We’ve all eavesdropped on conversations in public at one time or another.
But one guy on Reddit took things a bit further by contributing his opinion to the conversation he was listening in on—and the person he was listening to didn’t appreciate it.
The Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure about how he’d handled things, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for input.
“AITA For asking a woman to explain her ‘opinion’?”
“So I (M[ale] 31) went to a pub last Saturday to have a few beers with my friend. I was halfway through my second pint so I was rather sober during the encouter.”
“I overheard a girl (20s) at the table next to us state to her friend -I used to be an anarchist, but I’m not one anymore, because now I see how stupid that was.'”
“For some reason this sentence frustrated me. I just couldn’t help but wonder whether she even knows what anarchism even is.”
“So I asked politely, without raising my voice or being condescending I asked ‘Excuse me miss, but you would you mind to explain why you think anarchism is stupid?’ (I want to note that this exchange didn’t happen in English, and in my language we use a very polite tone to speak to strangers and we always call them miss/mister)”
“She looked at me confused and asked ‘why would I need to explain myself to a stranger?’ I explained that I was just wondering if she knew what anarchism actually stands for, because there is a lot of misconceptions about this term floating aroun the internet and that if she could be unintentionally spreading those misinformation around.”
“If that was the case I thinks it’s really harmful for the movement.”
“She looked upset and left with her friend without an answer. My friend told me I was a massive a**hole and that I should had just minded my own business, but this is an issue I am really passionate about, so I might be a bit biased.”
“Can I get some outside perspective?”
OP then came back to add a bit more information.
“I’m not assuming she didn’t know what she was talking about. I just genuinely hoped to have an interesting conversation if a potential comrade.”
“I didn’t press for an explanation, I simply asked once. If she told me she doesn’t feel comfortable speaking with a stranger I would have respected that.”
Redditors were then asked to evaluate who was in the wrong in this interaction using the following acronyms:
- 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 weren’t at all on OP’s side.
“YTA. People are entitled to their own ‘opinions’ without having to explain themselves to random neckbeards at the pub” —sineadtwiggy
“You inserted yourself into her conversation with someone else… You presume that she can’t possibly know about anarchism because she doesn’t share the same view you do…”
“…She doesn’t care. You’re not the spokesman for ‘the movement’, nor is she speaking in a public forum.”
“It was a private conversation that you inserted yourself into. She is perfectly within her rights to kick you back out of it.” —janewilson90
“OP reminds me of the raging misogynist who literally went ON TELEVISION, aside a feminist head woman in ‘the movement,’ who literally told him that catcalling and street harassment made women uncomfortable… and he responded immediately that he would stop if a woman told him it made them uncomfortable.”
“She was literally doing just that, and he dismissed it, invalidated her, and apparently needs EVERY INDIVIDUAL WOMAN to reject his nasty advances before learning the fundamental lesson.”
“The lesson I learned is that misogynists are so self-absorbed that they’re essentially deaf, dumb, and blind.” —Mystic_Corgi
“You didn’t ask nicely. You weren’t curious. You WANTED to be able to correct her. YTA.” —FascinatingFall
“Omg gone are the days when mansplaining was just for meetings and classrooms. Now women can’t even have private conversations.” —lemonsherbet2
“YTA. In pretty much every language and culture, it’s still very rude that you chose to address a random stranger about something you overheard in passing.”
“The fact is you wanted to make a point and weaponised politeness as a way to be TA. Politeness is meant for kindness and civility, not to disguise rudeness.” —_its_only_forever
“YTA and a misogynist, would you have asked a random man whether he knew what it meant if he had said the same thing? By your wording I’m betting not.” —iwanttosayonething
“YTA; mind your business she didn’t ask you and you just inserted yourself into that conversation” —Fleetures
“YTA so just because of what she said was not matching with your point of view, your first assumption was that she doesn’t understand it, hence questioning her intelligence. I wonder if you would speak and question a guy like you did her.” —uniqaa
“Mind your own business.”
“In addition, you dont get to gate-keep what it stands for. There are many schools of thought, even within traditional anarchism, and that’s without more modern ‘common usage’ definitions.”
“So double YTA.” —Stoat__King
“YTA. She didn’t owe you an explanation. You came across as condescending. Sooo yeah.” —michela-is-fkin-gay
“YTA and a entitled one at that. You’re as bad as those men, that walk up to woman in public randomly, just because she’s wearing a band or fandom t-shirt and start badgering them to prove their ‘actual’ fans.” —KleinGremlin
After reading his fellow Redditors’ responses, OP came back to add a final update on how their words impacted him.
“I want to apologize to everyone who I have invalidated with my words. I thought if myself as a feminist, I am a misogynist.”
“I have a lot of reflection to do on actions, because this whole situation is just embarrassing for me. I’m just a nobody in the internet, but I just was to let you all know I am going to do better and be better.”
At least OP learned something from this experience.