“It’s Fine” is the most passive aggressive phrase in the English language and it’s the embodiment of a virus that floods modern day America. It’s also known as being a dick.
Five years ago, I was in Jacksonville, North Carolina working with three members of the Hungarian Army. We were training together and I had volunteered to escort them around the Marine Corps base for the next few months. As to be expected, I often found myself teaching more about American culture than anything else.
Their English was pretty good, and besides the thick soviet block accent, you could almost forget they weren’t straight out of a James Bond movie.
One of the many English nuances that came up was “It’s fine”. They used it constantly, and being relatively confident they had no idea how we typically use the phrase, I found it mildly entertaining.
A couple of weeks in, I brought it up after a few drinks and they were stunned. “What do you mean it doesn’t mean everything is good?”, Andre asked. I, stumbling to find the right words (alcohol and my poor understanding of the English language synergizing), said “I mean it does, it just also means, it’s not good”.
Now, he and his buddies are completely baffled and find this rather hilarious. Inevitably leading to more drinking.
It soon developed into an inside joke that continued for the next few months. Andre’s first response back, “why wouldn’t you just say you don’t like it?”. Just like that, calling B.S. on the whole concept.
Whether it’s your boss, or your spouse, or someone you’re trying to please. Don’t say it’s fine. Saying “it’s fine” destroys communication, confuses everyone, and makes the user an A**.
It’s ok to say things suck. The world doesn’t have to be rosy and not everything has to be fine.
People’s passive aggressiveness exposes the weakness in their character. It tells people that they can’t handle basic interactions and more importantly makes them waste everyone’s time.
Be a part of the solution, stop being passive aggressive. Stand up for who you are and what you represent, and make the world a better place. If you don’t like something, do yourself and your listener a favor. Just speak the truth.