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Satire: How to Be Passive Aggressive

A Beginner’s Guide to Passive-Aggressiveness

Sivan Livnat

Prepare to learn more about how to subtly insult people and express your feelings, but in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. Whether communicating with a peer who has not done their part of the group project or a teacher who just will not grade your essay from three weeks ago, passive-aggressiveness will help you communicate in an unhealthy way.

When engaging in passive-aggressiveness, the most important point to remember is that you want to be as brusque as possible while also maintaining an air of faux-politeness. This combination helps ensure that your target is visibly uncomfortable from the malapert accusation while also unable to air any concerns because of the feigned couth. 

When should you be passive-aggressive? The best times to be passive-aggressive are when you need or want something from someone, but you want them to appease your needs before you vocalize them. Because of this, to master passive-aggressiveness, you must assume that the person to whom you are conveying your passive aggressiveness knows what you want. 

A quick tip to be passive-aggressive without much planning is to give a false dichotomy. A false dichotomy is when someone claims that a situation is either/or, as in, there are only two options when there are, in fact, more. For example, let’s say you want to passive-aggressively convince your friends to come to your birthday party. To employ a false dichotomy, you could say, “Either come to my birthday party, or never talk to me again.” This makes them feel guilty, even though those clearly are not the only two options.

And if you are stuck in a rut while texting and need to be passive-aggressive, look no further than ellipses. The “…” will stress out and confuse the person on the other side. The best way to employ this is by ending a text with ellipses, for example, texting someone, “When you get the chance, text me…” The ellipses put an uncomfortable, straining emphasis on the text, making it primely passive-aggressive. This is best used when asking questions, such as, “Hey, are you okay…” but also works in nearly every other situation. And remember, when it comes to ellipses, the more the better.

To truly grasp how to be passive-aggressive, you must always keep one thing in mind: assume the person knows what you want and is withholding from you on purpose. With that thought at the top of your head, you can display your reticence and place the burden of comprehending what you really want on the receiver. 

Another way to convey passive-aggressiveness is to be in a “mood” for the sole purpose of getting your message across. For example, if you are upset that your friend did not do their part in your group project, you could sulk all day specifically around them, making them cognizant that it is their fault you feel that way; just make sure not to verbalize why you’re upset to keep them in the dark. That way, you do not have to say anything, but they hear you loud and clear. Just remember that if they ask you why you are upset or if you are okay, you must not tell them the true reason why (it would ruin the passive part of passive aggression!). 

To sum up, mastering passive-aggressiveness is all about pinning the blame on the receiver while also making it seem that you are not actually doing anything. It is a game of subterfuge and of deceit. But be warned, passive-aggressiveness is a dangerous tool. In the wrong hands, it can lead to horrible, heinous things. Make sure not to overuse it, and be aware of when you employ it. 

I hope you understand this by now. I have spent so long trying to explain it to you. Maybe you just are not up to learning today. It isn’t me, it’s you. Do you understand what’s happening yet or do I need to spell it out for you? Come on… This is taking too long.

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