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How to Write a Passive Aggressive Note

Have something to say? Say it with a passive aggressive note!
Have something to say? Say it with a passive aggressive note!
www.ericaricardo.com

We've all been in situations that have inflamed our senses of injustice, but it can be difficult and messy to address problems head-on. If you or those you know need to express themselves, but are anxious about actually talking to those involved, a passive aggressive note can be the perfect solution.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Instructions

Things You'll Need:

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Tape or adhesive
  • Sense of indignation
  • (Optional) legitimate grievance
  1. Step 1
    These dishes will just be left in the sink ... aGAIN ...
     
    These dishes will just be left in the sink ... aGAIN ...

    Write your note without identifying the actual or suspected offender. Do this even if you are certain of the offender's identity, such as if filthy dishes have repeatedly been left unwashed in the sink when you live with only one roommate. This will avoid making anyone feel specially accused or threatened.

  2. Step 2

    Your note can be short and sweet ("Your mother doesn't live here" "WASH ME"), but for more nuanced situations feel free to dive into the details. Treat the problem like a story with a complicated history that must be fully explained in order to be appreciated, just like a Russian novel or soap opera. Insert literary or technical words when possible to add a depersonalized, professional tone.

  3. Step 3
    Defuse the situation with colors and cartoons.
     
    Defuse the situation with colors and cartoons.

    Use different colors of ink or crayon to help your note stand out. Add pictures or funny cartoons to mask aggression with whimsy. Clip art is especially helpful here, as are hand-drawn hearts and smilies. The reader will be both charmed and impressed by your effort.

  4. Step 4

    Use the first person plural frequently ("we" and "our") to give your note added weight and speak with reason and authority.

  5. Step 5

    Leave your note unsigned and anonymous, but feel free to add a personal touch about how your own health and/or happiness have been impacted. Explain how you have been denied what you are rightfully due, like a parking spot or clean break room. If appropriate, use actual figures to back up your claims, such as how much of your own money or tax dollars have been spent addressing the problem.

  6. Step 6
    Thieves can be frustrating!
     
    Thieves can be frustrating!

    Show compassion by including a potential explanation for the offense. This will help show how reasonable you are. Be sure to note that whatever the explanation, it is no excuse for the behavior. For example: "I know that being unemployed can be stressful, but this doesn't mean you can steal cheese right out of the refrigerator like a common felon."

  7. Step 7

    Imagine the situation through to its most extreme possible conclusion, no matter how unlikely it is. Note that with appropriate action the crisis may be averted, but that if not then the consequences could be dire. If no suitable consequences come to mind, then "the downfall of human decency and Western society" is an excellent standby.

  8. Step 8
    The car windshield is a great place to post your note!
     
    The car windshield is a great place to post your note!

    Post your note with several pieces of tape in an area with high foot traffic. If you are posting at the office, then the refrigerator, bathroom door, or Xerox machine are all excellent choices. If you are posting at home, doorknobs and car windshields are also great locations.

Tips & Warnings
  • Don't bother checking your note for spelling or grammar errors. This will save time and allow your note to be posted as quickly as possible to prevent future offenses. It will also illustrate how upset you are at the injustice and add to your note's impact.
  • Monitor the situation and respond with follow-up notes as needed. If you neglected some of the steps above in your first note, be sure to use all of them in later notes. Multiply your efforts with notes posted in more than one location if necessary.
  • Send this article to someone who may need tips for their own passive aggressive notes.
  • You may be confronted by those involved about whether you're the one who posted the note, or asked to resolve the issue face-to-face. If so, bow your head and mumble until your accusers go away. They are certainly allowed to leave their own notes.
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