347. The Passive-Aggressive Post

Don’t you just hate it when *some people* make a post, and it’s *so obviously* related to *someone* but they don’t even post that person’s name there?

(“I– I mean… What happened? Did your– Did your balls drop off, or something?”)

Get a grip on yourselves.

I suppose, in a way, there’s no escaping the hypocrisy in writing this post. On one hand, I’m speaking out against the trend of making passive-aggressive posts on social media sites; but on the other, I’m writing this post instead of confronting said individuals concerning their passive-aggressiveness.

But what the hell. I’m going to write it anyway.

There was a subject I took in my 3rd year at university called Human Resource Management. It’s a load of crap. But it was helpful to give official-sounding names to things like “employee motivation” and “remuneration and benefits”. One of the topics was “Conflict Resolution”, and in that section of the textbook, the author (as far as I remember; it could just as easily be one of the many terrible student presentations) talks about the differences between Eastern and Western conflict resolution methods.

(I cite the textbook and not my lecturer because, oh God, that lady was a thorn in my side for all the years I spent in university. A thorn with needles jutting out of it. And on fire. And secreting a potent venom. And dangerously acidic)

Without getting into the unfortunate discussions about what constitutes “Eastern countries” and “Western countries”, let’s get right into it. Apparently, most people living in Western countries feel that the most appropriate way to handle conflict is to confront it. Face it head on. Get your shit sorted out. While most people living in Eastern countries prefer to defer the responsibility on to someone else, or to avoid it completely.

Or, as I call it, the sweep-under-the-rug method.

While I hold the opinion that people – especially some living in Western countries – should be made to obtain licenses for speaking in public, I am also constantly irked at the behavior of the ones around me. There are far too many episodes to count, but in the end, it just boils down to this:

“I don’t like what that person did. Ugh! Don’t even talk to me about it!”

And then they go on to treat that person like shit – but the Asian way, which is to treat them as though they’re a bad smell in the room.

(I guess you could say it’s more like treating them like fart)

When people tell me things like that, my response, most of the time, is, “Don’t you think that’s a little unfair to them? They probably thought it was funny/in good taste/appropriate.”

Because it’s true. Most of us are not important enough to have a group of people dedicated to hating on us. Most of us, in fact, are actively trying to be the best person we can be, to make the best decisions that we can make – and we just end up tripping over each other sometimes. Just like you don’t go around intending to offend or insult people, people don’t usually go around doing that to you. Sometimes, it’s just poor choice of words. And sometimes, there are people who are just honestly deluded about what is socially acceptably behavior.

Here’s what I suggest: be fair, be kind, be direct. If you have a problem, say it out – but respectfully. “Man, that wasn’t cool” usually suffices. You’ll be surprised how much heartache it saves you when you let those around you know your boundaries. Then you’ll be able to identify the ones who offend you by mistake and the ones who really don’t care enough about you.

Give people the benefit of a doubt: they are usually kinder, more compassionate, and more prone to making very bad mistakes than you think. Remember the last time you made a really bad mistake, and how you hoped with all your heart that everyone would just let it slide?

It’s exactly that.


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