, who doesn’t want to be well-liked?  Who wants to be the confrontational bad-guy?

On the surface, avoidance and non-confrontational manipulation has its merits.  It helps you to escape from being at odds with people.  By playing the “pleaser” you can garner reciprocal “back-scratching” from coworkers and people you are networking with.  In relationships, it will help you get what you want without needing to have painful conversations.  But what is the cost?

When you look a little deeper, It turns out the “Ol’ Palpy” approach to life is expensive.  Much more expensive than the payoffs, or the alternative, in fact.  First, avoiding conflict never extinguishes conflict.  It only delays it.  And in being avoidant you actually inflame the issue at hand, so that when it comes to the surface, the situation becomes more dramatic than it needs to be.  Second, “pleasing” always breeds resentment.  The yes-man always feels ripped off because his true feelings are never heard.  And the people being manipulated always feel cheated because they feel like they never have a choice in the matter at hand.  Third, passive/avoidant types usually have bad tempers.  This is because a) their feelings are always bottled up, and b) they become trapped in situations they can’t get out of because they don’t want to step on any toes.  Fourth, this type of guy usually ends up feeling isolated.  When your goal is to avoid conflict you can hardly ever connect to anyone deeply-because that would require a level of vulnerability that is uncomfortable and risky.  Also, “nice guys” tend to be anxious, because they spend so much energy on trying to make everyone around them happy.

The ultimate casualties in the equation are our courage, and ultimately, our character.  The guy who avoids conflict and resorts to manipulation to get what he wants is afraid he can’t get it any other way.  It’s impossible not to become a deceiver when you live this way, and in dishonesty there cannot reside respect or integrity.  The net effect is a new breed of men who have no inherent power outside of the shadows.

Fellas, it’s time we learn to take our power back, and in the process restore our lost courage, confidence, and character.

Check out the rest of the article here