A Wolf’s Comment In Sheep’s Clothing

Opinions phrased as questions are passive aggressive tactics doomed to create bad feelings (#14/101 Imperfect Phrases book excerpt)

Examples of “Don’t You Realize…” A ‘Question’ That Is Passive-Aggressive

Don’t you realize how stupid you look in that outfit?

Don’t you realize that you are acting like a fool when you…

Don’t you realize that you are making a bad first impression at interviews because of the clothes you wear?


The “don’t you realize” phrase is a double whammy, since it suggests that the person is oblivious and “less than” because he or she doesn’t “get” the impact of what is being done.

The second whammy? What comes after the “don’t you realize” phrase. Usually, it’s not a GOOD thing the person is unaware of.

The negative impact is doubled, and the recipient has more to be embarrassed about.

In addition, the phrasing suggests a “one up — one down” situation, since YOU realize it, and you are pointing out the other person is not getting it.

Make It Better:

Take ownership of your observation and offer it as an opinion, NOT a fact. For example:

It’s just my opinion, but I don’t think that outfit flatters you as much as the green one.

You might want to consider whether your clothes are sending the wrong impression when you go to a job interview. It’s up to you, but I think companies look at that kind of thing.

Originally published at relationships911.org.



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