Passive Aggressive Shenanigans

2009-April-12th

This semester, I have lived with a few people who are even worse than I am, in terms of being somewhat passive aggressive. My guess is that they want to accomplish something but they don’t want to take responsibility for wanting it accomplished. I have no problems with written communication, and indeed a nice letter or note can go a long way, except in this case what I’ve noticed is that the communications I have had with them tend to be either me delaying some action, or them commanding me to do something. Instead of asking “hey, could you please clean the bathroom at some point,” their strategy is to command me, “guess whose turn it is to clean the bathroom.” It’s as though they think I have time to do it right now.

To the instigators of passive-aggressive shenanigans:
In reply to your helpful “hint” about whose turn it is to clean the bathroom.
I am displeased by and tired of your hints about cleaning the restroom. This semester has been filled with far too much passive agressiveness in terms of things like the toilet and the light, and most importantly (annoyingly) this cleaning schedule you have in your mind. Your future room/house/suite –mates will be extraordinarily appreciative of some additional directness, and in the case of a cleaning schedule, some printed and previously agreed-upon evidence of whose turn it is to clean.
It’s too late now, but in the future, a posted schedule agreed upon by yourself and whomever you may be living with would be great, because my initial thought on this matter is “I cleaned before spring break, when did they clean? Or do they get to shirk the responsibility because they have access to a dry erase marker?” I do remember cleaning the bathroom before spring break, and since then, I haven’t remembered anybody doing any cleaning to it. Which is fine, on any typical day where the toilet isn’t clogged by whomever used it before me, the bathroom tends to stay fairly clean.
Because of the lack of a posted schedule, the earliest I am able to get to a full cleaning of the bathroom is Thursday. Even then, I have projects that must be done, but I will do bathroom cleaning on Thursday.
To be clear, it now becomes your responsibility to clean the bathroom in May before we move out after finals.
It is with my best wishes and hope that you’re able to accept Thursday as the date on which I clean the bathroom that I sign this, personally, from me, taking responsibility for what I am writing,
--Cory W.
Added to the letter after printing it:
As an aside, another annoying component of passive-agressiveness is not taking responsibility for what you write. I’m not unhappy with written communication, I’m unhappy with indirect, un-owned, command-like, one-way “communication.”

I am fairly pleased with my letter to them, and am glad that I did it, even though I am pretty sure it will explode in my face. Indeed, I do somewhat wish I had done it before. Next semester I will be combatting this problem head-on by having a face to face discussion with my suitemates about who will clean the bathroom, when, and then drawing up and printing a schedule to be posted in the bathroom.