Black Sunshine


Bad attitudes poison messages, businesses and relationships. Worse than a bad attitudes is a passive-aggressive bad attitude. Black Sunshine.

Black sunshine may come in the form of deceptive smiles, false appreciation, backhanded compliments, undermining rumors, and condescending offers of help.

Like all passive-aggressive behavior, black sunshine moves against others while pretending to be helpful or submissive. It is an attack disguised as help. It is manipulative and plays on the emotions of others.

Many people that project black sunshine honestly don’t know it. They may sincerely believe they are being helpful while being nice. Their own cognitive distortions filter out their behavior and filter out how it is seen by others.

If told of their behavior, they will likely defend it or deny it. They may even become (or act) offended, as if their so-called help is being rejected, questioned, or unappreciated. I see that aggressive response as black rain, a response meant to make others scatter, retreat, or seek shelter instead of a having healthy, open discussion.

This behavior and attitude is a huge barrier to effective communication and healthy relationships. If you are often offended that others will not accept your help, take a look at your reasons and expectations. If you are around others that are great examples of black sunshine or black rain, don’t repeat their behavior back. That just reinforces the problem for everyone. It is okay to have a healthy boundary. A polite and sincere “no” is professional and often very appropriate.

We should all offer to help others. If it is really genuine, it is done without expectation. A gift is not a gift if it has strings attached. If our offers are rejected or ignored, that’s fine. That is a choice recipients should be allowed to make. It will only be offensive to the giver if they decide to make it personal. Warm sunshine beams down only with the gift of light. What does your sunshine feel like?

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About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.