Being passive aggressive on social media
Dear Annie: My best friend and I have been friends for over 15 years now, and we get along very well and definitely know each other better than anyone else. However, we are very different people. I guess you could say that I am a lot simpler than she is. I don’t really beat around the bush, whereas she is passive-aggressive; and I am on the quiet side, while she likes to be heard.
She has been complaining to me a lot about the drama she has in her life, and I don’t mind. I am always there for her, whether it’s to give my straightforward opinion or just to listen to her rambling on the phone in the middle of the night. When we are communicating openly, it’s great. But, Annie, the issue is that she has taken things to another level, and I have no control over it. She is very active on Twitter, and I don’t have an account, much less an understanding of the social media platform.
A few close mutual friends have been telling me that she has been passive-aggressively tweeting about me in a negative way — and it’s very obvious that it’s about me. I don’t understand. I am always there for her, and I am open and honest when we communicate. But when I don’t understand what I’ve done wrong, it’s hard to grasp any understanding of what to fix. I would like to ask her what her deal is, but I don’t know how to do so because I’m obviously pretty miffed that she is being so publicly passive-aggressive and I am offended. But I also don’t want her to get upset with our other friends, because it will be obvious that they shared the information with me. I am in a bit of a strange pickle here and would love your input. I don’t want there to be any unspoken issues between my best friend and me, but I don’t know how to deal with this rude and immature behavior. — Anti-social Media
Dear Anti-social: Rude and immature is right. Passive-aggressive behavior has always been exasperating. Social media have taken it to a new level.
The best approach in dealing with such people is to refuse to play their game. Be positive but direct. Tell her that you saw her Twitter page (no need to mention that your mutual friends told you) and were concerned by the tweets. Don’t let her wriggle out of it. Try to get her to admit that she’s upset with you, thus denying her the ability to keep silently sulking. At the end of the day, she should respect you for holding her accountable. Friends don’t let friends get away with passive-aggressive behavior.
Dear Annie: This is in response to “Wits’ End,” whose adult daughter has been verbally abusive to her. This poor woman does not need this daughter in her life, period. I, too, have daughters who hold their hands out, lie, are dishonest and rarely ask how they can help or do something for others. Guess what. My husband and I choose to stay away from both of them and all the unpleasant negativity they bring. We own businesses and are busy raising their little brother and my mentally handicapped sister. We are very happy with our lives; our days are filled with dates, flowers, laughter and more.
Are we disappointed that our grown daughters choose to act so self-centeredly and uncaring? Of course. But people do not change unless they want to. We are no longer subjecting ourselves to their unacceptable behavior. If others did the same, they would save themselves a great deal of heartache.
“Wits’ End” can make it clear to her daughter: “I deserve happiness, too, and unless you want to be a positive loving force in my life, you are not welcome.” — Happy to Let Go
Dear Happy: Good for you and your husband to have made the choice to be happy. I hope one day that your daughters mature, but in the meantime, keep enjoying your drama-free lives.
Dear Annie is written by Annie Lane, a young, married mother of two. Send questions for Annie Lane to email@example.com.