Living next-door to neighbors can be a fun and memorable experience, depending on how everyone engages with each other.
But it can be an uncomfortable and even unsettling experience, as well, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Though Redditor AwayPerformer didn’t think that he was doing anything wrong, he thoroughly upset his female neighbor when he began to ask her to start cooking meals for him.
When she went so far as to call them “strangers,” the Original Poster (OP) began to wonder if he had crossed a line.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for asking a neighbor if she wanted to share food?”
The OP wasn’t particularly close to any of his neighbors.
“I’m a 31-year-old single guy who lives alone in an apartment complex. I’ve lived there for 6 years.”
“My neighbor across the hall, a woman around my age or a little younger (I actually don’t know her first name but I’ll call her Katie) lives across the hall from me diagonally and has for about 2 years.”
“We exchange hellos but aren’t friendly, which is how it is with most of my neighbors.”
The OP was recently looking for a way to provide meals for himself.
“So I don’t know how to cook, and due to losing one of my part-time gigs, I don’t have as much money for takeout anymore.”
“I’m getting really sick of eating cheap fast food or box mac and cheese. I’m gaining weight and I never feel great.”
“This is where Katie comes in. I can always smell her cooking in the hall and it always smells amazing (I know it isn’t the other person at the end of our hall because it’s a single old man, and the good cooking smells didn’t start until after she moved in).”
“I’ve even complimented it a few times.”
“So I got the idea that I’d offer to give her some money each week to cook a little extra and bring it over to me (or I can pick it up from her!) at night. She’s cooking anyway and then I’d have varied presumably delicious food.”
But Katie was not enthusiastic about the idea when the OP presented it.
“I asked her the next time I saw her and offered her $25 per week.”
“She looked surprised and said she couldn’t because she was too busy (which didn’t make sense cause she cooks almost every day but okay).”
“The next time I saw her a few days later, I asked her if she was sure and increased the amount I was offering to $70 per week.”
“She said she was sure and that it was rude to ask me, and that she isn’t a housekeeper for hire and I should get a housekeeper if that’s what I want.”
“She also called me ‘a stranger’ even though we have talked in the halls before.”
The OP didn’t see what the big deal was.
“Overall, she made me feel like a big jerk and really embarrassed for even asking her, and a little mad because she was acting like I was being creepy (I wasn’t, trust me, she isn’t my type).”
“I think asking her to split cooking wasn’t completely outlandish, since she cooks every day anyway and it wouldn’t be hard to make a little more.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some of the subReddit was disgusted with the OP’s behavior.
“YTA. Everyone else has laid out why really well but I also find it genuinely astonishing to ask someone whose first name you do not even know to cook for you?”
“Also, you are clearly not thinking about all the extra labor that would go into this hypothetical arrangement besides the shopping, prep, cooking, and packaging it up (Do you provide Tupperware or containers? Does she use hers, and do you factor in that cost?)?”
“Think about it, you two would have to be in constant communication now re: meals, if you expect food every time she cooks and assumes that is every evening then she now has to let you know every time she doesn’t, so every time she goes on holiday, or is out for the evening, or is having friends round and they are getting pizza, etc.”
“She also now needs to take into account your tastes and any dietary needs. If you don’t like what she cooks will you still pay her? Also, if you are not eating in, then you need to tell her, what if you spontaneously go out to dinner one evening after work and forget to let her know? Do you still pay her for what she makes or is she now out the cost of that food?”
“That is all actually a lot of planning, organization, and constant communication, like work and emotional labor.” – Asayyadina
“OP doesn’t even know her name!! I take back my previous comment that the asking was weird but the doubling down is the TA part.”
“Firm YTA. You don’t even know your neighbor’s name and yet you want to propose this kind of arrangement?”
“Be a little more self-aware, dude. At the very least, take the time to learn someone’s name before asking for a favor.” – nassauismydog
“Can we also add that OP felt because Katie cooks daily, that it shouldn’t be a problem and felt she lied because she said the extra cooking would be a hassle?”
“Since OP doesn’t cook, let me share this. Cooking daily or regularly, unless you like it, is not necessarily fun. Saying ‘just cause she’s doing it anyway’ isn’t right. You don’t know if she’s heating up leftovers, and you don’t know what’s going on in her kitchen.”
“Cooking for one is work. Even adding more to make it for two can lengthen the time she has to spend in the kitchen.”
“To say she’s lying because she cooks anyway is so wrong.”
“YTA for sure, OP.” – Thursdayfriday123
“Plus, what if she doesn’t want to cook every day and suddenly she has to? What if she likes making chicken pot pie but OP doesn’t like it and requests something else?”
“What if she wants a day off every now and then but OP picks up lasagne smells wafting from her apartment and gets offended because she’s not sharing? What if he decides he wants seconds and comes knocking on her door?”
“There’s absolutely no way the ideal arrangement in OP’s head would feel anything but intrusive and weird to his poor neighbor.” – WebbieVanderquack
“Can we talk about the ‘she’s not my type’ part? Like that excuses the behavior? ‘Sorry my behavior is creepy, sexist, entitled, and has made you feel uncomfortable in your own home, but you’re not my type, so like I deserve you to spend your valuable time cooking for and feeding me?!'”
“YTA, OP, for asking her and then doubly TA for continuing to harass her after she said no.” – BritJade2113
“I full-blown rolled my eyes at the ‘she’s not my type’ part. Creepy men always love pointing that out when they get called out for their s**t as if to say, ‘Don’t worry, sweetheart, you’re not good enough for me to be creepy towards and if you were then you should be flattered.'”
“Shut the f**k up, dude, you’re a f**king creep!” – oliveGOT
Others recommended the OP find some other method to feed himself, like learning to cook.
“Dude. What are you planning to do for the next 50 years of your life? Just never learn to cook? What kind of mindset is this? ‘I can just ask someone else to do this… Forever?'” – 404wan
“How do you know what more than covers groceries that are ingredients for a meal since you don’t cook?! Screw you if you think $5 covers good quality ingredients for a home-cooked meal.”
“And even if it did, what about her time, effort, and labor in planning meals, buying the groceries, taking them home, and preparing the meal? Are those not worth anything? Why do you think you’re entitled to those things for free or at all?!”
“You are such an oblivious creep, poor Katie, now she’s uncomfortable in her own home having to avoid you in the hallway.” – meeepmoopmeep
“YTA, lol (laughing out loud). Hey, since you’re doing laundry anyway, can I pay you to just do mine as well?”
“How about this, just learn to f**king cook a few dishes. It’s really not that hard, and is even really enjoyable whilst listening to music or a podcast.” – Inconvenient1Truth
“YTA. Learn to cook, and don’t expect women to provide for you when they don’t even know you. Women aren’t sitting around hoping strange men offer them money in order to help themselves to whatever they want.” – ASereneDeath
“Realistically, it probably doesn’t even cover expenses. Food’s cheaper when you buy in bulk, and especially when you buy at a store or restaurant but as she’s the average person that’s not happening.”
“I also know as a single person, my weekly grocery bill is higher than $25/week and I also cook virtually daily(I don’t eat breakfast so I’m only buying groceries for 2 meals a day, but we don’t know how many meals this lady cooks for).”
“Even when he rebuffed the offer to $70/week, while I’d say that is probably a give or take the average for my weekly groceries (can be more or less I’d say typically anywhere from 50-100 depending on what I’m buying and food sales) she’d maybe be breaking even on his food cost.”
“But, that literally doesn’t cover labor and even if she cooked the meal she’d have to then spend extra money on containers for the guy.” – UnNumbFool
After receiving feedback, the OP shared an update.
“Okay. It is abundantly clear that I was the a**hole and asking her was inappropriate and, as much as I hate to admit it, creepy.”
“My instinct is to apologize to her, but since my instinct was to ask her in the first place, I’ll do the opposite and stay out of her hair.”
The OP also shared a longer update on a “Reddit update” post.
“This thread was a real wake-up call for me about what a weirdo I was being. I ended up apologizing to my neighbor (whose name I now know!) and telling her I didn’t realize how inappropriate my question was. She accepted the apology and we still nod and smile in the hallway when we see each other.”
“I will say that I talked to my old man neighbor yesterday and he told me that she left him a tray of fudge over the weekend for the holidays, and I received no such fudge, so I know there is lingering weirdness from my ask… and I totally understand it and do not feel that I deserve fudge.”
“So, thanks again for everyone for pointing out how weird and entitled I was acting. It did help, even the mean comments, because seeing the strong reactions people had to what I did made me realize there was no wiggle room for me to NOT be an a**hole.”