It’s distressing to know that someone is upset with you. It’s even more distressing when they’re not open about it.
They might put up a charming façade, but their malicious feelings still come through via coldness or passive-aggressive comments.
The tricky thing is figuring out what’s really bothering them.
If someone uses these 8 phrases, they hold a grudge against you.
It might be time to address the underlying issue head-on.
1) It’s no big deal.
When you offend or disappoint someone, they might initially brush it off.
In fact, that’s how grudges are born.
You say or do something dumb without realizing that the other person takes your mishap harder than they appear to.
You can admit you made a mistake and apologize, but the harm has already been done.
And the more the other person thinks about it, the more upset they get.
While you’re under the assumption that everything is fine, they keep going over the interaction and silently fuming.
Before you know it, they begin to distance themselves from you.
Which brings me to the next point on the list.
2) Sorry, I can’t make it.
If someone keeps canceling plans with you or downright refuses to make them, they’re probably holding a grudge against you.
People need time to sort through their feelings, and they often do this by keeping their distance. Feeling hurt might push them to lay low for a while and avoid you.
Since you don’t know that something is wrong, you keep reaching out, but your efforts to connect fail miserably.
This is usually when you begin to wonder if your actions were more harmful than you initially assessed.
3) You always need to be right, don’t you?
Sometimes, the hurt party can’t physically distance themselves from you.
Perhaps you work together. Or perhaps they’re a partner, friend, or family member.
If it’s the latter, they likely still care about you deeply, so they may attempt to bury their hurt feelings in an effort to keep the relationship on good terms.
However, their anguish still manifests indirectly – usually via sarcasm or passive-aggressive comments.
As they continue to rehash what happened, their indignation grows, so they lash out at you at the weirdest moments.
Lingering feelings of resentment have a lasting impact on a person’s thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
If someone snaps at you for no good reason, there might be something deeper going on.
4) Wow, it must be nice to always be the center of attention.
Similarly, if a person holds a grudge against you, they might criticize you via subtle jabs.
They mask the criticism with humor or casualness, but it doesn’t hurt any less.
If you call them out on it and they’re not ready to talk about what’s really bothering them, they’ll say you’re taking their comments too seriously.
Over time, these jabs have a negative impact on both you and the person who is holding on to resentment. Your relationship will continue to suffer.
On one hand, you’ll be confused about what’s prompting them to be so hostile. On the other, they’ll continue to be secretly upset with you.
In this scenario, no one wins.
5) You wouldn’t understand. You never do.
Holding a grudge involves being unable to let go of anger about a past event.
More often than not, this perpetuating anger makes the person see the one who wronged them in a less flattering light and make negative assumptions about their behavior.
I went through something like this with one of my cousins. She was experiencing difficulties with her partner, and I tried to console her.
Her reaction? She began to rant about how I should stop telling her that I understood how she was feeling because I never did.
Turns out, she was holding a grudge about an incident from years before.
While she never openly acknowledged it, it made her think of me as ignorant and of herself as misunderstood.
She held on to this assumption so tightly that, with time, it became true.
She stopped opening up to me, so I was indeed ignorant. It’s hard to understand how someone feels when they’re not honest with you.
6) Ugh, that’s so annoying!
When you’re upset with someone, everything they do suddenly becomes irritating.
If a person previously engaged with you positively but has now started to act differently, it could be a signal that they’re holding a grudge.
Their saying they find you or your actions annoying is a clear sign that something has changed between you.
In some cases, however, they might express their irritation in less obvious ways:
- They interrupt or talk over you
- They appear disinterested in everything you say
- Their body language is hostile (eye rolls, avoiding eye contact, crossing their arms)
- They take longer than usual to respond to your messages or requests
- They keep interactions with you limited and to the point
7) You’re so wrong!
Alternatively, the person holding a grudge might contradict you at every turn.
It’s their smoldering anger talking.
While they feel the need to confront you, they don’t want to address the problem they have with you directly.
So, they adopt an opinion or belief they know you disagree with just to get a rise out of you.
Let’s say you’re talking about your favorite movie. You know the other person likes the movie too, but they unexpectedly begin to bash it, saying it hasn’t aged well. Oh, and now that they think about it, the acting sucks too.
It’s childish, but resentment can make people say the weirdest things.
8) Can we talk?
Finally, the person holding a grudge against you might eventually want to talk things out.
They realize the grudge is unproductive and want to let go of it, so they reach out and start a conversation.
This is an excellent sign, as it shows that the person is still interested in having a relationship with you despite harboring negative feelings for so long.
Otherwise, they would continue to distance themselves until they become someone you used to know.
Resolving a grudge takes time. Don’t expect instant results.
Be patient and consistent in your efforts to fix the broken trust, but don’t let the person’s erratic behavior impact your well-being.
If you already apologized for the part you played in the disagreement, it may be more productive to give the person space.
Everyone has to process events in their own time.
Hopefully, you can eventually reconcile – and your relationship will be that much stronger for it.