It’s official: Passive-aggressive argument season in the group chat has finally arrived

Stay safe out there

It’s time to get your jabs people, argument season has arrived.

Peaceful flat group chats were once filled with family-esque banter, pushing the limits between love and bullying as you each took turns to be roasted to a crisp. However, these bonds are now breaking out in a rash of long, salty paragraphs responded to only with “okay”, “chill” or, for intense cases, “fuck off”.

No one can find a cause for it, but as the seasons change so do the politics of flat relations. Maybe it’s the incoming heat making the bins smell, infecting the uni public with high levels of passive aggressive behaviour, or maybe it’s merely overexposure. But either way, no one is safe.

Stage 1: Passive infection

The infection will start slow; a sprinkle of salt falling gently into the chat. You’ll notice nothing but an undertone, creeping into to the nameless blame game. Signs to look for include: “someone forgot to do the bins again”, “can someone tidy their stuff around the sink please”, “is anyone going to tidy up from their pres last night??”

In the nameless stage, recovery is easy. We prescribe a flat night out, bonding again will stop any further infection getting in.

Stage 2: Active disease

Failure to treat the issue will only result in more intense aggro. Names will be thrown around, photo evidence of mess used against you, bins moved to outside your door if you’re an hour late doing it, the dreaded post-it notes. Stage two infection will have visible symptoms, no longer passive aggressive, but obvious. It will become airborne, you’ll feel it in the kitchen and everywhere you bump into your flatmates when you’ve obviously been avoiding their messages. No one will make eye contact. There are two ways to treat this more aggressive form:

  1. Total confinement. Hear footsteps in the hallway? Lock your door. Voices in the kitchen? Exposure will only make it worse.
  2. Battle through. Strap on your med mask and prompt the more confident one on your team to initiate a confrontation disguised as casual kitchen chat.

Stage 3: Terminal, do not resuscitate

If you fail to see the signs and let the infection linger, you’ll hit stage three, also known as the burst phase. Someone’s pres will be just too loud, use someone’s fork one too many times, trash the kitchen at a party you were invited to. And the haemorrhage begins.

Security is called, full out bitching breaks out in the chat, yelling in the corridor, slamming doors, someone leaves the group, one girl moves in with her boyfriend for a week. And then the flatline, the big fuck off paragraph.

It’s so big it’s not even typed into messenger, but pre-typed in notes and screenshotted, disguised in the notification as a meme or a photo from the other week. But no, it’s the fatal hit. People will try and fix it, others will ignore it; but either way it’s there. It’s been said and acknowledged.

If you let it get this far, recovery is hard. Denial will be easy, you’ll long to slip into avoidance, act like the silence in the kitchen and corridor has always been normal. But you must face the issue. Add the boy in the room next door back into the group, organise a group meeting, write a new bin rota, learn how to not hate each other again. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it.

During this fearful season, prevention is key. Remain tight-knit to avoid any holes for infection to creep in; share pics from freshers to remind them of better times, Instagram a picture of the girls in your flat that you’ve never really had a real conversation with, but caption it “love my girls”, maybe even bake if you think you’re at risk. But most importantly, do the damn bins.

Stay safe out there.