The whole point of an argument is battling two rival opinions. Conflict may sometimes be infuriating, scary, or just plain messy, but if you choose not to participate in a battle of words, your only other option is to shut up. There is no in between. Well, there is, but it’s this bullshit known as passive-agressiveness.
We’ve all been there. We have been sitting nonchalantly in our living rooms, watching tv and laughing riotously at the shitty dialogue. We have been minding our own lovely business, and then it happens. Someone walks by and mutters something offhandedly.
“By the way, I did all of those dishes that were in the sink… for a week.”
Then this cantankerous ninja disappears into the night like Bruce Wayne in his snazzy little rubber suit. Apparently, that’s that. Normally we’re left in a kind of “What the hell, man? I’m just trying to watch this same rerun of ‘Yes, Dear’ for the 50th time in peace!” state, because really, what the hell, man?
If you have a complaint to file, file that motherfucker. If you don’t think your plight is important enough to address, shove that shit down in your psyche or just plain forget it. Don’t, however, find a way to say something without really saying anything. The results will yield little if any progress in your predicament.
I’ve run into PA’s often: my downstairs neighbors in college, some old roommates, a few friends ex friends, and of course, strangers everywhere, everyday. I’ve observed through these unfortunate incidents that there are two kinds of passive-aggressors. They’re both equally annoying, not to mention completely incapable of actually communicating their qualms.
There are the passive folk, who are just scared to hurt anyone’s feelings or fight with a friend/enemy/frenemy/etc. When these guys come out with a “No, it’s fine, I’ll just take out the garbage again,” it’s because they will never have the balls to simply ask someone to do something.
On the other hand, there are the agressive assholes who simply find some sick pleasure in being a dick without really being a dick. You know those chumps on the highway who go 10 below the speed limit, then speed up as soon as you try to pass them? Yeah, those guys.
These classes of PA’s wear different suits, but they share a distinct shade of cowardice when faced with contention. They come from different backgrounds, but elect to confront people in the same not-quite-but-sorta confrontational way.
In the end, none of us can change the behavior of a PA. I know it’s hard to accept that we can’t force this annoying trait out of people, but we can choose not to placate them by being honest. Let’s look past these bastards in true passiveness or let us unleash our fury upon them in actual aggressiveness.
*In order to be completely un-PA in this message, I must disclaim that there are multiple people I had in mind while writing this. It is to no one in particular, but if you’ve ever been a big ol’ PA to me, you can bet your sweet ass this is about you. See? Honesty. Not too shabby, eh?