Being naturally passive can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on the situation you find yourself in…
…and how extreme your passivity is!
How passive you are is determined by your personality type, what you feel you’re entitled to, and how you see the world, the people around you, and where you fit into that picture.
In some situations, passivity can be a plus, as it means that you’re able to cope better with stress, without getting overly emotionally involved and allowing it to affect you.
Passiveness is also associated with niceness, tolerance, and calmness – traits many people could do with a bit more of in this crazy world of ours.
However, when passivity becomes your default setting, it can start to have a negative effect on your life.
There are times when it’s important to be proactive and assertive. Times when you need to take the reins, make things happen in your life, and not just sit back and let them happen to you.
If you’re always passive, you run the risk of living your life like you’re the supporting actor, not the star of the film.
What’s more, just because you’re naturally passive, it doesn’t mean you don’t feel anger or sadness; you just suppress them.
They don’t just magically disappear, but will bubble below the surface and can cause resentment or an explosion further down the line.
It can be difficult for you to objectively judge whether or not you are, or have become, a passive person. Whilst it may be blindingly obvious to those around you, if it’s your automatic setting, it can be tough for you to pick up on.
If you think you might be a passive person, this list of typical traits should help you to decide for sure.
1. You Never Take Charge
A passive person is never going to be group leader. On a trip, you won’t be the one holding the map or deciding on the plan for the day. Nor will you offer your opinion on whether or not a particular eatery would be a good spot to stop for a quick bite.
When asked what you prefer, you’ll be the one who says you don’t mind, or would rather that everyone else decides.
You’re not just pretending to not mind either; you genuinely have no preference, or don’t think that your views matter at all.
For a non-passive person looking for an opinion or input, this can be infuriating.
2. You Don’t Value Your Own Opinion
You don’t think that your opinion on something, no matter how well-informed you are on the topic, is something that would interest anyone else or is worth voicing.
When you do offer your opinion, you qualify it by starting with “I’m probably wrong…,” or words to that effect. This guarantees that people are far less likely to agree with you or take your views seriously than they would have otherwise been.
3. You Parrot
As you’re not confident in your own opinion, you find the opinions of your partner, family, or best friends coming out of your mouth, even if you don’t entirely agree with them.
4. You’d Do Anything For A Quiet Life
There may be times when your inner voice tells you that you should speak up about something, but you just can’t bring yourself to make trouble.
You prefer a simple, easy life and take the path of least resistance, rather than risk sticking your head above the parapet.
5. You Leave Things Up To Fate
You like to believe that your future is already planned out for you, so there’s no point struggling against, or for something.
You don’t believe that your actions can change the course of your life, so you just sit back and let things happen to you.
When you fail at something, you just accept that it wasn’t meant to be, rather learning from it and giving it another shot.
You have a really hard time saying no to anything anyone asks of you, even if it really puts you out or has a negative effect on you.
You’d rather keep others happy than risk inconveniencing them or annoying them, and you rank your needs as less important than theirs.
7. You Believe In Luck
You don’t think that success is down to hard work and commitment. You think it’s left up to the luck of the draw.
If something goes wrong, you chalk it up to it just not being your lucky day, rather than looking at where you might have gone wrong and considering how you could tweak things to get a different result next time around.
8. You Qualify Your Speech
You don’t speak directly; you beat around the bush. You’re all about the “oh right, well, I suppose that could be true, maybe.”
You hesitate when you talk, reluctant to get to the point or make anyone think that you’re confident in your opinion.
Given you lack confidence in what you’ve got to say, you don’t shout about it. You speak quietly, and often tail off toward the end of a sentence.
This communicates to everyone around you that you don’t consider what you have to say to be important enough for them to listen to.
10. You Avoid Committing If You Possibly Can
If there are options for you to decide between and you need to pick a lane, you hesitate between them for as long as possible, saying they both have their plus points and hoping that someone else will make the decision so you don’t have to.
11. You Struggle To Make Big Life Decisions
You’re not used to making small decisions on a daily basis, so you have a really tough time when it comes to deciding the big stuff. You wait for things to come to you, rather than going out and seeking opportunities in life.
Romantically, you fall into relationships rather than actively deciding to be in them, and you let your partner dictate the speed at which things move.
12. You Stay In Your Comfort Zone
You don’t go seeking the excitement and adrenaline of new experiences. You’re quite happy living within the confines of your comfort zone, even if you’re aware that you’re stagnating there.
Are You A Passive Person?
If you identify with one or even all of these traits, there’s no need to panic. Being passive is a positive thing in many situations, as long as you don’t let it dominate your life.
Katie splits her time between writing and translation. She writes about travel and self-care and never stays in one place for too long. She’s currently based in beautiful Cornwall, England, after long stints in Brazil and Mexico. She spends her free time trail running, exploring and devouring vegan food.