Passive Aggressive Notes


I’ve seen and read a number of Buzzfeed articles out there regarding passive aggressive roommates and notes.  Some are funny, and some make you glad that you had good people to live with.  This topic has come up in my mind a couple times.  It might not make sense, so I’ll do my best to convey it.


Let’s start with 140E, the fabled apartment that I lived in for my last year of college.  A lot of visitors always claimed and accused those that lived there of being rather passive aggressive.  You see, it wasn’t uncommon to see notes posted on doors or on random objects in the kitchen.  I never saw it as such, though.  140E has had a history of housing busy people (majority engineers), and sometimes the best way to tell someone something, was through a note.  I would sometimes be out all morning, while another was out all afternoon and night.  It seems to be the most practical thing to do, rather than post to their Facebook wall or call them to remind them to lock the door when they leave (or something like that).  Understandable if you’ve ever lived they, perhaps not if you haven’t.

The point I’m trying to get at is, it seems as though that whenever someone sees a note addressed to them, they mark it as passive aggressive, get angry and ignore it.  There is zero regard for the content of the note.  Let’s say you fell asleep after cooking and eating dinner.  I get home late and find a pile of your dishes in the sink.  Understanding that you might have had a long day, before I head to bed myself, I leave a note on your door saying:

“Hey, just a friendly reminder to do your dishes some time tomorrow”

What would you think about that?

It’s hypothetical, but I’m sure I could add to the story.  Maybe I have to wake up early and be out all day, so it’s not like I could ask you about it as we brush our teeth.  Are all notes passive aggressive?  The fact of the matter is, you left your dishes in the sink and you didn’t do them.  If your mom were to leave you that note, you wouldn’t even question it, you would just do it (probably), right?

Which leads me to my next point, I think it comes down to how much you view the person that wrote the note.  Similar idea in this Wong Fu short:

The information is still being presented to you in that note, why not just take it for what it is?  I feel like the same applies to when someone talks to you in a condescending tone.  Granted, sometimes it varies (football coach, rich snob, rich football coach snob etc).

In the episode “Frame Toby” of The Office, they dabble in passive aggressive notes due to a dirty microwave.  It bothered me that it was never really resolved in the episode.

But that’s me.  Whenever I found a note, or see a sign in the office, I take it to heart.  But that’s me, someone who blames himself to be a better person.  Are my thoughts crazy?  What is your opinion on this matter?


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