The motivations behind our actions can be as important as the action itself.
So what happens when we don’t get the payoff we were looking for from something we’ve done and lash out as a result?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) AccordingSyrup4812 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for mansplaining to my girlfriend?”
Not a great start.
“I personally don’t think this is an issue of mansplaining, but I want to present her perspective of the issue fairly and objectively.”
“I don’t want to make this story seem completely one-sided, like some of the other stories I read on here.”
“I(23M[ale]) am someone who loves fun facts.”
“I love telling my friends and family fun facts and seeing their faces light up with the same interest as mine had when I first learned the fact.”
“I’ve been getting the feeling lately that my girlfriend(23F[female]) isn’t really treating me with respect.”
“When she talks to me, she acts kind of withdrawn and dismissive, and I sometimes feel like she responds to me as though she’s like a boss speaking to a subordinate.”
“Whenever I tell her things, she may be listening, or she may not be.”
“Yesterday, I told her a fun fact about how styrofoam containers aren’t actually made from styrofoam.”
“Instead, they are made from a material known as polystyrene, and she didn’t even blink as she just said ok.”
“Today we were over at a friend’s house for dinner, and she let us take some pasta home for leftovers, and I heard my girlfriend say, ‘hand me that styrofoam container'”.
“I got a little annoyed, since this was proof that she doesn’t give a sh*t about the things I said, so I said in an annoyed voice, ‘It’s made of polystyrene, not styrofoam, but I guess it doesn’t matter what I say since you wouldn’t listen anyway”‘.
“After that, all hell basically broke loose, and my girlfriend is refusing to talk to me because I was rude.”
“Even though I was literally just pointing out that she is being disengaged and disrespectful to me by not caring about the things I say and making me feel kind of unimportant.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Specificity isn’t always necessary.
“YTA the common name used is styrofoam, so her calling it that doesn’t mean she’s not paying attention to you.”
“Sharing fun facts is fine.”
“But it’s unreasonable to share a fun fact about, as an example, the scientific name for turkeys and then get mad when the person you told continues to use the word ‘turkey’ instead of the scientific name.”
“I really hope this is the first time you made this type of comment about your girlfriend not paying attention to what you say because if it isn’t, that sounds incredibly annoying.” ~ author124
“It’s like Xerox. We always called it ’getting it Xeroxed,’ regardless of the machine brand.”
“The early Xerox machines had a reasonable chance of bursting into flames. When the library got one, we’d use it, half hoping to see smoke come out, lol.”
“Technology used to be a lot more exciting, back when stuff was new.” ~ JunkMail0604
“Additionally, she may be using the term ‘styrofoam’ because she didn’t want to confuse her friend, who likely doesn’t know what polystyrene is.”
“She could easily have listened but used the more common term for ease of communication.” ~ Herring_is_Caring
Fun facts aren’t always fun.
“Also I’m wondering if maybe OP doesn’t realize that she’s getting annoyed because he won’t stop sharing ‘fun facts.’
“This is just speculation, but it’s informed by personal experience. I had a friend who enjoyed fun facts, but so much so that it got excessive.”
“If I were really busy doing things, they’d interrupt with ‘did u know…’ and it got incredibly annoying when I was trying to focus.”
“Sometimes it would even come across as arrogance because I’d say something like ‘ugh i hate styrofoam’ (not really styrofoam) and they’d respond with ‘AcTuALlY it’s not styrofoam it’s polystyrene!”’
“Being corrected when stressed is an easy way to get someone to snap at you.” ~ Practicalmango12
“Oh god, ‘did u know…’ reminded me of my BIL.”
“He’d share ‘fun facts’ about the most obscure sh*t. It got to the point where it was really obnoxious.”
“My favorite was when my wife actually DID know – by complete chance had done the subject and knew his fun fact in advance.”
His face fell, and he got visibly annoyed.”
“Some people like to ‘share’ facts as a way to try show how superior their intellect is.”
“They don’t care about spreading knowledge or having a conversation, but just want to show they ‘know’ more than other people.”
“What’s telling is how these ‘fun facts’ are often impossible to have a normal conversation about.”
“If they can start a conversation at all, it’s massively one-sided, with the ‘fact giver’ being in control, and the other person by default having to take a submissive role.”
“It gets tiring fast” ~ A-Grey-World
More to the story than annoyance?
“I’m ND, and I’ve had to work hard over the years not to be the fun facts person. I still slip up now and again.”
“Its hard when your brain feels huge and is so full of what I feel are fascinating facts that surely everyone would also love to know, but they really don’t. They just think you are a know it all.”
“I’ll say NTA because he just needs to learn to keep those facts to himself.” ~ Thestolenone
“Yeah I read this as either someone with a lot of ego and no regard for others or a ND person who doesn’t realize what they’re doing is actually not ok.”
“I don’t know which it is, but either way, it was a YTA move.” ~ Jellygnite
“I’m ND. Autistic and ADHD….this guy is still TAH.”
“Being ND doesn’t mean we treat our loved ones like trash on purpose.”
“We adapt to the information we are given. He’s being told he’s being an AH, lol.”
“He’s not willing to accept it because being a bad partner is a separate issue from autism.”
“Lol” ~ Sub_concious
“My understanding is this is because people misunderstand the intent behind facts.”
“A neurodivergent person is not being pedantic because they have to be right about something. It has to do with being accurate… like.. factual.”
“It’s only recently I learned this. I argue points not to be right but because I feel very deeply about accuracy to the facts.”
“OP is likely ND and is not aware that his interest in facts may not be interesting to everyone else, nor will NT people be rigid to facts like him.”
“My husband can only take so much ‘useless’ information, and I’m familiar with his eyes glazing over. Sounds like OP’s girlfriend is the same.”
“I hope I made sense to others. I know there is a lot of misunderstanding around ND behavior and motives.” ~ From_My_Office
“I also used to be that fun facts person.”
“Being ND doesn’t absolve you from being an a**hole, though.”
“Oversharing is no sin, but thinking someone doesn’t care about you because they don’t enjoy your random factoids is patently false.”
“Getting upset and equating this to disrespect is ridiculous, and I know plenty ND people – both ADHD and ASD – that are aware of that (although some needed a rude wake-up call or three).”
“To circle back to being ND not excusing being an a**hole: blowing up at his significant other over this was utterly uncalled for and demands a serious apology.”
“OP should do better and has hopefully learned his lesson here, ND or not. My verdict is a very clear YTA.” ~ Hanftee
Some were concerned about the relationship.
“OOP is a total AH and gross.”
“This is clearly an unhealthy relationship if he insists on ‘correcting’ her on things that don’t need to be.”
“If he feels like this is acceptable behavior to do in front of others, I’m concerned about what his behavior is behind closed doors.”
“He is dominating and demanding. Fun fact – this will only get worse.” ~ KnitPurl_Girl
“YTA – I personally happen to like fun facts, but I don’t feel like I need to share them all the time.”
“I think the major issue here is you complaining on the internet that your girlfriend isn’t treating you with respect.”
“Not everyone will have the same interests as you or be as excited about something as you.”
“If you view someone’s disinterest as disrespect, there are more concerning things going on. You’re 23. Here’s a fun fact, grow up.” ~ StrongPerspective630
We all like to be acknowledged.
Sometimes, that drive can lead us to lash out when we don’t get the validation we were craving.
Disinterest in a topic does not mean disinterest in you.