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Redditor Sparks Feud By Calling Out Brother’s ‘No Phones’ Rule When He Hosts Holiday Dinners

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When having dinner at another person’s house, it’s understandable to follow their rules, right? But what if they give you a rule you think is insulting?

Redditor Accepted_Racecar8702 explained that they and their brother are in an argument over the rule the brother instituted at Thanksgiving dinner. The original poster (OP) thinks the brother went over the line and was caving to pressure from his girlfriend.

But to see if they’re off base, OP decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about their situation.

“AITA for being mad about my brother’s no phone rule at Thanksgiving dinner?”

How did a “no phone” rule lead to this?

“This year Thanksgiving was at my brother and his girlfriend’s house. Edit to make clear: only for dinner not a sleepover or all day/night event.”

“His girlfriend made a rule of no phones allowed at the dinner. My brother never had this rule before but he said he agreed with it.”

“When you got there for dinner you had to turn your phone off and put it in a basket by the closet. No exceptions apparently. I thought this was a huge overstep and I am not the only one.”

“It’s ridiculous because we’re all adults and no one should have told us what to do. Again I am not the only one who felt this way. Other guests had the same problem as me and my husband.”

“Both of us were po’d about it. Technically I had Thursday and Friday off but I still would have liked to kept up with my emails and done some work even if I wasn’t getting paid for that time.”

“My brother got mad back at me when I told him how stupid of a rule it was. Him and his girlfriend are having Christmas dinner at their house too but I don’t want to go if the silly no phones thing is on during the dinner.”

“Me and my brother had 2 big arguments about it. My husband agrees with me. Other guests also agree and I told him he should stand up to his girlfriend over this silliness.”

“I know other people have said something to him and they agreed with me. He thinks we’re wrong.”

“There was an argument between my husband and him also. I think it’s a dumb rule to enforce on guests myself and I think my brother and his girlfriend are really off base here.”

OP and their family had an issue taking the night off from their phones, but they’re grown adults who can make their own decisions, right?

To find out, fellow Reddit users would judge OP by including one of the following in their response:

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

The most common consensus is that both the brother and OP were wrong. The brother went a little too far by forcing his family to turn off and deposit their phones in a basket, like they couldn’t control themselves otherwise.

But OP also proved exactly why such measures were necessary. Their complaints and insults didn’t help, and their vehement denial of the rule sounded more like a phone addiction.

Next time, just try talking to each other like adults.


“I understand having a ‘no phones to be used’ rule while at dinner. Physically removing peoples phones is a bit much.”

“HOWEVER – your reaction tells me they implemented this rule for a really good reason. They didn’t want you to come along, inhale their food and disrespect their hospitality by ignoring them on your phone.”

“You need to address your addiction to work if you can’t deal without working for ONE DINNER.” – Hefty_Candidate_4902


“I respect the idea of phones not being out the whole time, but confiscating them from everyone first is too far. It’s thanksgiving dinner, not the SAT’s. I’d at least want my phone on and in my pocket in case of emergency.”

“But I also think wanting to have your phone to check emails and ‘do work’ during a social gathering is kind of rude.”

“If I put in the effort for my friends and family to come over and enjoy themselves only for them to pull out their devices the whole time, I’d be a bit insulted.” – Throwmylifeaway190


“The fact that a rule was ‘needed’ makes you all assholes. Who spends thanksgiving dinner on their phone?”

“The rule also is stupid because your brother is treating his guests like children.” – LuckStrict6000

“I’m gonna go with ESH, but you quite a bit more than them.”

“They shouldn’t have been collecting phones in a basket and instead requesting that you keep them in your coat pockets and bags.”

“It can sometimes be stressful being around your family so you should be able to access them like an adult when you go to the bathroom or need a quick breather.”

“Collecting them is a bit infantilizing and makes it seem as if the adults cannot be trusted to be adults off the bat and follow the rule.”

“You however, do not get to dictate the rules in their house, and keeping on top of work while you’re with your family is rude and weird. It sends a strong message to your family members when you are constantly checking or working on work related stuff on your days off at a family function.”

“It’s also a big AH move to tell your brother he needs to stand up against his girlfriend in regards to this. It smacks of misogyny and strips your brother of free will.”

“That certainly shows what you think of his girlfriend and their relationship. Setting up a ‘her vs. the family’ scenario over something this stupid isn’t the ‘gotcha!’ you think it was and instead poisoned the well. Great job, OP.”

“I don’t know why you had to go straight to telling your brother how dumb it was, instead of like… talking like an adult with them and finding a solution instead of making a problem.”

“My first steps here would have been to reach out and say ‘Hey! I totally appreciate and respect your rule of not having phones and focusing on the family instead, but I would feel more comfortable if we could keep our phones in our coat pockets so that we can access them at intervals when we are not engaging with the family’” – aamfbta

The discussion brought up some other thoughts about cell phones and their place at the dinner table.

“I guess I’m old but I remember when there were no cell phones, I remember when there weren’t even pagers and some how everyone survived.”

“TBH I still don’t want to be that accessible🤔” – GeneralDismal6410

“Fair enough. But people use their phones to take pictures and videos too. So no pictures of thanksgiving?”

“It’s one thing to ask people not to be on their phone. But physically taking them? That’s over the top.” – RunningRunnerRun

“YTA, you can’t even eat supper without your phones? Stay home if it bothers you. It’s not a silly rule, it’s called respect.” – TraceyR53

“Exactly. I have never had a meal with my friends or family where I felt I needed to check my emails, or text someone. I did take pictures though.” – AntontheDog

“Omg I feel so bad for you and your husband. One dinner out of the year with no cell phones must have been so traumatic for you both.”

“The fact you had to sit and interact with your family instead of doing work emails is just straight torcher. Next year you can do the dinner and insist that everyone only communicate through text. Ugh what has happened to the world?” – LivePerformancem340i

OP should probably have a night or two away from their phone, but in the future, the family can open some lines of communication.

Maybe the brother would have had a better response if he notified and talked to the family about the expectations before the dinner. And the family could have a nice dinner.

Written by Ben Acosta

Ben Acosta is an Arizona-based fiction author and freelance writer. In his free time, he critiques media and acts in local stage productions.