Passive aggressive behavior. It’s been in practice for a long time and social media has only made this plague worse (or caused us to notice and call it out more, either way). In the dating world, being passive aggressive is, in a word, obnoxious.
Awhile back, I had decided an online suitor was actually suitable enough to exchange numbers. We were texting back-and-forth in the “get to know you” stage before committing to a first date when I discovered that this man would never take charge. How did I know?
He ended every single text with an ellipsis (…).
I’m not going to waste your time with a grammar lesson on what this particular punctuation is actually for, but I will take a moment to explain how it comes across in a text. When everything is ended with “…” I assume you are trailing off in thought and leaving it open for someone else to finish it.
Here’s some examples (now paraphrased because I delete texts, unlike most other people in the smartphone world):
“That’s cool you’re visiting your mom…”
“I play guitar…”
“The Great Gatsby is playing…”
“There’s a good restaurant near me…”
Reading each of these texts, I had to wonder what I was supposed to do with the open-ended statements. Does he want to meet my mom? Am I supposed to ask him to play me a song? Was there a question coming at the end of the others and he got interrupted?
What I took from the misused punctuation, was this was a clearly passive aggressive man. It was almost like he was willing to put himself out there just enough, but didn’t want to risk stepping out on a potentially dangerous limb. After a couple days of the obnoxious punctuation use (aka passive aggressive statements), we even got close to scheduling a date.
Here’s the problem. He never confirmed a time, location, or activity. Everything was left open-ended. In the meantime, a friend had offered up tangible details for going out (which I jumped on because I love me some good detail planning!).
In the end, I called him out for never actually making plans and pointed out that he never once asked me a question. I cited his ellipsis use as the least favorable way to get a clear answer from someone. Oddly enough, he didn’t seem all that surprised that none of this panned out. Passive aggressive behavior tends to get the same results again and again, I suppose.