My mother always said “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Now, I’d have to call her to clarify but I have a feeling she would also add “and don’t leave anonymous, totally passive aggressive, notes either.”
Passive aggressive behavior is one of my biggest pet peeves. Now, I’m not completely innocent when it comes to using these tactics. I’ve done it. We all do it. How many times have you begrudgingly agreed to go along with something you really didn’t want to do? You smile and say “sure” but quietly moan and groan about how much this completely sucks and when someone asks you if everything is ok you plaster on that fake grin, the one that you know everyone else knows is completely fake, and mutter how everything is just hunky dory.
Once again the internet and social media has introduced us to new ways to display our unsavory social behavior. When someone acts in a way we find insulting or ignorant, some how we think that posting a cryptic tweet or status update about how “some people should do this or not do that.” will solve the problem. Some people? Is that what you mean? No, of course it’s not. You are talking about someone specific but don’t have the nerve to confront that person directly so you post something vague on the internet hoping they will see it and instantly recognize that you are referring to them. Is this an effective way of communicating? Probably not. But it’s easy and much less confrontational than directly communicating with the person or persons that have offended you.
I do think there are times when passive aggressive behavior is acceptable and maybe even helpful, even if the only benefit is that you release some of the tension that someone has created. Something like leaving a note on the windshield of someone’s car thanking them for parking like an idiot is pretty harmless. It’s when we take the passive aggressive approach towards people or subjects that matter in our lives that we are wasting opportunities to effectively and efficiently deal with a problem. Those obscure social media remarks are, at best, counter productive. They don’t really make us feel any better about the situation. They do, however, make us appear childish and woefully incapable of dealing with conflict.
So, the next time someone rubs you the wrong way, before you hit that post button, pull up your big girl/boy pants, take a deep breath and contemplate, just for a moment. Does what you are about to say portray the image that you want your friends, family, followers, sponsors, etc. to see?