You can’t quantify the amount to which being passive aggressive has improved my life. For starters, there’s the smug satisfaction I feel whenever I tell someone one thing but mean another. When I do this, it’s like I create an entire world in which I am the only known member, and I am, therefore, the only person “in the know.” I really love being in the know, especially when others are “completely left out of the know and must infer what I might mean based on strange things I utter under my breath or uncomfortable facial ticks that I employ to give a person slight signs as to what I may really be thinking.” Communicating is a game. I love games.
Some of my favorite situations to be passive aggressive include the following:
1. Whenever someone is serving me, like at a restaurant or coffee shop. “Are you enjoying your food?” a waitress might ask. “It’s very good, thank you,” I will respond even though I hate the food. The key to being passive in this situation is not looking at the waitress. Leave the back-and-forth a little open-ended, and definitely mysterious. Sure, I’m saying one thing, but I’m also completely avoiding eye contact, and perhaps shaming this server. What do I really think? That’s for the server to decide. Hope she likes games.
2. Whenever a family member asks me how I’m doing, I simply say, “I’m okay,” with the straightest face imaginable. This one leaves a lot of room for interpretation, and it drives concerned parents batty. Just batty.
3. Actually, the last situation applies to many social encounters. If someone asks you if you’re cold and you’d prefer to be a bit distant, just say, “I’m okay,” but be a bit unconvincing. Remember, be mysterious! “How was your trip to Brainerd?” “Oh, you know, it was okay.” Don’t elaborate, no matter how much the other person pushes you. Act like it wasn’t okay. Say that it was.
I dunno. If you’re not already passive aggressive it’s unlikely I can teach you how to be. All I’m saying is that things really seem to be working out for me, even though I feel very, very alone. Good luck.
—Jason Zabel is actually kind of a forward jerk and this is really more of a commentary on other people who are shitty communicators.