Fannie Fierce

passive AGGRESSIVE!

Filed By Fannie Fierce | November 16, 2007 9:34 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: friends with benefits, passive aggressive, straight

Dear Fannie,

I’m a 21 year old straight college guy. My best friend is a 21 year old girl. We had a brief sexual fling early in our friendship, but that was over two years ago. Since then we’ve become really close, but just friends. (She had a long-time boyfriend whom she only recently broke up with.) About a month ago, she told me that had romantic feelings for me, something that evidently has been going on for a while. I told her that I wasn’t interested in a romantic relationship with her, and after a bit she told me that she was over it and that we were good. The other night, I was at a party with her and one of her housemates. We were all drunk, and I ended up making out with my friend’s housemate. Now, my friend won’t speak to me. Did I do something wrong? She told me that she was over it! What should I do now?

--Frustrated with Friendship

FWF,

So your female bff has been nursing a crush on you, and now she’s pissed at you because you started sucking face with her housemate. Were you honestly surprised that making out with someone so close to a friend who just got over a crush on you would be a bad idea? You didn’t think it a bit odd how she was able to magically whisk away her crush, right after you rejected her? While you’re more oblivious than Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, you didn’t do anything “wrong” per se. What happened between you and her housemate is between you and her housemate, and it sounds like none of this was done maliciously. However, you should realize that all humans are a little egotistical, and some have more trouble than others not making everything relate to them.

Your friend obviously has issues with passive aggression. It took her months for her to be honest about her feelings for you, and the cold shoulder treatment is a classic case of non-action. The thing about passive aggressive people, myself included, is that we desperately want direct confrontation. All the hopeful signals or the snide remarks that get put out there are really an invitation to make the first move. Is it a little cowardly? Sure, asking the other person to make the first move, whether it's romantically or in a confrontation, is a little unfair. But, that’s just how a lot of people are wired. The best way to deal with someone who is passive aggressive is to confront them directly. Don’t give her any other option other than to deal with the issue. That’s the other thing about passive aggressive people, we like to stew. All that non-action and boiling can be actually pretty emotionally satisfying. Having imaginary fights with someone (where you always win, naturally) without actually having to deal with any of the fallout can be quite tempting.

Call your friend up and tell her you want to meet and talk. In this meeting don’t be aggressive, but be clear, direct and honest. There’s a good chance that she’s played this scenario about 50 times in her head before your actual meeting and has plenty to say. Be patient and let her get everything that she needs off her chest. After that, go ahead and clarify that you didn’t intend on hurting her and still want to be friends. I hope all goes well for you, FWF!

++
fiercely,
fannie

send your questions to fannie@bilerico.com
You can read the rest of Fannie's column at www.belowthebelt.org


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Ah yes, the passive-aggressive. I may be a little familiar with that problem myself.

You're right, the only way to deal with those sorts is to get rid of any exit strategy from the conversation and remind them that the world won't end if they have an honest discussion. In fact, it's better for everyone in the long term.