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Woman Balks After Boyfriend Claims He’s ‘Bothered’ By How Her Family Treats Their House Staff

Adult male butler holding serving tray in formal parlor.
JacobsStockPhotography Ltd/GettyImages

There is something to be said about being from two different worlds in a relationship.

A big part of what makes worlds different is money.

Money affords different people different outlooks on life.

And those outlooks can cause drama when it comes to romantic pairings.

Seeing eye to eye can be difficult.

Case in point…

Redditor throwaway901908111 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for telling my girlfriend I’m bothered by the way she and her family treat their house staff?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I’ve (25 M[ale]) dating this girl (24 F[emale]) for about 5 months.”

“I knew her family was well-off based on the stories she told me about her upbringing, but I didn’t get a chance to meet her parents until this week when we all went to their beach house to spend a few days and celebrate her father’s 60th birthday.”

“The house wasn’t just HUGE but it also employed a staff of about 8 people.”

“I was never used to being served like that, and I witnessed some behaviors from my girlfriend and some of her family towards the workers that made me feel uncomfortable.”

“Some examples…”

“A) After our first night, I heard her mother tell one of the housekeepers to clean the bedroom my girlfriend and I were staying in.”

“I told her mother everything was in order and that I already made our bed before leaving.”

“Her mother then told me (in the presence of the housekeeper) that I shouldn’t bother because that’s her (the housekeeper’s) job.”

“B) The other morning my girlfriend and I woke up after everyone else had their breakfast.”

“I went into the kitchen to grab some coffee and saw the cooks were already starting to prep for lunch, so I told them I didn’t want to bother them and made the coffee myself.”

“My girlfriend came into the kitchen moments later and saw me making coffee.”

“Later that day she complained to her mother (without even asking me how things came about) that the cooks left me to make my own coffee.”

“I had to explain everything.”

“C) On her father’s birthday, they had a fancy dinner with some other guests that came for that day, and some of the staff were made to stand in the room with their backs to the wall as we sat at the table and ate (it was like some Downton Abbey s**t).”

“I kept my mouth shut for the entire trip, but as soon as we came back I couldn’t hold it any longer and told my girlfriend it made me really uncomfortable to see how she behaved towards the staff.”

“And also gave some examples of instances when I felt her parents were rude to them.”

“My girlfriend didn’t take this well.”

“She said that I’m the AH here for judging their lifestyle.”

“In her mind, we had a perfect week together and I was withholding my judgment until I could unleash it all on her.”

“I don’t think I’m an AH for speaking my mind.”

The OP was left to wonder:


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

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

Many Redditors declared OP WAS the A**hole.

“Obviously people, regardless of their job, should be treated with respect.”

“But, I just want you to consider a different perspective for a second – the staff might be 100% ok with the behavior you saw if they’re paid enough/feel confident that it’s better than other job options.”

“An outsider seeing my job would probably think some parts of it are ridiculous, but those parts are worth it to me as the person actually doing the job.”

“For example, when your GF’s mother said ‘Don’t make your bed, that’s the staff’s job,’ a staff member hearing that might think ‘She’s right, please don’t do my job for me because then she has no reason to pay me for that job.’”

“I’m not saying you’re in the wrong feeling uncomfortable with the behavior that you saw. I’m just cautioning you that you might be white-knighting for people who are actually ok with the work environment that you saw.” ~ Icythyosaurus

“Those were my thoughts as I was reading too.”

“I have never in my life been to a house where there are staff standing around the table while everyone is eating.”

“I would feel uncomfortable too.”

“But when I’m staying in a hotel I find it normal that waiters are serving the food and then standing around to make sure everything is in order, and that cleaning staff are cleaning my room every day.”

“It seems that this family is paying to have their household run as if it were a hotel.”

“This doesn’t have to be a bad thing.”

“In fact, the OP might have misstepped by going to the kitchen and making their own coffee – it’s possible that the staff saw this as an intrusion.”

“Adding to my own comment because I think this is the crux of the matter: the OP says in the title that they disapproved of the way the staff was treated, but what they actually disapproved of was the specific jobs they were employed to do.”

“They think they are showing solidarity for the staff, but they are actually showing that they find their jobs demeaning.” ~ Wise-Entrepreneur971

“Um, in many circumstances, in a household that has a full household staff, it would be considered unbelievably rude and out of pocket for a staff member to tell a guest not to do something, though, if he insisted.”

“Guests are meant to be treated with deference, and staff generally mean to be nearly invisible as much as possible.”

“The way it usually works is that a staff member would offer to do something (like make the coffee), but if (as OP says) he insisted on doing it himself, they wouldn’t dare tell him no.”

“He’s a guest.”

“Even if it got in their way because his needs and wants are more important than theirs.”

“This is why he was actually the one who put the staff in an uncomfortable situation: if their job is cleaning and cooking, don’t get in the way or try to do their job for them, because they absolutely won’t say no to you if you insist, but you are likely being more of a pain in the ass than if you let them do it.” ~ Sorry_I_Guess

“THIS!!!! Every time we do a big family holiday now where my mom’s little sister is told to bring something.”

“She shows up with it unmade.”

“So while my mom, her middle sister, me and my sister, and my grandma have a system down pat and delegate.”

“She shows up insisting on doing something or using space to do what she was asked ahead of time.”

“And now we’ve just stopped asking her to bring things other than store-bought vegetable platters.”

“OP was in my mind.”

“Actually a nuisance to that staff.”

“Even making his bed the morning of probably made it harder for the Housekeeper to unmake and remake the beds in the way that’s most efficient for her.”

“And going into a hot (as in things are in progress) kitchen disrupts the flow.”

“Hell, I’m a designer/architect, and for commercial kitchens or even large kitchens like this, you would actually hire a kitchen consultant who can put together a design that’s down to the inch thinning about use and flow and how many people will be and where.”

“OP made himself a bother and didn’t respect the jobs of the staff.” ~ Choice_Werewolf1259

“This, especially the last part.”

“Nobody likes it when people walk into their place of work and start doing it themselves.”

“You wouldn’t walk behind the bar at a restaurant to grab a glass of water either.”

“I pay a lady to come and do my ironing every few weeks and she would chew me out if I started helping her by I don’t know folding the clothes that she was ironing.”

“She does her job and takes pride in her neat folding.” ~ Mamiofplants

“I went to Kenya and was at a resort.”

“Those employees were super nice and wanted to do everything for me… even bring me water to wash my hands when I could perfectly walk to the faucet myself.”

“Actually, I was told refusing to be catered to is seen more of an insult to them.”

“Servitude is their way of hosting a person to the best of their abilities.”

“And they refused a tip as well.”

“I realized it was a different culture.”

“In Uganda, I was also there briefly, the women come and sit on their knees next to you to serve you.”

“I kid you not.”

“So in OP’s situation, he doesn’t realize that by refusing to let those people serve him, HE IS ESSENTIALLY DENYING THEM A JOB AND SOURCE OF LIVING!!”

“The girlfriend’s parents have employed these people and they are perfectly happy to have a job.”

“It is even worse for him because he is essentially saying he doesn’t need them and they should be fired.” ~ _InnocentToto_

“OP is TA for his insufferable ‘eat the rich’ attitude.”

“He condescendingly assumes that his girlfriend’s household staff are suffering in a demeaning job and must be ‘helped’ in ways like making his own coffee and bed.”

“He naively white-knighted for them and gets self-righteously indignant when his efforts were not appreciated.”

“Despite being clearly ignorant of how people in his girlfriend’s world live, he accuses them of classism and blusters ‘I’m just speaking my mind’ when rightly called out for spewing his ignorance.”

“While his girlfriend and her mother were overly blunt in their complaints to him, he did not witness any abuse.”

“He merely saw a day in the working life of service staff, assumed the worst because they were employed by people of a higher income level, and tried to make things awkward and difficult for everyone to satisfy his own warped version of social justice.” ~ harrohamtaro

“Specifically with the bed thing, they probably have a certain standard as to how the beds need to be made per their employer (GF’s parents).”

“I can basically guarantee OP didn’t do it right.” ~ Melodic-Actuary2836

Well, OP, although you had the best of intentions, Reddit has a few issues with your behavior.

This really sounds like a big misunderstanding.

You weren’t used to this type of lifestyle.

This could be solved with a deeper and less emotional conversation with your GF.

Good luck.