but…but…that’s not really passive-aggressive!

um, yeah. we know.

for the purposes of this project, we’re using a pretty broad (and to some extent, arbitrary) definition of “passive-aggressive” — one that roughly correlates with how the term is popularly used. (most people don’t go diving for the dsm IV when someone describes his or her roommate as “so passive-aggressive” — or “so antisocial” or “so sadistic” or “so schizo,” for that matter.)

some of the notes here are really more aggressive, and some of them are just plain passive, but they all share a common sense of frustration that’s been channeled into a written note rather than a face-to-face confrontation.

while it may be more accurate, “asshole-ish notes from roommates, neighbors, coworkers and strangers” just doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as easily, you know?

14 responses to “but…but…that’s not really passive-aggressive!

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS! I feel the need to submit my own. Hmmmmmmmm…….

  2. “all share a common sense of frustration that’s been channeled into a written note rather than a physical confrontation.”

    Much healthier…lol.

  3. Are you saying that it’s worse to leave notes asking someone to not be an asshole, than to actually *be* an asshole?

  4. blinkety-blink

    You’re seriously using the “urban dictionary” for your definition of “passive aggressive”?

    If so, any objection noted on this Web page is passive aggressive, because we haven’t walked up to you and told you the absurdity of that definition.

    You don’t need DSMIV to define passive-aggressive. Nor do you need it to differentiate between “passive aggressive” and “passive assertive.”

    Passive aggressive is leaving an Ex-lax pill powder (or worse) in food that might get eaten by your roommate and not saying a damn thing about it. Passive assertive is writing a note saying you’d appreciate them not eating your food.

  5. God, cranksters. PA is *not* poisoning a roommate. PA is being mad at someone but being “nice” so that they’re (hopefully) emotionally manipulated into doing what you want *and* not able to be mad at you. It’s not asking directly. Leaving notes, especially for roommates or neighbors to whom you could easily speak in person, is inherently PA.

    So there.

  6. Being passive-aggressive means that you’re being aggressive by *being passive* i.e. by *not* doing something which you would or should normally do. For example, you’re pissed at your roommate, so you stop taking out the trash, or you fail to tell them that they’ve got dog poop on their jeans, or that their girlfriend found out that they’re cheating on her. As soon as you actually complain about the thing that is pissing you off, you’re no longer in passive aggressive territory — you’re just being aggressive in a very wimpy, non-confrontational way.

  7. Fking brilliant site. I’ll be back!

  8. i gotta agree with the others that you’re seriously misusing the term “passive-aggressive”. snippy notes: yes. rude notes: yes. passive aggressive notes: not so much.

    it’s a doggy dog world. i could care less, really. i hope i’m not being too hand fisted, here. i think that the proof is in the pudding.

  9. @bitchphd: i disagree that leaving notes is inherently PA because a note may be politely written, signed (instead of anonymous), and address the issue directly. that would not be passive aggressive.

    from wikipedia:

    Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance to following authoritative instructions in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness, or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is assumed, often explicitly, to be responsible. It is a defensive posture and, more often than not, only partly conscious. For example, people who are passive-aggressive might take so long to get ready for a party they do not wish to attend, that the party is nearly over by the time they arrive.

  10. The folks engaged in the original behaviour are prolly more passive-aggressive than the note-leavers, especially if they express concern/surprise at their victim’s concern/surprise. E.g.:

    Housemate A eats/steals/whatevers Housemate B’s stuff
    Housemate B protests
    Housemate A: *shrugs, raises eyebrows* ‘Chill, dude’ *continues behaviour*
    Housemate B leaves polite note
    Housemate A posts it to blog

    It’s Housemate A that is knowingly engaging in passive-aggressive behaviour, and then acting all surprised and innocent when this behaviour is pointed out, and indeed A projects their own behaviour on to B as a defence.

  11. Can everyone stop pretending to be so smart for a couple minutes and just focus on the fact that these notes are funny, whether they or not they fit your own personal poindexter’s definition of passive-agressiveness?

  12. wait–did someone up there say, “it’s a doggy dog world”?

    thanks for that one…

  13. Uh, Jared, you did notice that all of them were off, and obviously deliberate, didn’t you? Even the universally borked “proof is in the pudding” is supposed to be “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

  14. Leaving a note is passive-aggressive. Walking up and talking to the person about your problem when you know who is responsible is not.

    Plus, these are hilarious.

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