The internet was shocked when one person revealed her boyfriend’s family asked her to pay for her slice of Thanksgiving dinner after they flew out to visit.
The original poster (OP), u/dkfu202, shared his story to the popular Reddit forum r/AmITeA**hole, asking if it was wrong to take offense and end the visit early bf’s parents?” They received over 17,300 upvotes and 2,100 comments.
The OP says that she and her boyfriend flew to his parents’ home for the first time for Canadian Thanksgiving, which was Monday. Although the original plan was to stay for the weekend and fly home on Monday, the trip was cut short and the OR was back home by Sunday evening.
The friend was set up in his old room and the OP was given the guest room. They said that at dinner Saturday night, when they were being served, their boyfriend’s parents asked them to pay $30 — about $22 — to cover their share of Thanksgiving dinner.
“I was quite shocked and angry because who does that? I’ve never been asked to pay someone’s ingredient fees when I was a guest,” wrote u/dkfu202.
They said they did not respond but later confronted their friend with the request. He told the OP that his parents always ask their friends to pay when they throw a cookout.
“Honestly, I’m shocked they have friends,” the OP wrote.
They then pointed out that their boyfriend visited their parents and was never asked to pay for his meal, but he countered that he would have gladly paid if they had asked him, but they never did. At this point, his mother came to escort the OR to her own room, leaving her “angry.” They wrote to their friend that they would go home the next day.
“He called me and asked me to stay and said his family doesn’t like me because I wasn’t willing to pay for dinner and I’m only making it worse. I ignored him and rebooked an early flight (which was very expensive) and got a taxi to the airport in the morning,” wrote u/dkfu202, adding that they told the story to their friends who had never heard of hosts doing the one made such a request.
news week spoke to etiquette expert Lizzie Post, Emily Post’s great-great-granddaughter and co-author of the new book Emily Post’s Etiquette: The Centennial Edition. Post said that in and of itself it’s not rude to ask for help to fund a Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s important to make that clear at the invitation stage.
“There are definitely times — and I would imagine a big family vacation is one — when everyone wants, say, Mom’s version of the dishes, but Mom can’t afford to throw Thanksgiving with 20 people . And so mom talks to everyone about it, instead of everyone bringing a dish, they just contribute to the cost of the meal,” Post said news week. “Maybe everyone is from out of town and it would be really difficult for them to bring a cake or mashed potatoes. And so there are times when this could be done well and would be a really great solution for a family.”
However, if this is not clear from the outset, it is not only impolite, but “really uncomfortable,” says Post.
“When we host people, and especially for something like a large family dinner, we as hosts are expected – and it’s part of the tradition of hospitality – to provide some sort of meal. And if it’s going to be something like a potluck or community sponsored event, we’ll make that very clear from the invite,” she said.
Part of hosting an event is showing guests how to be “good” at the event. She said that the OP who flew in to visit was “kind of a big deal” but that the OP didn’t know what was expected which made the situation so awkward.
“This lack of awareness is the fault of the host. You’re hosting people, you have to guide them, make sure they’re comfortable and understand what’s going on — and that clearly didn’t happen in this situation,” Post said.
She also had advice on what to do if someone is in a similar spot. She says it’s okay to say “no” to an invitation, but in a case like this, where there’s an unexpected request for a financial contribution, Post says you should pay if you can afford it .
“It’s probably easiest to say, ‘Oh, wow, I wasn’t expecting that. Let me make arrangements. And I can pay you either electronically, cash, check, whatever works. She said. “If you can’t afford what they charge you for, I think that’s a different conversation. And that’s one I’ll probably want to put aside.”
In that case, Post said, if she was in the OP’s position and couldn’t afford to pay, she would have spoken to the friend to ask him if he’d take it or gave it to him to order explaining to his parents that it was a surprise price that she couldn’t afford. However, his parents put the OP in an “incredibly awkward position.”
“It’s just so incredibly unnecessary. And again, by not talking about it when inviting, that’s the situation you’re creating; you put someone in a really awful position.” She said. “Something like this can actually lead to long-term fissures and divisions. People can get so offended by this that they won’t say yes to your next invitation.
“This can have serious consequences,” Post added.
For those who can’t afford to contribute to a potluck-style dinner, Post suggested helping out with some of the chores behind organizing a group dinner. She shared a personal story of how her guests were asked to bring a dish or other item — like napkins or soda pop — to the meal when her mother was entertaining guests.
“Eventually, our Thanksgiving grew so big that it led the family to sign up for a charity. So maybe you were the person who lit the candle or set the table just before dinner. Maybe you were the person who helped clear up the d’oeuvres. You could be the person to help take out the trash,” she said. “But she had this whole list of different things, and she’d ask you what you might want to do to help. And that was your little job, and it really helps things.
“But people bought it from the start — it wasn’t something they were told when they showed up,” Post added. “Just a little foresight when it comes to invitations can make a really big difference.”
Redditors agreed that the Thanksgiving hosts were out of line.
“Hooooo boy. [Not the A**hole]” wrote u/LetThemEatHay in the top rated comment with 35,700 upvotes. “Congratulations OP. You have been given a rare and unique opportunity to see what your future will be with this man. Don’t take it lightly.”
“I once went on a trip with my weird cousin, aunt and uncle. During the trip they asked some questions that even at 8 years old I recognized as rude and judgmental of my parents’ parenting style. When they dropped me off they gave my parents an itemized bill and asked for immediate payment,” shared u/goffstock. “My parents were flabbergasted but paid for and that was the last time I saw that part of the family.”
“Why didn’t he warn you?” u/princessofperky asked. “Why didn’t he pay for you? So many questions.”
news week asked u/dkfu202 for a comment.