How to Annoy a Passive Aggressive Person

How to Annoy a Passive Aggressive Person

Human interactions are as complex and intricate as human themselves. To ease these complexities, humans use language which is the cornerstone of human relations and interactions.

People use language to speak their minds and effectively express themselves. Every person can become a victim of passive aggressive behavior and should be able to deal with such individuals.

There are various methods in response to the question ‘how to annoy a passive aggressive person’ so as to handle passive aggression. Lets learn how to deal with a passive aggressive person.

What are Behaviours and Passive Aggression?

If we consider different temperaments of the men we can see a spectrum of behaviors from positive like jolly, merry or conducive to other negative like aggression or harsh.

pictures showing different outlook of human angry happy

However, it can be challenging to define passive aggression as it is usually easily recognized when we see it in action.

Types of Passive Aggression

Passive aggressive behavior can be either verbal or physical. It can appear in a variety of ways, such as a sly compliment, a selfless deed, or a plaintve comment that is ‘not about you’ but almost certainly is.

Even more frustrating are more ambiguous and disavowed actions that seem to be about something bigger than the issue at hand.

Exhibiting emotional distance, ‘forgetting’ to do something important, not responding to a text, or just venting about minor issues when there is a bigger issue at hand, are some of the characteristics of a passive aggressive person.

Defining Passive Aggression

Taken together, passive aggression can be defined as “being covertly spiteful with the intent of inflicting mental pain.” Likewise, forms of behaviour including the anxious attachment styles have been explained in the article‘How to Self Soothe Anxious Attachment’.

What Affects Aggressive Behaviour

In this process of achieving effective communication, an unusual phenomenon i.e., passive aggressive behavior, often arises. This behavior is characterized by resentment and indirectness which can impact interpersonal relationships.

It can hinder cooperation and understanding which is why passive aggression is considered as a negative behavioral trait. These include using sarcasm, ignoring, sulking, and playing the victim.

Learning Art of Annoying a Passive Aggressive person

Such methods actually annoy the passive aggressive individual which is why they are best suited for everyone who find themselves in such situations. Most people feel powerless to do anything about passive-aggressive behavior.

They are perceived as being the one overreacting if they bring it up to someone else or call out the offender. When all else fails, you must sometimes fight fire with fire; you've had enough and are now wondering how to annoy a passive-aggressive person.

We'll look at some brilliant methods for handling passive aggressive people. From calling out their behavior to complimenting them, these strategies will enable you to regain control in your interactions with passive-aggressive people.

How Passive-Aggressive Behavior Looks Like?

Passive aggressive behavior can arise from a fear of conflict, low self-esteem, difficulty expressing emotions, and a lack of assertiveness.

silent treatment and giving no importance to other

Any of these factors can trigger passive aggressive behavior any time of the day which is why it can often be extremely difficult to handle. It's similar to interacting with someone who plays mind games but never expresses their true feelings.

Let's dissect passive-aggressive behavior and see what it actually looks like: -

1. Sarcasm Nature

Imagine receiving a compliment inadvertently, such as, "Oh, you actually finished the project on time? Wow! I'm incredibly impressed. Although they appear to be acting nice, they are really criticizing you.

2. Ignoring via Silent Treatment

Have you ever encountered someone who suddenly acts as if you don't exist? They won't even look at you or speak to you. It appears as though they are trying to punish you without explaining why. Talk about frustrating.

3. Delay and Avoidance

Have you ever asked someone to do something and they kept coming up with a justification to put it off or avoid it? They conveniently ‘forget’ or assert that they are too busy. Their use of this tactic is a way of saying, “I don't want to do it, but I won't say it out loud.”

4. Subtle Criticism

criticizing someone too much

Rather than being direct, these people prefer to leave hints and make sarcastic remarks. Such comments include, “Nice outfit. It's... unique.” It means that they dislike your sense of style but won't say so.

5. Manipulative Guilt Trips

Get ready for the rollercoaster of guilt trips. These people are experts at making you feel guilty for mistakes that you didn't even make. They'll use emotional blackmail to make you doubt your own sanity.

6. Camouflaged Jokes

Have you ever been pointed out of being super sensitive? Have you been told you’ve got no sense of humor? That you can’t comprehend a joke?

Manipulators camouflaged jokes under the guise of “I was only joking” in order to hurt you. Or they accuse you of being too sensitive. This is a bullying tactic like a two edge sword; the person gets away with uttering something awful and destroy your reputation.

7. Patronized Behavior

People cover passive-aggressive behavior with patronizing remarks. They would speak words of wisdom, encouragement, or friendly advice. In fact, they are controlling behavior, designed to tip you off balance and lower your self-esteem.

For instance, if you ask about something, the will reply similar to “ oh! It’s a bit complicated and you won’t be able to get it” or, you won’t understand the nitty-gritty of the situation or problem”.

8. Procrastination

I had a roommate back in the hostel days. When my friend and I were ready to go to the canteen for the dinner, we would call him to go. He would set and play game, and the same time, he would also shout aloud in an aggressive tone not to go without me.

We would set down and wait until he finishes his game. It would take more than half an hour. I told him we are not going to wait for you from today. No more games at this time. However, he was again busy in game, when the time of dinner arrived. We told him to come and as usual the reply was, wait… . We left him there.

Now, after this, he doesn’t play game at the time of dinner. That’s how you annoy and deal with a passive-aggressive person who is procrastinating.

9. Sighing Loudly

Rolling eyes or sighing loudly indicates a sort of passive aggressive behavior that make the person psychologically feel superior. These gestures in behavior indicate boredom, disagreement or sign that the other person doesn’t know anything or he is wrong, or I know everything.

10. Contemptuous Comments

The behavior of passive-aggressive person is often characterized by contemptuous comments like sarcasm, disrespect and outrageous comments.

How to Annoy a Passive Aggressive Person – 11 Genius Ways

Although it can be challenging to call out passive-aggressive behavior, you don't have to accept it. Here are some strategies for subtly irking them back and giving them a taste of their own medicine. Let's now discuss ways to irritate a passive-aggressive person.

1) Just Ignore passive aggressive person

Ignoring someone is a typical passive-aggressive layman stratagem to ignore a person and avoid confrontation without uttering anything. They can also act as if nothing is wrong if you reach out to them. They would act that they were busy. They are happy in your absence.

Their treating you with silence is a way of controlling you. But how to annoy a passive-aggressive person who is saying nothing? How to break silent treatment? Ignore it.

giving no notice to the behaviour of other guy

The best strategy to annoy a passive aggressive person is to pretend that you are unaware of their behavior. They hate being ignored. Act unconcerned about their sly jabs, sighs, and eye rolls.

When someone casually remarks that you frequently leave your dishes in the washbasin, smile and respond, “Oh, do I? I had not observed.” Then carry on as if nothing occurred. They want to make you feel guilty without confronting you directly, so do not give them the satisfaction and they will be annoyed.

Continue What You Regularly Do

Continue with your day as usual if someone is giving you the silent treatment. Don't constantly ask them "What's wrong?" or make an effort to strike up a conversation. Act as if nothing is wrong and that you are unaware that they are not speaking to you.

They're likely to speak up if you come across as completely unaffected by their behavior because the cold shoulder isn't working. In the end, avoiding passive aggression altogether is the best course of action.

If you maintain your composure and distance from what they are doing, eventually their behavior might come off as childish and petty. And that is the best form of retaliation and the sweetest revenge.

2) Feigning Confusion to annoy a passive aggressor

Another way of annoying a passive aggressive person is by playing innocent and feign confusion. Act as though you are unaware of their subtle jabs and snarky remarks. Ask them to be more direct while acting as though you are clueless.

When they realize their passive-aggressive strategies are failing, they will become frustrated and annoyed. Give them a perplexed look and say, “Sorry, I did not quite get that.

a person blackmailing the other

Can you explain it in more detail? Possibly make me a diagram?” This will drive them crazy. If they send you a snarky email with your boss in the CC line, forward it to a colleague and ask them to explain the issue because you don't quite get it.

Playing innocent and acting perplexed at their indirect communication draws attention to how unproductive it is and shifts the focus back on them.

3) Calling Out Passive Aggressor

Pointing out a passive aggressive person's behavior is another way to irritate them. Say something like, "That seemed passive-aggressive," or "Why don't you just say what you really mean," when they make a snide remark.

Inquire about any ambiguous or unclear statements they made. Put them in a difficult position and watch how they react. People who use passive aggression detest having their actions called out.

one pointing out your shortcomings

It's satisfying to see how it forces them to either accept responsibility for their actions or scramble to deny them. You could ask, “Are you really fine, or is there something bothering you that you'd rather not talk about?”

Call them out in a direct but sensible way. Without making accusations, draw attention to how their indirect actions affected you. The power of the passive aggression decreases as you draw attention to it. And the less fulfilment they experience from it.

4) Asking Passive - Aggressor to Repeat 

A great way to annoy a passive-aggressive person is to ask them to repeat themselves. When they make a casual remark intended to provoke you, pretend you missed what they said. Say something like “I'm sorry, could you repeat that?” Or “What was that again?”

This makes their behavior clear and holds them responsible by forcing them to express their subtly critical or snippy remark directly. People who are passive-aggressive hate being called out on their behavior or having it drawn to attention.

sheet of questions with you

Your questions are meant to reveal the motivation and intent behind their statements. The key is to maintain composure and calm. Avoid showing your distress or allowing them the satisfaction of provoking an emotional response. Instead, keep a critical, detached mindset.

This person may become less passive-aggressive in their interactions with you as you use this technique more frequently. After all, what's the point of making snide remarks and subtle jabs if they no longer have the intended impact?

5) Irritating Passive - Aggressor with Questions

Questioning everything a passive aggressive person to irritate them is another way to annoy them. Passive-aggressive people hate having their motivations and intentions questioned.

So, when they make an obnoxious remark, ask them to elaborate. Inquire further by asking, "What do you mean by that?" or "I'm not sure I understand what you're implying." Make them justify themselves.

ask them to help on tiny things

They'll fumble their words as they attempt to modify their crude remark into something more polite. Look deeper when they give an explanation for something. Afterwards, enquire as to “What's the real reason?”

Don't believe their initial justification. Examine the layers of justifications and half-truths they rely on to escape accountability for their deeds.

6) Forgetting the Passive - Aggressor's Behaviour

It's simple to irritate a passive-aggressive kind of person by conveniently overlooking their remarks and requests. Passive-aggressive people find it frustrating when others do not respond to their comments or follow through because they rely on subtly manipulative remarks to get their way.

Act as if you weren't aware when a passive-aggressive person teases you for not doing something. Say, "Oh, were you talking to me?" and then change the subject if they continue. Don't talk or offer justifications. Leave the comment hanging in the air without responding.

If someone asks you to do something rudely in a passive-aggressive manner, ‘forget’ to do it. When they eventually bring it up again, simply apologize that “it slipped your mind.” Offer to complete it immediately but again take your time.

Keep your cool but remain uninvolved, and don't forget to respond to their deceptive remarks and requests. They'll really take offence at your convenient memory lapses and refusal to jump when instructed. However, since you've been so contrite, they'll find it difficult to call you out on it.

7) Taking Time or Non-reaction to Passive - Aggressor

It will annoy a passive-aggressive person to no end if you take your time to respond to their behavior. Don't give them satisfaction because their objective is to elicit an emotional response from you. Don't immediately respond to their emails or text messages.

Wait a minimum of 30 minutes or several hours before responding. This shows them that you have more important tasks to complete and that they aren't a priority.

dont give response email letter or

The key is to avoid talking or offering excuses. Just postpone, divert, and defer. Continue to be cordial while maintaining your resolve to resist their manipulations.

They will be more unsuccessful in their endeavors the longer you delay your responses. They might eventually come to terms with the fact that their passive-aggressive actions won't yield the desired outcomes. You win by not playing their game!

Another Scenario is non-reacting to the passive-aggressor. Not reacting to passive-aggressive behavior in any shape or form is the surest way to annoy a passive-aggressive person. While it may be effective in pissing them off, it’s not so good for your own mental health.

Thing is, passive aggression does get under our skin, especially when it comes from people we care about. If we don’t react to it at all, we do teach them that their passive aggression isn’t working.

But, the problem with this passive strategy is that the hurt will keep building up. You may put on a calm and non-reactive face for a time. But if they continue to be passively aggressive, you’re likely to cave in and crack under the pressure, resorting to aggression.

This strategy requires a lot of inner work to successfully pull off. You need to have attained a certain level of mastery over your emotions.

8) Correcting the Passive - Aggressor

Calling out a passive-aggressive person's behavior when they're obviously in the wrong can annoy them. For instance, correct them if they make a false claim to gain the upper hand in a discussion by presenting factual evidence that refutes their assertion.

Say something like, “Actually, according to [a reliable source], the evidence shows that [the opposing view] is true.” Because passive-aggressive people enjoy making others feel stupid, correcting them politely and directly prevents them from taking advantage of the situation.

However, in the second place, Assertive, not aggressive, confrontation is the best way to frustrate the end or goal of a passive-aggressive person. You see, passive-aggressive people abhor confrontation. It’s not their style of engaging in altercation.

When you confront them in the moment and stand your ground for yourself assertively, you catch them off guard. You’ve shudder their cover and exposed their naked assults. This forces them to change their style and be more direct.

For instance, instead of reacting with silence or “Thank you” to the comment, “Your work was surprisingly excellent”, you can respond by calmly saying, “So it’s usually not?”
This way, you’ve exposed them, and they’re forced to get back because they don’t want altercation and confrontation.

Rarely, you’ll find someone saying, “Yes, usually it’s bad”. That’s direct aggression, and the person who can say a thing like that wouldn’t need to be passive-aggressive in the first place.
So, why aggressive confrontation doesn’t work: -

It indicates success to them. It means they were successful in getting under your skin. An aggressive response also makes you look bad and weak because your reply seems out of proportion to their weaker, more passive aggression.

To make things worse, they can add salt to the injury by saying something like, “Calm down! Why are you getting all worked up?” knowing full well that their goal was to indeed get you all worked up.

Imagine responding to “Your work was surprisingly good” by yelling back: -

9) Complimenting Passive - Aggressor

Another way to annoy a passive-aggressive person is to compliment them inadvertently. Offer a subtle, sugarcoated backhanded compliment that actually offends them.

For instance, "Your hair looks so interesting today. I’ve never seen you take such a bold risk with your style before." This suggests that their typical hairstyle is uninteresting and mundane.
Try to turn their sarcastic compliments into witty conversation.

When they say, “Nice outfit, I guess it suits you,” answer in a lighthearted manner, “Oh, thanks! I didn't know I needed your fashion approval, but I value your advice! Do you have any other fashion tip for me?”

The secret to dealing with passive-aggressive people is to deliver these false compliments while grinning. Keep a positive gaze and sell sincerity. They'll go crazy trying to figure out whether it was really intended as a compliment or a covert insult. Either way, you'll feel good rattling their cage in such a coy manner.

10) Offering Help

Offering assistance with small tasks that they don't actually need help with is another way to annoy a passive-aggressive person. For instance, ask if they require assistance with opening doors or carrying small bags. Grab their bags or hurriedly open a door that they are capable of opening themselves while saying something along the lines of, “Here, let me get that for you!”

dont give response man 2

Ask them repeatedly if they require assistance with routine computer tasks like checking their email or logging into websites. Say, “Just let me know if you get stuck or have any questions!” implying they may struggle with simple digital skills.

The secret is to be excessively, unnecessarily helpful for straightforward tasks that the passive-aggressive person is capable of handling on their own.

Your ‘thoughtful’ offers of help will draw attention to their veiled dissatisfaction with such gestures of uninvited assistance. They might soon stop being passive-aggressive, if only to avoid your annoying offers to help them with unimportant things.

11) Blame them for their mistakes

People with passive aggression hate being held accountable for anything. Therefore, assign blame and specifically detail how their behavior (or lack thereof) contributed to the issue.

Say something along the lines of, “If you had just told me upfront that you didn't want to go out for dinner, we could have avoided this whole mess.” Or, “You didn't speak up when you had the chance, and that's the only reason we're in this situation.”

A passive-aggressive person will become irrationally enraged if you call out their passivity and place the blame on them. By highlighting how their lack of directness led to an undesirable result, you can turn the tables and hold them responsible.

The key is to be extremely detailed about what they did (or didn't do) and how it harmed you or made the situation worse. Give specific examples rather than general accusations to help them understand why you are blaming them. However, you should be aware that blaming a passive-aggressive person might set off an emotional response or make them defensive. But isn't that the point?


Several techniques for provoking the passive-aggressive person in your life to elicit a reaction have been discussed in the article. Although it's probably not the best strategy for your relationship to know and learn ‘how to annoy a passive aggressive person’, everyone has their moments of weakness.

It's important to avoid playing along with their antics and getting sucked into their frustration and indirect hostility vortex. Be kind and sympathetic in your response. First up, remember the six word phrase when you deal with a passive aggressive person, “Attack the problem, not the person.” Set clear boundaries and directly call out the behavior.

Though you have no control over their behavior, you do have control over your own. Remain composed and keep in mind that their behavior says more about them than it does about you. Do not allow their intimidation to get you down. You can use your time and energy more wisely elsewhere.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you frustrate a passive-aggressive person?

There are many ways to frustrate a passive aggressive person which includes questioning them the things which they want to hide; or to demand from them the clarifications or explanation of what they have expressed once.

How do you get someone to stop being passive-aggressive?

if you want to stop a passive aggressive so first identity the behaviour, and try to create an environment, which is liked by him; also use the language carefully, give him confidence and communicate well with him without annoying or disturbing.

What is the six word phrase to stop passive-aggressive behavior?

It is said to stop aggressive person from behaving as passive by maintain ‘attack the problem, not the person’.

What is a tactic for dealing with a passive-aggressive person?

There are many ways to deal with a passive aggressive person but it depends you want to cool him or irritate him. To accommodate him, you can be very friendly and conducive to him, while to annoy him, you can irritate him by repeated questions etc.

Louisa Jane

Passionate beauty blogger exploring skincare, haircare rituals, and beauty secrets, guiding readers toward radiant skin and confidence.

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