Passive Aggression....*sigh*

Photo Credit: Jhune Li
Dear Pussycats,

Growing up as a millennial, I’ve always had the crutch of the Internet to ease the pain and frustrations I’ve had about the world. Why speak to someone directly and have actual conflict when you can write anonymously, “You’re a cuntblossom and everyone hates you” on Tumblr or Formspring (if anyone even remembers that.)

Why practice conflict-resolution, which involves rationally speaking your honest feelings and then listening to someone speak theirs to find a happy middle ground, when you can just write a Facebook status indirectly talking about them? Not only so they can see it, but also so all of your 24902950 Facebook friends will see it too.

I’m going to be honest here, I used to be the QUEEN of that. I was a passive aggressive princess. I was the Michael Jordan of indirect confrontation - running around slam-dunking insults and projecting my insecurities, but hiding at the first glimpse of confrontation.

I’ve lost serious friendships due to the fact that I was too scared to just own up to my feelings and I instead chose the passive aggressive or even worse, anonymous route, and I’m so embarrassed of that to this day.

There is a reason why I really don’t enjoy reminiscing about high school, and frankly why I’m not particularly close to many of my former high school friends.

Remember that episode of 30 Rock where Liz Lemon is thinking about high school and painted herself out to be a total victim, but in reality she was the bully. That was me. I completely thought of myself as this loner who “no one understood,” but in actuality I was a passive aggressive jerk who had so many feelings and didn’t have the proper communication skills to explain them, therefore I lashed out at people who didn’t “get it”.

High school is hard, because you just feel the feels so hard, and you constantly have emotions bubbling up inside of you, like a science fair papier-mâché volcano that sits dormant in a classroom until someone pours baking soda solution inside. Our generation has been completely enabled by the Internet, because it has allowed us to erupt red frothy verbal magma everywhere without ever having to actually clean it up.

This worked hand in hand with discovering feminism for me. When I learned about feminism, I immediately became a feminist kill-joy, who wanted to tell people how problematic they were without actually doing it directly. This was partly because I was so jazzed on feminism, but also because it gave me a platform to be a raging bitch because I was realizing how fucked up our society really is, and I wanted to tell people about it.

I had a friend who wore bindi’s who wasn’t Desi, I found this offensive because the internet told me it was offensive. Instead of asking my friend about it in a rational manner, I wrote anonymously in her tumblr many times. This was because I was scared about the consequences of her knowing that I thought she was being problematic (and racist) and potentially ruining our friendship, but I still wanted her to know her behavior was not okay.

In actuality my behavior was not okay. It was passive aggressive and immature and I really should’ve just talked to her directly and nipped it in the bud. She later called me out on my shit, and I lost a friend that day. I don’t for a second feel sorry for myself, and in a weird way I’m glad she did that. From that day forward I decided I was no longer going to be passive aggressive and I created a foolproof anti-passive aggressive flowchart that I reference in all situations of my life.

Ever since I created this, it has worked 110% of the time. There are always going to be natural irritants in your life that inevitable occur, but the main thing is that you need to decide is if it is worth it. Is it worth discussing and potentially getting into some sort of altercation when rational conflict-resolution falls to the wayside? Is it worth potentially losing friends? Is the person even going to bother to see your side at all and will it just become a pointless argument? You need to pick your battles, and if you don’t think discussing this would be productive than you seriously need to get over it.

I see people post passive aggressive statuses on Facebook ALL THE TIME, and frankly I find it pathetic. And no, this isn’t a passive aggressive jab at people who are passive aggressive, I just think that we as a society, especially us millennials, need to start being more direct with people and talking to each other instead of hiding behind our computers.

 I can say this because back in the day I would literally write passive aggressive statuses about other people and then if they confronted me about it, I would sometimes lie and say, “I was talking about somebody else!” CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT!?! How stupid could I be! I’ll do a post later about my tips for successful conflict resolution, but until then reference my flowchart if you need help.

I also want to reiterate that I’m by no means perfect. I haven’t completely voided myself of all passive aggressive inclinations and desires, but the main thing is that I am now making an effort to try. That’s literally all we can do as humans.

What we’ve learned from this story?
1)   Don’t post passive aggressive Facebook statuses
2)   Rational conflict-resolution is key
3)   Own up to your feelings and be heard directly

Are you guilty of being passive aggressive on social media?
Were you a Liz Lemon in High School

keep it sassy,
Sasssquatch aka Caelan

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