Part of your job as a friend is to give the best advice you can. But you also need to know when your advice is warranted, and how to give it without being condescending.
User PuritanPayne is in a bind, as they feel they gave some good advice to a friend, but think they might have gone about it the wrong way.
The original poster (OP) decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) on Reddit about their situation.
Their question was:
“AITA for telling my best friend that that she will basically never get her dream job with knuckle tattoos?”
This was the situation:
“My best friend is working very hard to get her master’s in library science to be an official librarian. At some point, she made a deal with her ex that is still her tattoo artist, and that he will tattoo BOOK WORM on her knuckles once she gets her degree.”
“We keep the conversation civil, and I am not against the tattoo itself. My only problem is the placement of it.”
“This time I just asked if it mattered to her when looking for a job what the employer might think of her knuckle tattoos. She answered that she didn’t care because she doesn’t care what others think of it.”
“Annoyed with her answer I replied with, ‘Enjoy being a librarian page for the rest of your career’.”
“We ended the conversation there, and I left with this feeling that I crossed a line.”
“I want my friend to be successful with their career path.”
“She has gone through so much to get to this point. So, adding another obstacle in the way at the end is upsetting.”
When someone goes to the AITA subReddit, they explain their story, how they reacted and ask if they were wrong. Commenters then judge the poster based on whether they think they were the titular a**hole.
This is done with one of the following comments:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
OP’s comment was seen as completely unnecessary and possibly hurtful. Other people had issues with the advice itself, feeling that OP’s friend is the best judge for her own future.
The final decision is OP is the a**hole.
“YTA- you crossed the line when you said she’d never progress beyond a page position. You should have voiced your concern and dropped it after she responded.”
“I’m a librarian, specifically a children’s librarian in a public library. I have visible tattoos that I don’t cover up.”
“I do storytimes, go to schools, teach children, and work the circulation desk. No one cares about my tattoos.”
“Every library is different, some care about tattoos and some don’t, but at the end of the day it’s her body and she can do with it what she wants.” – RetroBibliotecaria
“Like, there are very few tattoos I can see having issue with. If she tattooed genitals on her face, or if she got a big ol swastika or some other bigot’s tattoo then yeah, okay sure. Not gonna get hired.”
“But benign knuckle tattoos? Shoot, I’m pretty sure one of the guys at my local library has stars on each knuckle and no one cares.” – wheelshit
“YTA, it’s upsetting to you.”
“Is this your carreer?”
“Is it your tattoo?”
“It is your life?”
“No? Then stay out of it unless asked for your opinion.” – river_221b_
“YTA- Almost everyone at my local library is tattooed. Why would it matter? And It’s one thing to bring up your concern, but you were an absolute a**hole in how you ended it, that comment was a super a**hole thing to do” – RedHeadFire89
Other users were more sympathetic, however. While they weren’t thrilled with the snide comment about OP’s friend never moving up, they felt the advice was sound.
But they didn’t think OP is a jerk for wanting to watch out for their friend.
“You are making a good point. Tattoos in certain places can make it harder to find employment in post college jobs.”
“She is not thinking long term which will bite her. But it’s her mistake to make.” – trekie88
“Depending on the area as well she may be restricted to urban areas, rural areas can be very conservative and outdated and chances of getting jobs with visible tattoos is slim. They usually demand you cover them” – FlashyCelery2275
“NTA for pointing out that many libraries may take tattoos into account when hiring, especially knuckle tattoos. I have a large tattoo on my arm, and I have had to cover it for jobs.”
“Knuckle tattoos are going to be fairly difficult to cover. However, YTA for making the snide comment about her being a library page.” – alcoholicmovielover
“NAH – you made a valid point, which she brushed off and you then responded a bit unfairly. There isn’t an AH here.”
“Librarians are generally cool people, loads have tattoos etc. If she wants to work in more academic settings it might not help, but it might not be a deal breaker.”
“Also knuckle tattoos in general just seem like a bad idea to me, like face and neck.”
“Depending on where you are librarian positins can be very hard to get, in the UK the profession is being repeatedly decimated, some local libraries are losing huge numbers of staff and are expected to replace them with volunteers.” – tomtomclubthumb
OP read a lot of the comments and felt the comments about their relationship with their friend were out of line.
So they commented to clarify what the judgement is supposed to be about.
“Okay seeing some comments so far and I realized I should have added some more info here.”
- “She already has tattoos and is working at her local library”
- “I also have knuckle tattoos and have to deal with that judgement from the employer”
- “We both complain about how majority of the libraries we deal with and the hiring librarian and/or director around us are all boomers who like the olden days of silent women and clean cut men”
“Also I will accept that I am the a**hole with my end remark. My emotions got the better of me plain and simple. I will say to those who think I am judgmental please reflect before passing judgement yourself.” – PuritanPayne (OP)
OP’s defense continued in an edit to their original post:
“Talked to my friend and showed her this post. She laughed and was unaware of what I even said and didn’t realize that I was so concerned about it.”
“She mentioned to me that her tattoo artist is also against this idea and will only do it when she has a job with security.”
“Like I said in the comments I still think I am an a**hole for my comment no denying that. Pass all the judgement you want on that I don’t mind.”
“Judging my relationship and friendship with her is uncalled for and wasn’t part of my question. She knows and is aware that I support her and not once has our friendship been up for debate over any disagreement.”
“Thank you to those who understood what my question was and for what it was.”
OP’s best move was what they eventually did: talk to their friend.
The situation ended up making a mountain out of a molehill.