Sometimes you say or do something that feels like the right idea at the time, but upon reflection you're not so sure.
Maybe people didn't react how you expected. Or maybe you're just second guessing.
Whatever the reason, the internet is there to lend an ear and advice*.
*results will vary
It's this desire for anonymous affirmation—or condemnation—that spawned the subReddit aptly titled "Am I the A$hole?"
Redditors can come and seek feedback and get judgments of:
- NTA - Not The A$hole
- YTA - You're The A$hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
People can get a mixed bag of results, but then there are also people who are seemingly oblivious to just how much they are the complete, utter and absolute a$hole in a scenario.
Take Redditor AwayPerformer.
They took to the social media platform presumably looking for reassurance that they were NTA.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
The trouncing got so bad a moderator had to remind people to "Be Civil."
See, AwayPerformer posted:
"I'm a 31 year old single guy who lives alone in an apartment complex. My neighbor across the hall, a woman around my age or a little younger (I actually don't know her first name but I'll call her Katie) lives across the hall from me diagonally and has for about 2 years. We exchange hellos but aren't friendly..."
"So I don't know how to cook, and due to losing one of my part time gigs, I don't have as much money for takeout anymore. I'm getting really sick of eating cheap fast food or box mac and cheese."
So how would a person handle that?
Ask the woman whose name you don't know to cook for you, of course.
"This is where Katie [not her name] comes in. I can always smell her cooking in the hall and it always smells amazing... So I got the idea that I'd offer to give her some money each week to cook a little extra and bring it over to me (or I can pick it up from her!) at night."
"She's cooking anyway and then I'd have varied presumably delicious food."
"I asked her the next time I saw her [offering $5 per meal according to a later comment] and she looked surprised and said she couldn't because she was too busy (which didn't make sense cause she cooks almost every day but okay)."
"The next time I saw her a few days later, I asked her if she was sure and upped the amount I was offering [to $10], and she said she was sure and that it was rude to ask [her], and that she isn't a housekeeper for hire and I should get a housekeeper if that's what I want. She also called me 'a stranger' even though we have talked in the halls before."
AwayPerformer went on to lament how she made him feel bad.
"Overall she made me feel like a big jerk and really embarrassed for even asking her, and a little mad because she was acting like I was being creepy (I wasn't, trust me, she isn't my type)."
"I think asking her to split cooking [did we miss a split?] wasn't completely outlandish, since she cooks every day anyway and it wouldn't be hard to make a little more."
He then asked, "Am I the a$hole?"
The answer was swift and unanimous.
"YTA. Honestly, OP: Thank you."
"So many people on this sub are just struggling for self-awareness, wading through uncharted territory, or trying to figure out how to navigate a complex situation with many moving parts and lasting social repercussions. Sometimes it's hard to know what to say, how to reach them, and especially how to reduce the situation down to a single three-letter acronym."
"But you, OP, are a 100% bonafide a$hole."
"Let's count the ways."
"1. You're clearly making her extremely uncomfortable. You've caused her to feel like she has to walk on eggshells when leaving and entering her own home, because a strange man down the hall keeps insisting that she... cook for him? What the f-k? Hell, she might even feel like you're monitoring her movement in and out of the apartment in order to ambush her about cooking for you, which will obviously creep her the f-k out and make her feel uncomfortable in her own home."
"2. Why on earth would you think that you're entitled to this person's cooking? Even if she were your spouse this would be a problem, and you don't even know her! How did you hear her say 'no' and decide to keep pressing the issue? She's calling you a stranger because you are a stranger, and she's telling you no because NO."
"3. 'I know it isn't the other person at our end of our hall cause it's a single old man.' Damn, dude. F-k off with that nonsense."
"You are a jerk, you were being creepy, and you should be way more embarrassed than you are."
"Stop harassing your neighbor, learn to cook, and leave her the f-k alone. Ch-st, OP. She said no." ~ D20Lo
"YTA - She said no, stop asking. Learn to cook, there's plenty of videos and subreddits to help you along. Hell, get a slow cooker. It's so hard to f-k s-t up with a slow cooker." ~ EndsWithJusSayin
"YTA For one, you're assuming a lot. You're assuming this woman has nothing better to do than to plan a menu, shop, cook and serve you for a few extra dollars? Enjoying cooking for oneself does not mean she wants to turn it into a business. Watch some YouTube videos on easy one meals, learn to feed yourself." ~ CaliforniaJade
"YTA. For one thing, you are a human adult. Learn to cook. There are so many books and videos about this. You talk as though your only options are either takeout or Katie and they're not."
"You assumed it wasn't the other person cooking because he's a single old man? Single old men eat too, there's no reason he couldn't be cooking? What a weird assumption."
"When she said she was busy, that was a polite way of saying no. It doesn't matter that she's cooking for herself every day, the socially appropriate thing to do would be to gracefully back off with the offer. Instead, you doubled down. You weren't asking her to split cooking though, you were asking her to do 100% of the cooking, including planning and buying ingredients. It's one thing to do this when it's your job, because you are paid for your time and so on. You keep saying it's not a big deal cos she's cooking anyway, but I think you're overlooking things. What if she doesn't want to cook one night? What if she stays late at work? What if she's sick? Speaking for myself I wouldn't want that sense of being responsible in some way for your meals, particularly when I don't know you well."
"Also you can be creepy even if you're not into someone, you know. Being creepy is about not respecting boundaries, which is exactly what you did when you pushed the issue after she'd already declined. Making sure you told us that she isn't your type makes you sound like an asshole." ~ alexi_lupin
"Just because something 'makes sense' to you doesn't mean she should just jump on your bandwagon. If I was vacuuming my apartment and my neighbor knocked on the door and asked if I could vacuum theirs for $5 I'd be weirded out. I'm vacuuming my apartment, not advertising a business."
"You're offering to pay her, but she'd have to buy extra, modify her recipes, spend more time making more food and then package it all up for you and then bring it to you?? It's really pretentious of you just because *you* think someone has the time and energy to do something, that they should. Cooking is tiring, requires a lot of dishes and prep, and you."
"There are plenty of meal services and meal prep companies that advertise this service. You badgering your neighbor to make you dinner just because you offered to pay her is weird and ridiculous." ~ lilo_25
Based on spelling, it appears AwayPerformer wasn't getting sympathy from anywhere American English or the Queen's English was spoken.
"YTA - everyone else has laid out why really well but I also find it genuinely astonishing to ask someone whose first name you do not even know to cook for you???"
"Also you are clearly not thinking about all the extra labour that would go into this hypothetical arrangement besides the shopping, prep, cooking and packaging it up (Do you provide tupperware or containers? Does she use hers and do you factor in that cost)."
"Think about it, you two would have to be in constant communication now re. meals, if you expect food every time she cooks and assume that is every evening then she now has to let you know every time she doesn't, so every time she goes on holiday, or is out for the evening, or is having friends round and they are getting pizza etc etc. She also now needs to take into account your tastes and any dietry needs, if you don't like what she cooks will you still pay her? Also, if you are not eating in then you need to tell her, what if you spontaneously go out to dinner one evening after work and forget to let her know? Do you still pay her for what she makes or is she now out the cost of that food?"
"That is all actually a lot of planning, organisation and constant communication ie. work and emotional labour." ~ Asayyadina
People were more concerned for how the requests made "Katie" feel than any hurt feelings AwayPerformer experienced.
"As a single woman, I would be mortified if a male neighbor approached me like this. You didn't even know her name and are offended she won't cook extra for you? Men are always unaware of how they come across to women. This is totally creepy and weird and YTA. 100%." ~ cousinlove311
"Yeah I can see this poor woman peeking out of her windows before she leaves her apartment to make sure that weirdo isn't outside. It sucks when you feel trapped in your own apartment by strange neighbors that don't understand social cues." ~ banjo11
"Peeking out her windows AND probably avoiding cooking at all again! The smell attracts the creep = not cooking anything that remotely smells good. Congrats OP, you've just made Julia Childs stop cooking because it brings the entitled man-babies to the yard." ~ clarketl29
"Yeah, and I can't imagine how uncomfortable she's going to be leaving and entering her apartment now. This is so creepy, I'd be looking to move if I were her." ~ SnapesSocks
"I feel so bad for her. Now she cant come home and feel comfortable or safe in her own home because some creep keeps tabs on her and what she's doing IN her house." ~ tomkitty
So many people broke down all the many things wrong with AwayPerformer's behavior, but TheFire_Eagle may have done it best.
"YTA. There is a lot to unpack here so let's break it down a bit."
"It's weird to offer to buy something from a stranger that isn't for sale. Like, really weird. I want you to imagine I walk up to you on the street. Let's say we see each other in Starbucks every morning. And I just walk up to you and say 'Hey man, I fucking love your shirt. I'll give you ten bucks for it.' That would be weird, right? Maybe even a little creepy. I get that 'make a little extra food' is not the same as 'give me your clothing' but it is still oddly invasive. This woman is right to be creeped out. Frankly, I'd be sending your info to my friends and family so if I ever went missing they would check your place first."
"Many (most?) people consider it rude when someone tries to buy something that they aren't selling. I once had a dinner party. I had five friends over and we had a great meal. At the end of it, one of my friends tells me that I shouldn't have spent so much on all of them and he wanted to pay me. I told him it wasn't necessary and he was my guest but he kept at it. Around the time he pulled out his wallet and started sorting cash to pull out, I got officially offended. I cooked a meal in my house for my friends and this guy was treating me like a street vendor. At a minimum it felt like he wasn't reciprocating friendship and viewed me as a service provider (nothing wrong with that, my family is in the restaurant biz) rather than a friend. That's between two friends. Between two strangers? Come on."
"No means no. You asked, she said no. You seem taken aback by the lack of logic around her reasoning without recognizing that she doesn't need a reason to not cook for you. Then you doubled down and went back. It was weird and strange to have asked in the first place and rude and unacceptable to go back after she said no."
"You basically sent the message that you felt entitled to her and her labor and all that needed to be settled was the price. Then, when she refused to play ball, you took that as an opportunity to negotiate rather than accept the polite decline and move on with life."
TheFire_Eagle then directed AwayPerformer back to their own words.
"'Overall she made me feel like a big jerk...'"
"Good, you were."
"'...and really embarrassed for even asking her...'"
"Good, but you're not nearly as embarrassed as you should be."
"'...and a little mad because she was acting like I was being creepy...'"
"You were being creepy."
"'...(I wasn't, trust me, she isn't my type).'"
"See, this statement right here alone would make you TA. You seem to feel that you couldn't possibly have been acting creepy because she 'isn't your type'? So you're only creepy toward women you're attracted to?"
"You walked up to a stranger and asked her to cook for you, for a fee, because you like the smell of her cooking from her apartment. That is incredibly creepy even if you had no sexual intent behind it. You should recognize that."
After a rather thorough drubbing online, AwayPerformer came back to reply:
"Okay. It is abundantly clear that I was the a$hole and asking her was inappropriate and, as much as I hate to admit it, creepy. My instinct is to apologize to her but since my instinct was to ask her in the first place, I'll do the opposite and stay out of her hair. Thanks."
We live, we learn.
Maybe AwayPerformer can someday even learn to cook.