Personally I'm Not Really Into Passive Aggression, But You Probably Love It

I hate a lot of things -- spiders, bad drivers, weak tea, no wine, animal cruelty, bad 90s tattoos, How I Met Your Mother -- but one thing I cannot stand is passive aggression.

Look, you may love it, of course. And that's OK. That may just be the kind of person you are...

It's SO maddening.

I once had a boss who was the master of passive aggression. The kind of woman who would ask you to do something, and then if you asked her a question about said request would say, "Oh look I'll do it if it's too much trouble," to which  -- we all know -- there is no answer.


A friend, who shall remain nameless, has been known to say things like, "I can't eat this much lunch, but -- of course -- you can."

And she's right, I can. Of course. But I really don't need her to tell me that.

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Another coworker is a fan of the wishful aggression. By that I mean this. "I would love to be able to come to lunch with all of you fun people, but some of us have work to finish this afternoon."

No matter that you have worked back to finish your projects in order to head out to lunch with Jane from Accounts who is leaving to have a baby, and you don't really know her but thought it was the right thing to do...

I know someone who, when they came to my small apartment once, told me it was "just so cute and shabby chic."

F*** you too, I thought, as I tried to snap back with my own PassAgg comment.

"I guess I just don't need as much room as some people," I said, patting myself on the back for a jibe I would never normally make.

"Oh, well, I guess not," she said, looking around my cramped and crowded living room filled with stuff.


And there are so many more behaviours to choose from in the PassAgg repertoire. There's the one where -- oh, how I love this -- someone doesn't invite you to a meeting, and then doesn't "quite know how that happened". Classic PassAgg. Check that one too when the work drinks roll around and you stumble into a bunch of colleagues at the bar all being shouted drinks by the boss. While you "looked too busy to pop out."

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Or the old classic -- the "I must have lost the invitation" trick, when they don't want to turn up to something, and so just pretend they didn't know.  Ooh, yeah, that's a good one.

Or the same boss as before, who managed to passive-aggressively "protect" me from the "dark forces" of upper management at work. "I can understand why you’d see things that way," she told me when I asked why something was taking a while to sort out, "but there are more factors to consider that you wouldn’t know about from your position.”

FROM YOUR POSITION. Under me. You loser. Is the implied PassAgg message there.

I've had enough of it, I'm going full Agg. Less Pass.

You want me to come to your party?  None of this, "I'd love to come but I'm afraid I will still be at the office  -- someone needs to do some work, but you enjoy yourself," crap.

"No thanks, I'd rather stick a fork in my eye than come to your McMansion, and by the way, your husband's a creep."

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Ask me what I think about your new hairstyle. No "cute and it doesn't really look like you had much cut off," for me.

"I think it's too long for your face."

Tell me you can't eat that much lunch.

"I'll take yours too, then."

Feature image: Getty