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Former Bartender Furious After Friend Invites Her To Birthday Party Just So She Can Make Drinks

Jakub Dziubak/Unsplash

Most of us want to help out our friends whenever we can, but sometimes our friends can cross a line into just using us.

A woman on Reddit who is a former bartender found herself in this situation when it turned out her friend invited her to a birthday party solely so that she can make everyone cocktails.

She wasn’t sure about how she handled the situation, so the went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for perspective.

The Original Poster (OP), who goes by the username MissAnthropyy on the site, asked:

“AITA for refusing to tend bar at my friend’s birthday BBQ and then ignoring her texts?”

She explained:

“A good friend of mine’s birthday is on May 30 so she has a birthday/Memorial Day BBQ every year. This year, she decided that she wanted a big margarita bar at the party.”

“I used to be a bartender so she texted me ahead of time if I’d help her decide what kinds of tequila, mixers, garnishes, etc. to buy, and to help her set it up.”

“I agreed to help and sent her a shopping list. Then, I came to her house an hour early to help her set up the bar, cut limes, set out cups, etc.”

“Everything was set up on a folding table out in her backyard, where the BBQ was going to happen.”

“As I was cutting limes, she came over with a chair, set it behind the table, and said, ‘This is for you to sit in when you’re not making everyone’s drinks.'”

“I was like ‘Hold on a sec – you’re expecting me to actually work at this party?'”

“She looked at me and said ‘Yeah, you agreed to help?’ and I said that while I agreed to help her out, she’d never asked me to work her party for free, and if she had asked, I’d have said no.”

“She got really upset so I ended up writing the instructions on a little chalkboard she had and propped it up on the table.”

“She seemed begrudgingly okay with it, it looked cute and everyone at the party had a lot of fun making their own margaritas.”

“But the day after the party she texted me to say how hurt she was that I didn’t keep my promise to bartend the party.”

“I screenshotted our conversation where she’d asked me for help and said ‘I helped you shop for what you needed and came early to help set up. But please show me where in this conversation I promised to work your entire party for free because I never said that.'”

“She responded that there was no need to get sarcastic and snippy with her, and then I stopped responding.”

“She texted me a few more times, things like ‘Hello…..?’ and ‘So you’re just ignoring me now?'”

“I’m going to give it a few days and then see what happens, but in the meantime, AITA?”

People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this situation based on the following categories:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

As you might guess, they were firmly on OP’s side, and felt her friend was way out of line.

“NTA. I am into a mixology and am not a professional by any means.”

“But for my parents anniversary+mom’s birthday (a double party) I volunteered to set up a bar station.”

“I thought not many will drink bc its not custom in my country to have alcohol ready.”

“Let me tell you how crowded it gets when people realize there is free booze AND it gets concocted into a cocktail.”

“I think I grew 50 muscles that day, my arms were so sore.”

“She: a. took your expertise, skills, muscle memory for granted; b. tricked you into thinking you were gonna have fun when bartending at a party is a full time job.”

“She’s an AH. PLUS seems like she has no self awareness to reflect days later” –diosmiotio18

“It sounds to me like OP attends this party every year, and it was only this year that she was asked to bartend”

“So, less inviting someone only so they will be your bartender, and more just detailing a party guest to be an unpaid employee all night. I’m not sure which is more rude” –mdaniel018

“And what further answer did she expect after OP showed her that their was no promise of working at the party? An excuse?”

“She got the help she asked for. To bad that she couldn’t lure a free barkeeper in.”

“NTA” –EvilFinch

“NTA and the audacity of your friend is astounding to me.”

“In what world is ‘help out’ the same as ‘work my party for free’? She’s not entitled to your labour. I’d demand an apology or else go LC/NC.” –alokasia

“NTA. You helped. A lot! For free.”

“If she wanted to hire you to work as a bartender at an event, she should have made that clear so you could either tell her no, or negotiate a fee commensurate with your level of expertise.” –TemptingPenguin369

“NTA”

“She was in the wrong, you proved it, and her only defense left was ‘no need to get snippy.'”

“Once she got to that point, the correct move for her was to apologize for the presumption and move on.”

“My guess is she made promises that there was going to be a bartender working the party, and she was embarrassed to find out she screwed up.” –N8HPL

“NTA. She was trying to use you for free labor: I think you went above and beyond to help her set up and also give her an alternative for the party instead of leave her hanging. She sounds pretty ungrateful.” –astandre1

“NTA”

“And I would respond with, ‘yes. I am ignoring you. Your behavior is appallingly entitled.'”

“‘You attempted to manipulate my memory and state I agreed to do something that I did not. When o showed you EVIDENCE that you were lying you again made me out to be an aggressor staying was being sarcastic.'”

“‘That’s unhinged from reality. You then later take it further saying I promised. This is unacceptable.'”

“‘I will not continue to engage with someone who is lying and unwilling to admit their lying. Wrong and unwilling to admit that they are wrong.'”

“‘And completing unwilling to apologize and expecting that be the one to do so. I have no interest in having a conversation with someone so manipulative and I am reconsidering continuing this friendship.'”

“There’s probably a nicer way to say that, but I’m rarely gentle with entitled liars.” –TashiaNicole1

“Ah, this brings back memories of a co-worker who asked, ‘Can you help me with this project?’ I replied, ‘What do you need help with?’ and he dumped the entire project on my desk and said, ‘Thank you’ and started to walk away.”

“I told him ‘a) I never said I WOULD help him, and b) helping means ‘some of’ not ‘all of’ the work so he could get his butt right back over here and take this back.'”

“And he went crying to our boss that I was mean (literally) and not a ‘team player’ and since I’d already done a ‘can you believe this MFer?’ to my boss – got shut down and told ‘do your own work’.”

“And he tried it several more times. I started warning people that to him, ‘help me’ means ‘do it for me’.”

“So there are some people who literally think they have asked you do do a thing when a reasonable person would not have that understanding.”

“Those people are a-holes and generally narcissists. Wry.” –The1Eileen

“NTA. No one works for free. She was not clear upfront about her requirements and frankly seems entitled.”

“Whether you respond or not is up to you but it’s also a question of how much you value your relationship with her.” –may2march

“NTA. She can’t even claim it was a misunderstanding because even after the party was over, she texted you to complain AGAIN that you didn’t bartend. What on earth?! Keep ignoring her, she was trying to take advantage of you.” –JuniorFix3344

“NTA, so rude that she expected you to work for free! I think it was a great compromise to write the instructions and let people make their own.”

“I’m sure literally no one was upset about it besides the host. I mean who tf has a bartender for a party in their home?!”

“I’ve only been to one party like that ever bc I was working at it, it was for super rich people and they hired a bartender and 2 waitresses (I was one of them.)”

“But we were paid well and got tips. And that’s definitely not normal for the average backyard BBQ! This friend tried to take advantage and pressure you into doing it.” –peach_xanax

“NTA”

“Agreeing to help and agreeing to bartend aren’t the same thing.”

“Of course when you so conveniently pointed that out instead of apologizing for accusing you of not upholding a promise she instead decided to deflect with ‘no need to be snippy’.”

“You did more than enough and it wasn’t fair of her to try and make you feel guilty for not doing something that you never agreed to do in the first place.”

“Truthfully I’d avoid talking to her until she apologized. Not the most adult or reasonable way to handle the conflict but 🤷‍♀️” –picturebook-graduate

Hopefully OP’s friend can learn from this.

Written by John Sundholm

John Sundholm is a writer, content producer and performer originally from Michigan. His writing has also appeared on YourTango, Delish and Medium, and he has produced content for NBC, The New York Times and The CW, among others. When not working, he can be found tripping over his own feet on a hiking trail while singing Madonna songs to ward off lurking bears.