Monday, February 22, 2010

Dealing with passive-aggression

Sometime in late August 2008 I found a whiteboard sitting on the side of the road. It was a giant whiteboard. I needed one of my roommates to help me carry it home. We put it in the kitchen. Unfortunately whiteboards attract the nefarious, ever waiting, and continually irritating passive aggressive note.

It might have happened anyhow. Maybe we would have ended up with all sorts of stickies everywhere. But this made it very easy.

Ever since that day my household has worked on dealing with passive-aggressive note issues. Our house is too small for 5 people so it is hard to avoid space issues and respect the common areas in a way that everyone thinks of as respectful.

I look at passive-aggression as a form of bullying. You make the other person feel guilty and incompetent so that you have power over them and so that you can control them and make them behave like yourself. The problem is that people do not like to be controlled. As such they will attempt to fight back. It gets even worse if they continue to bully. The problem with passive-aggression, like other types of bullying, is that it is hard to recognize. Unless you know the signs you will not realize that the person leaving you a friendly little note full of smiles and hearts is actually attacking you. Recognizing passive-aggression for what it is helps. As such when our resident psychology-turned-philosophy. student moved in she labeled half the board as an area in which to write passive-aggressive notes. Whenever our friends come over we teach them how to be passive-aggressive. Making it into a game or a joke helps both victims of passive-aggression and victims of the desire to be passive aggressive realise what is happening and attempt to prevent it, or maybe it was just funny.

Happily we no longer get notes like the above imaged, but that  has less to do with us and more to do with no longer living with crazy people.

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