Alden Boon

How to Be Very Passive Aggressive


Who likes conflicts? Donald Trump. But for the rest of us who have to worry about keeping our jobs and friends, yelling is not always an option. How can we get our anger across but still be deemed nice by others? By being passive aggressive.

Keep him in suspense

Cold Wars are so last century. Sure, your first instinct is to ignore your nemesis’s text messages or phone calls. Torment him by keeping him on the edge. Type a few characters in the text window and never actually send them, so that your status perpetually shows “is typing…”.

Addition by subtraction

Forget the old playbook on being aloof: deliberately skipping that elephant in the room when it is your turn to take coffee orders. Take that person’s order — she probably wants it brewed at precisely 84 degrees Celsius; with half a shot of soy milk, another half of almond milk, raw sugar and no foam. Call her while you are at the coffee joint and check in with her to make sure the barista is following her instructions to a tee. And then return with everyone else’s orders but hers.

Go for the jugular

Backhanded compliments such as “you’d look so good if you lost the weight” are a passive aggressor’s best weapon. Specificity and exaggeration are the key to making the compliments even more venomous. Zero in on an appearance fault — “I never thought that huge tumour of a pimple would ever go away! Thank you, sincerely, for bettering my view.” “Wow, you look so amazing now that you’ve lost 1kg. You must share with me your weight-loss secret! How are you not on every magazine cover?” Your opponent will become very self-conscious of his imperfections.

Show up super early

Obligated to turn up for a function you were sucked into attending? The old trick is to show up late, but your misery might go unnoticed by the host, who is busy with entertaining other guests. There is no better way than showing your displeasure by knocking on her door many hours before the event. Your host, with her unmade face and hair, will be scrambling to accommodate you. Offer zero help; just sit on her couch and do absolutely nothing but track her every movement with your eyes. Sporadically let out a questioning “huh” or “well, you are the host” — ellipses and all — as she lays the zucchini cookies on the table.

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Alden Boon
Alden Boon is a Quarter-finalist in PAGE International Screenwriting Awards. When he's not busy writing, he pretends he is Gandalf.

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