When you make plans with friends or family, when is it OK to add extra people to tag along?
And is it OK for people to back out of those confirmed plans because of the add ons?
After a group of friends differed on this question, one young man turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
Redditor BrightDuck6 asked:
“AITA For Cancelling Plans Because My Friend Brought His Kid?”
The Original Poster (OP) asked:
“I (18 male) planned to go to the beach [to surf] with my friends (18m, 17m, 18 female) yesterday. It was cold but nice and seemed like the perfect weather for surfing.”
“However, before I left the house, my friend ‘Jay’ announced to the group chat that he’d invited his girlfriend ‘Ellie’ and their toddler with us.”
“Honestly, I know how these things go, the day ends up revolving around whether the kid is too warm or too cold or needs a nap, so I made up an excuse not to go and stayed at home with my dog all day.”
“Unfortunately, Jay got suspicious. My mate ‘Tom’ and I seem to have a habit of cancelling whenever his kid is involved and he got offended by it.”
“We have explained multiple times before that being around the kid makes us uncomfortable and that springing it upon us isn’t fair, but he was still pissed off we cancelled short notice.”
“He said if we’re friends with him we need to be friends with his gf and toddler too. I have no issues with Ellie but I don’t want to hang out with his toddler all the time.”
“I have nieces and nephews and kids just aren’t for me. AITA?”
The OP added more information.
“I mentioned this in one of the comments and someone recommended I add it here but one of the reasons we are so uncomfortable is that Tom—one of our teen friends—is autistic.”
“The toddler—who is not autistic—is allowed to pull our hair and put sticky fingers in our face and Tom—the teen who is autistic—can’t deal with that but the parents don’t prevent their toddler from doing it to him.”
The OP added after people were still getting it wrong:
“Clearly I didn’t make this clear enough but TOM my teenage friend who also cancelled is autistic, the toddler is not.”
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 OP was not the a**hole.
“NTA. ‘We have explained multiple times before that being around the kid makes us uncomfortable and that springing it upon us isn’t fair, but he was still pissed off we cancelled short notice’.”
“You did communicate with Jay about this. Jay refuses to listen and continues planning on activities with the kid.”
“Nothing you can do if Jay doesn’t listen. Jay is probably thinking that he can wear you down…..” ~ Oksummer4323
“Also, Jay is the one who first changed the plans on short notice, so he should probably not get mad at others for following suit?”
“OP is most definitely NTA.”
“If the subject comes up again and he mentions you changing the plans last second, i would be sure to point out that he changed them first.” ~ drukqsx
“NTA. It’s no different than if Jay changed the venue or activity at short notice.
You agreed to one type of gathering, Jay changed it to something else and you said, ‘no thanks’.
If he doesn’t want people to cancel last minute he should stop changing the activities last minute. Jay has no one to blame but himself.” ~ LakotaGrl
“Why is he pissed if you cancel on short notice but it’s ok that he invites 2 other people, one of them a toddler no less, on short notice without asking the other participants?” ~ Serafiniert
“This is exactly the issue in my mind. It’s the good ol ‘it’s ok for me, not for thee’ philosophy.”
“He knows the group doesn’t want to hang out with a baby all day and so he springs up the addition last minute on everyone.”
“If anyone cancels last minute he thinks they’re the ones being jerks even though he didn’t respect anyone else’s feelings on the matter before making a last minute change.” ~ CMDR_KingErvin
“Maybe Jay is trying to still have friends and feel like life as he knew it isn’t over because he has a child. Maybe he’s trying to bring the two parts of his life together.”
“Maybe Jay is trying to feel like his old self despite sleepless nights and new pressures and expectations. Just a guess.” ~ OkapiEli
“I’m certain that’s what’s happening. Jay hasn’t figured out that it has changed and he can’t hang onto his old life by foisting his baby into every situation like it’s no big deal.”
“It is a big deal.”
“The reason he’s ‘offended’ is because the cognitive dissonance is painful between the fantasy of how he convinced himself things could be, and how they actually are.” ~ Sheila_Monarch
“Agreed. A day at the beach with a toddler is a pretty different event than a day at the beach with only adults.” ~ Perspex_Sea
“This is what I’m thinking too. Jay needs to realize some activities aren’t kid friendly.”
“There’s ways to include kids. A ‘day with the boys’ doing dangerous activities is not it.”
“Not to mention, the general rudeness of: changing the plans on short notice. Repeatedly.”
“Just that right there would lead me to invite him less. If I don’t even invite him, he can’t change the plans, can he?” ~ boogers19
“NTA bringing your kid radically changes the whole outcome of the outing. I wouldn’t want to go either.”
“He needs to understand that his childless friends in their late teens are probably not going to want to hang out with the toddler all the time.”
“He has a completely different life now.” ~ ComfortableZebra2412
“As someone that has taken a baby and toddler to the beach, I would whole heartedly agree that a kid radically changes the outcome of what anyone without a kid would expect a ‘fun day at the beach’ to be.”
“It’s not fair to expect someone without a kid to deal with the drama of a kid screaming bloody murder because the water touched their foot, or because a bird looked at them, or because you can’t find a shark to pet.”
“No prior warning or any request for permission to bring the kid is NOT cool and you are certainly NTA.” ~ sailingangry
“NTA. If Jay is going to make his friends hang out with his toddler, he is going to find himself without friends.”
“It’s totally reasonable for 18 year olds to not want to spend time with a toddler.” ~ pizzamartini
Some Redditors suggested if OP is a good friend, he should compromise with Jay…
“However, friendships are give and take. If you want to be a good friend, make a compromise.”
Jay sounds like a good dad who actually includes his gf (who presumably is also young) and his baby. But you also need to spend time with him alone, and that’s fair.”
“How about having the baby along, say, no more than once a week or every other week (depending on how often you hang out, majority of meets should be child free), or perhaps find certain activities where gf and toddler is invited, while others are off limits?”
“I suggest you use this opportunity to develope something called emotional maturity, meaning that you sometimes do things for others because it makes them happy.” ~ Darktwistedlady
…but most Redditors disagreed.
“While this is solid advice, it’s a little besides the point. The issue at hand is that Jay announced last minute that he’d be bringing his toddler, meaning the day would be going entirely different than originally planned.”
“Developing emotional maturity and compomising with your mates is all well and good. But the problem here is that said mate changed plans for all involved at the last minute, and that’s an a**hole move.”
“NTA. But do talk to your mate, if you intend to stay friends with him. Find a way to compromise, make it so certain hang-outs are kid free, etc…” ~ Bart_T87
“I don’t think your advice fits this situation. OP has communicated discomfort with having social time taken over by a toddler; friend has responded by sneaking toddler into plans at the very last minute to try to prevent OP from having a choice in the matter.”
“That’s not a situation where you compromise; it’s one where you express your boundaries very clearly and defend them.”
“If a friend is trying to keep in touch but lacks childcare, or is saying it means a lot for them that their baby be included sometimes, that is a situation where compromise makes sense.”
“But when someone tramples all over your boundaries and tries to take away your autonomy, it’s not ’emotional maturity’ to give them what they want.”
“Emotional maturity is being able to balance your needs with the needs of others; in this case, friend is already trying to completely invalidate OP’s needs, so offering a ‘compromise’ would only validate ‘If you ignore my boundaries enough, I’ll give you at least some of what you want’.”
“Any obligation to compromise ended when the friend started trying to sneak their kid into plans at the last moment knowing that OP wouldn’t be okay with it.”
“If keeping the boundary ends the friendship, then it wasn’t a good friendship to begin with. Never feel obligated to compromise with people who trample over your boundaries and invalidate your perspective.” ~ littlefiddle05
Redditors agreed if you make plans, but one person decides to change those plans at the last minute, people who don’t want to do the new activity aren’t wrong to cancel last minute in response.