Let’s get this out of the way right now: many of the notes on this site are not passive-aggressive. Many of them are just plain aggressive. If you feel misled by the title of this website, feel free to to instead log on to

Now then. For the purposes of this project, we’re using a pretty broad definition of “passive-aggressive” that roughly correlates with how the term is popularly (rather than clinically) used. As the New York Times wrote: “The classic description of the behavior captures a stubborn malcontent, someone who passively resists fulfilling routine tasks, complains of being misunderstood and underappreciated, unreasonably scorns authority and voices exaggerated complaints of personal misfortune.”

But again, many of the notes found here aren’t really passive-aggressive even by our generous standards. Some of these notes are really more aggressive in tone, and some of them are more passive — polite, even — but for the most part they share a common sense of frustration that’s been channeled into written form rather than a direct confrontation. It’s barbed criticism disguised as something else — helpful advice, a funny joke, simple forgetfulness. After all, as Dr. Scott Wetzler, a clinical psychologist and author of Living with the Passive-Aggressive man, observed: “A joke can be the most skillful passive-aggressive act there is.”

If you enjoy railing against the flagrant abuse of the English language, you’ll find yourself very much at home here. (Cue up the Alanis Morissette and try these notes, for starters.) And if plumbing the depths of our collective neuroses is what you’re into, you’ll no doubt appreciate the fine work of our fellow travelers at Found magazine, Postsecret, and Mortified.


Kerry Miller