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Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Little Help Here?

Intentional Inefficiency is our term for the type of passive aggressive behavior that occurs when a person complies with a given request, but carries it out in an unacceptable manner. The frustrated requestor usually ends up doing the task himself and refrains from asking the person to do it again in the future...which suits the passive aggressive person just perfectly!

This great example of intentional inefficiency was posted on Passive Aggressive by "anonymous" on 9/16/09:

Frequently when I ask my boyfriend to help out cooking, which he absolutely hates, I find that he, all the sudden, loses his ability to function properly on his own. He moves at about the pace of a snail. He claims that he does not know what he’s doing and that he never learned how to cook. I therefore explain to him exactly how he is supposed to do that particular task. He then proceeds to act extremely clueless, like I’m explaining how to do brain surgery. Then I even show him. Once I’ve shown him the proper way to cut the fat off of a piece of chicken, he annoyingly, and EXTREMELY slowly, proceeds to do so making sure to do it in a way unlike that which I just showed him. He does so because he knows that once I finish preparing everything else, I will become annoyed with his lack of production and take over the task myself.

Do you have examples of intentional efficiency or other passive aggressive behavior in your relationship? Please post them here!


  1. GROUP 5- 333
    This is quite a typical scenario involving someone who either doesn't have confidence in themselves to perform a task or frankly are annoyed you ask them to do something. I guess if he didn't want to help participate in making a lovely dinner he can be hungry or eat some bread... not even toast- maybe a toaster is too hard as well.

  2. Similar story-

    My friend asked to have people over for a gathering. She wanted to have it at my apartment because she did not enjoy being at her place. So we decided what time for everyone to come over and types of food and drinks to provide. When it came time to go get the drinks and snack material she said she was running late and to just go head with out her and she would pay me back later. So when she came over before the party was supposed to start the food wasnt ready, the drinks were not made and the apartment was not presentable. When she walked in she made comments regarding how messy it was. I kindly reminded her i had to go run her errands and was in the process of picking up. I asked her to put the drinks in the fridge and get some bowls out for the food. I walked outside to throw trash away. When i came back in side i had chips in the freezer, pop in the sink, plates out with spoons on top of them. When i asked her what the heck she was doing she slowly responded she was tired and forgot what i asked so she just did what she thought she should do. I then repeated my earlier directions and she started to whine and began to get the bowls out, but not before slowly letting one slip on to the floor... breaking. Oh yea... it was a grand night.

  3. This reminds me of an event that took place some time ago. I was dating a girl that would use any excuse not to do something that was asked of her. This particular time, my girlfriend was asked by my mother to help prepare our home for a holiday get together. Specifically, she was asked to set the table for dinner. When my mother came to check up on her, she found that my girlfriend had put out mismatched plates, the wrong type of silverware (in some cases, plasticware) and had put some goblets out and some regular drinking glasses. My mother never asked her to help again, and it wasn't much longer that we broke up.

  4. Reading this passage literally made me laugh out loud! I feel the same anger and frustration as the author does with her boyfriend! I feel that my little brother is almost identical to her boyfriend. Anytime I ask my brother to do something that he is not in the mood to do, it is like asking a dog to fly. Last week, I had asked my brother to help edge the lawn as I mowed the grass. First, he slowly walked to put his shoes on, and then acted as if he was a toddler learning to tie his shoes. Once he finally had his shoes on, he spent the next minute or two looking for the gas can. After finding it, he realized that the weed whacker was already full and did not require any gas. By this time I had already started the lawn mower and began to cut the front yard. Next, it took him about five minutes to start the weed whacker because he pulled the starter cord so lightly that the engine would never turn over. Frustrated, I stopped cutting the grass and went to start it for him. After a few minutes of trimming around the light fixtures, he then decided it was time for a Kool-Aid break. A few minutes later, he returned and began to edge and then said that the cord was broken and that he could not trim any more. Again I stopped cutting, this time already in the back yard, to show him that by pressing down on the end would send out more string (even though he was the one that showed me this feature when we first got the weed whacker). By the time I had finished cutting 3 acres of grass, he had finished trimming around six light fixtures, the mail box, a few trees in the front yard and had three kool-aid breaks. Knowing that he had purposely gone slow so that way I would finish it for him, I decided that this time I would take the kool-aid break and watch him trim around the house!

  5. This story reminds me a lot about my boyfriend. Whenever I would ask for his help he would always say "in a minute" until I had to really harp on him to get something done. When he finally got around to doing it, he'd have an attitude, mope, and move really slowly. Not only would he be slow but he'd also do a very poor job. Eventually I just stopped asking, but soon after I broke up with him for that same reason: that he wouldn't do what I asked in the right way.

  6. Group 6 393

    I think it is very amusing when I see my parents working together while at work or at home. There are days when my dad cooks for the family but that is on a rare occasion. I think the only time my dad has to cook is if my mom is out of town for couple of days. Well one day my mom told my dad to cook and of course my dad didn’t want to, but mom pushed him to. so my dad was making fried rice and my mom was telling him what to put in and how to make it. I know my dad knows how to make it because he made when my mom wasn't home. Well he was doing everything wrong and putting in ingredients that didn’t belong. My mom got frustrated and left the room and watched TV. When dinner was ready we came in and sat down. After a couple of bites my mom went wild on my dad. She said that she told him exactly what to do and how to cut and cook everything. They got into a huge fight and afterward whenever my dad had to cook something he did it the correct way.

  7. Intentional inefficiency is a very common thing for me. Whenever I am asked to do something that I don't like to do, I always carry it out in a way which pisses of my parents. As an example, when I was really tired and my parents asked me to walk the dog, I agreed but didn't carry it out efficiently. After the dog took a number 2, I didn't pick it up and just walked him back to the house. When my parents asked me if I picked up the crap, I said "no" was I supposed to? Eventually, my parents gave up in asking me to walk the dog, instead they just do it themselves.

  8. This story reminds me of my own intentional ineffeciency story. Many times my parents will tell me to go online and pay a bill or two and try to take over the finances, however it gets so overwhelming at times and i am unable to express it to my parents. So, for three months i decided to completely stop paying a credit card bill for my mom so she would realize that this was too much for me to handle, when she got the call from the collections agency, she never told me to pay another bill again, atleast for a little while, that is.

  9. Antoinette group 6October 14, 2009 at 9:33 AM

    Her boyfriend acting incompetent to cooking or cleaning the dishes is a perfect example Intentional inefficiency. His way of making sure he never has to help out with the cooking is by doing it too slow or not making the food right. This way of dealing with a spouse can get you what you want in the beginning but in the end the spouse doing all the work will get tired of it. Especially if you do not know how to steam broccoli after the fifteenth time it has been explained to you.
    Like story:
    When I was a little girl I always hated cleaning the dishes. My sister would usually try to make me do them even if my mother had asked her to do them. One day my mother asked my sister to clean the dishes and then my sister came to me and told me I had to do them. At this point I was tired of being suckered into doing her chores. So what I did was pile all the dirty dishes with all the food still on them and even a pot with a pile of rice into the dish washer. So when my mother opened up the dish washer there was food everywhere. My sister ended up getting into trouble and she never made me do her chores again.

  10. As our kids grew, and moved out of the house, I came to realize that two of our waste baskets in our home, the one in our bedroom and the one in our bathroom, always had items laying around their perimeter (the tag from a laundered shirt, a rubber band, a kleenex, a business card, etc.). After observing this for several additional weeks, I asked my husband: "Hon....when you got the mail today, did you have any trouble reaching into the mailbox?" "I mean...did you accidentally reach a tad to the left of the box, or a bit to the right of it, before you actually got your arm into it?" " trouble, why?", he said. "Well how 'bout when you pulled into the driveway?, I said...."Any trouble getting the car exactly in the right place...or did you accidentally pull into the neighbor to the left of our driveway?" "No... no trouble there either", he said...."What are you getting at?" "Well...I'm a little confused", I said. "Your aim is verifiably good...Lord knows you're amazing on the golf course.... But for some odd reason, when you're trying to make a basket in our bathroom or bedroom, you're really challenged...and miss quite a bit." "I hadn't noticed"...he rapidly shot back. "Yah...I don't know what it is...maybe the lighting or something....but you really seem to have a hard time in those two places." It never happened again.