Passive Aggressive Facebook Posts Are for Doofuses and Doofi

Gee, Suna, what are you going to rant about today? Maybe you can complain about something, and by doing so, do the thing you are complaining about. We used to have a word for that in linguistics, but never mind. At least you are presenting both alternative pluralizations of doofus, to please your friends.

From the 2016 article by Alex Miles

You know how you ignore things and ignore things, then one day your tolerance dips or something, and you suddenly get really annoyed? Today that happened. I saw just one too many vague, passive aggressive Facebook meme about how “some people” just don’t do the right thing. I just shouted aloud in the parking garage, “If you have a problem with someone, TELL THEM.”

I then ran off and found a fine article to back up what I was feeling: How Facebook is a Weapon for Passive-Aggressive Destruction, by Alex Miles. Three years ago, she was also getting sick and tired of people who would rather fire off vaguely worded barbs at “someone” than talk to whoever it is about what’s bugging them. “Someone” is just supposed to KNOW the barb is about them, and learn from the helpful advice and turn their lives around. HA. Nope.

Myles points out:

The classic method of passively displaying aggression on social media is via quotes and memes that say something, often seemingly politely, gracefully or even cryptically, but the intent behind the message is condescending, patronizing and deliberately posted to make a definite point. There is a degree of separation in this method as the person sharing them is not the one who wrote the words originally.

How Facebook is a Weapon for Passive-Aggressive Destruction

This one stabbed me right in my highly sensitive soul. And who among us has not dealt with this:

…if the passive-aggressive one is confronted and questioned they may downplay the situation by reverting to denial and manipulation. They might even send smiley emoticons to make it seem as though they are perfectly at peace and then turn everything around to make the person questioning them appear over-sensitive, paranoid and as though they are overanalyzing or imagining things.

Same source
Or need some good old-fashioned therapy, a thing you do not obtain on Facebook.

Go ahead and read the article, which does provide some insight into how people end up doing this stuff, and ideas about how to nip it in the bud. I give Myles credit for thinking people just might be able to actually talk to others about their behavior, discuss whatever brought it on, and come to a mutual understanding and trusting relationship. That sure would be nice!

Am I wise or what?

My favorite solution for doofuses or doofi I know who engage in this behavior is to ignore it, and then send some invisible love rays out to them, because they obviously need it. Doesn’t that make me seem saintly.

See, this was true even back when monitors were HUGE.

Honestly, sometimes I read them and know exactly who the quote is aiming for, and I also send THEM some love and positive energy. They probably need it, too. And if it just could be ME that is the recipient of the carefully chosen meme, I tell myself I don’t really have the time and energy for that negativity. And I go read something funny, a real story from someone (there still are some of those on Facebook).

For the past few days I’ve been dredging up memes that say nice things about people and encourage peace, love, harmony, or whatever. I kind of like that kind of meme. I guess that’s my counter attack? There! Take that niceness!

Really, though

What? That’s not what I meant! You’re too sensitive! [Actual words uttered at me in my past]

As a genuine human person, I have no doubt that I’ve posted some passive aggressive meme at some point. Many of my friends have done so on occasion, and I recognize that they are crying out for understanding or dealing with some nasty thing that happened to them. They are human. Sometimes you just want to flail away, and Facebook is probably better than physical violence.

I am not going to point out any particular people, which makes this look sort of like some kind of passive-aggressive blog post. But I don’t need to finger point. All you have to do is go to your own feed and look at it. What have you posted in the past few days? Is it:

  • Funny, sad, or silly stuff that happens to you
  • Pictures of your family/friends/you doing fun stuff but not bragging, of course (who defines that?)
  • Pictures of your pet or someone else’s (a reasonable amount)
  • News articles (depressing or otherwise)
  • Heartwarming tales
  • Encouraging quotes that people may or may not have actually said
  • Links to your blog, whether people want it or not (that’s me)
  • Complaints about people on the other side of politics from you
  • Deep sayings that you think will send a pointed message to your current or former friends if they just think about it for a moment

You might want to cut down on those last two, so folks won’t be blocking you, sighing a lot, or shouting in parking garages. Or keep it up if you just don’t give a hoot.

What a great plan!

We all have bad days. We all feel slighted sometimes. But please, if you are upset with someone, either keep it to yourself or discuss it with them in private. Facebook might become more fun again!

I’ll leave you with this list of sort of funny/useful passive aggressive quotes, you know, in case you need them to subtly put me in my place.

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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