Browsing some new RSS feeds, I come across one of my favorite columns ever: The Straight Dope. And I find that my understanding of “passive-aggressive” is wrong. Cecil says it applies to people who are just lazy. This makes no sense to me. I’ve always thought it meant someone who tries to get their way (acts aggressively) but does so without being overtly aggressive (passive).

Here’s two cases of what I would call “passive-aggressive” behavior that I’ve experienced. What are these called if not passive-aggressive?

1.) Our neighbor once walked up to us and asked “Do you feed your dogs? If you don’t feed them, I’d be happy to continue to feed them for you.” She discovered that one of our dogs would eat food when offered (have you ever seen a dog say “No thanks, I’m really stuffed”?) and/or ate her cat’s food that was left outside all day.

2.) At a restaurant Whistler in Canada, after two shockingly bad attempts at making a Manhattan, the waiter brought the ingredients to our table and asked Gay if she would like to make her own Manhattan.