Are you really self-centered, but trying not to appear that way? Wouldn’t you rather have people attribute your selfish behaviors to a quirky personality than to a passive-aggressive or anti-social behavior? If you learn the following tricks, you’ll never have to face repercussions for your bad attitude. Rather than thinking you’re passive aggressive, anti-social, or even just a big fat jerkburger, people will think of you as special! You’re busy. Important. Possibly flaky, unlucky, or even delightfully unpredictable, but hey! That’s just you being you.
Being Late or Canceling at the Last Minute: We’ve all heard it said before — chronic lateness sends the message that your time is more valuable than anyone else’s time. We all know it’s true, and that’s why this is the Number One All-Time Classic Passive-Aggressive and Anti-Social Behavior. Being late is a great way to send the message to friends and colleagues alike that you are the top dog. Make them wait for you! It’s a simple and effective power play. But why stop with chronic lateness? Why not cancel plans at the last minute, too, every now and then? Keep people guessing as to whether you will actually show up at all. Because you’ve made a precedent of being late, they’ll be waiting at that restaurant for hours before they finally give up.
Refusing to Make Plans at All: If you’ve tried Being Late or Canceling at the Last Minute and you like the results but are looking for something even more effective, you may want to consider adopting a related personality quirk (hey, it’s charming and quirky!). Refuse to make plans at all. If a friend wants to arrange to meet you at your favorite bar for happy hour, what he is really trying to do is tie you down! YOU can’t be tied down! Avoid this at all costs. Instead, tell the friend you might be free but you’re not sure. Then, call the friend two hours after happy hour and let him know you’re finally at the bar — not your favorite bar, for inexplicable reasons, but a bar across town. Always keep them guessing.
Having Messy Handwriting: Unless you are writing in your own super-secret private diary for your eyes only, having messy handwriting is straight-up Passive Aggressive and Anti-Social. Fortunately for you, this is a rarely acknowledged fact. Most people believe that handwriting is either genetically ingrained or is formed through so many years of practice that it is virtually unchangeable. Whether either of these views is true (dubious), you have a get-out-of-jail-free card on the issue of handwriting. This means you don’t need to take the time to be neat or to assure that anyone else can read your chickenscratch. Sure it’s messy and annoying and renders any of your handwritten work useless, but GOSH DARN YOU JUST CAN’T HELP IT. So just keep on gripping that pencil in your improperly clenched fist like a caveman, dragging your wrist across the page to create smudges and smears — soon enough people will stop asking you to edit their essays, lend them your notes, or jot down a recipe. Then you’ll have more time for what really matters: yourself.
[N.B. For the advanced Passive-Aggressives and Anti-Socials among you, there is an even higher level of Passive-Aggressive and Anti-Social Handwriting to which you can aspire: handwriting so messy EVEN YOU cannot read it. Did you forget to pick up that extra item at the store for your husband or wife? “Oh, so sorry, honey! I guess it is on the list after all, but sometimes I can’t even read my own writing!” See also: Losing or Forgetting a Necessary Item.]
Losing or Forgetting A Necessary Item: This technique is brilliant in its simplicity. You can’t drive because you’ve lost your car keys. Oh, sure, you WANTED to treat that special someone to dinner, but it seems you have forgotten your wallet! Hey, these things happen occasionally, right? Except that for YOU, they happen all the time. This is why no one will ever put himself in the position of relying on you. You won’t be asked to pick up an item at the store while you’re out. You’ll never have car-pool duty or be asked to feed someone’s cat while he’s out of town. Life can be easy once you’ve freed yourself from the obligation of doing small favors for friends.
Having Allergies, Dietary Restrictions, or Religious Restrictions: This is the ultimate trump card. If you have allergies, dietary restrictions, or religious restrictions, no one can dispute you. After all, your health and/or morals depend on your adherence to certain ascetic codes! Get ready for an absolutely unimpeachable excuse to abstain and refrain. Have a bad date? You can’t come in for the night because you’re allergic to his cat! A dinner invitation you’d like to decline? Too bad, you’d love to go, but [sigh], YOU’RE A VEGAN. A friend needs an inconvenient favor late Friday night when, let’s face it, you’d rather be busy with other things? No worries. Just remind your friend of that one defining fact about you: YOU DON’T FUCKING ROLL ON SHABBOS.
Acting Helpless With Technology: Incompetence with technology is a great way to get out of the tiresome duties of both social and work requirements. “Oh, I didn’t get that email,” you say. People may try to tell you that emails just don’t disappear, but hey, when you and a computer get together, anything can happen! “My computer must have accidentally deleted your message! You know how bad I am with technology!” Of course, email incompetence is really just the first step in this genius plan of passive aggression. You’ll also need to feign incompetence with files in general (“But I’m SURE I attached it!” “I thought I SAVED those changes!” “It must be here SOMEWHERE!”). What about all those popular social networking and communications applications the kids are using these days? Don’t bother with them. After all, your extreme levels of incompetence prevent you from using computers for anything at all. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, MySpace, blogs, Skype? Of course you can’t figure them out! We know how YOU are with technology! Let’s not even get you started about how you don’t understand that “text messaging” nonsense. While you may seem to be sending the message that you are too stupid to keep in touch with people, rest assured: the real subtext is that you simply don’t care.