We all have our own interests, hobbies, and ways in which we cope.
But just because we like an activity or a coping mechanism works for us doesn’t mean that it will work for someone else, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor peeps-mcgee was attending a quiet, folksy concert that they had been looking forward to, but they soon noticed that the person attending next to them was knitting.
Because the performance space was so quiet, the Original Poster (OP) couldn’t help but hear the clicking of the knitting needles.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for asking the lady sitting next to me at a concert to stop knitting?”
The OP was excited to attend a recent concert.
“I went to a concert tonight at a seated venue to see a folk singer. The music is relatively tame, quiet, and fairly emotional. In my opinion, seeing this artist is a pretty immersive music experience, at least for me.”
“I was really excited to see this particular show at a seated theater where it’s easier to just focus on the music. I’d venture a guess that most of the people who would go to this type of show are going because they’re emotionally invested in this person’s music.”
But the person attending next to them did something that surprised the OP.
“The show started, and I noticed the woman sitting directly next to me was knitting. Odd, I thought, but okay.”
“But as the show went on, I kept finding myself so distracted by this knitting. I must have tried for a solid 30 minutes to ignore it, but the constant motion in my peripheral vision and the quiet clicking of the needles kept stealing my attention away from the show.”
“This was a fairly quiet folk show at a theater, as opposed to a rock or pop concert at an arena. The room was dead silent outside of the performance itself.”
“The set included some full band songs, some solo acoustic, and some that were just vocals plus fiddle and guitar. The needles did make a clicking sound, probably equivalent to someone typing on their phone with long nails.”
The OP decided to try to improve the situation.
“After a while, I felt like I couldn’t focus on the show at all, and all I could think about was whether I should try to politely say something.”
“The woman was with a partner, and I noticed on their other side there were two or three open seats.”
“So I finally worked up the courage to politely say something. I thought the best and least disruptive way to do that was to write a note on my phone and show it to her, so that’s what I did.”
“The note said (this is a direct copy-paste), ‘I’m so sorry to ask, and I know this is probably ridiculous, but the knitting is distracting me from enjoying the show. Would you mind either stopping or moving one seat over? Again, I’m sorry.'”
The woman’s reaction to the message surprised the OP.
“I don’t know, I assumed anyone who knitted in public, and especially someone at this kind of very chill show, was probably a generally chill human, so I was not expecting the kind of negative reaction that followed.”
“The woman gave me the NASTIEST look, let out an angry sigh, threw her hands up, dramatically stuffed her knitting stuff into her bag, huffed and puffed to her partner, and then got up and COMPLETELY LEFT THE SHOW.”
“I was so baffled by how angry she got, especially since I tried really hard to phrase this as politely as I could.”
The OP felt incredibly conflicted.
“I even considered that maybe there are reasons beyond my understanding why someone might not be able to sit still during a show and might need to keep their hands busy (Neurodivergence? Some sort of recovery? Some other reason?), so I REALLY tried to avoid speaking up out of sensitivity.”
“And again, it’s why I included the suggestion that maybe she could just slide over instead of stopping completely.”
“I realize that knitting is definitely not the MOST disruptive thing a person could do, and I couldn’t tell if me asking her to stop was unreasonable and maybe I should have just sucked it up, but I thought I was polite about it and I’m still just really shocked at how mad she got and even more shocked that she completely left the show halfway through the set.”
“AITA for asking her to stop knitting or move one seat over?”
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 were critical of the OP being distracted by the knitting.
“I could see if she was dancing wildly or talking loudly. But knitting? If someone beside you knitting is that disruptive to your attention, you’re not as into the performer as you claim. Of course, YTA.” – Miserable_Dentist_70
“How dare anyone act different in any way in your lordly presence. Don’t people realize the world revolves around you?”
“YTA. You saw someone doing something weird, even though they were not actually affecting you in any way beyond your entitlement to control others’ behavior. They were not loud or obnoxious. They were minding their own business and trying to enjoy the show and notably did not try to control anyone else’s behavior.”
“But you thought, ‘This is weird and therefore must be stopped,’ and it was weird, and so you were being defended because anything out of the ordinary must be objectionable.”
“I like doing stuff with my hands. If I was at that concert, I might have been doing a crossword because it helps me pay attention and enjoy the music. Would you have harassed me because of the gentle scraping of my pencil? Would my audacity of being different from you have driven you to distraction?” – chuckberrylives
“YTA! She wasn’t doing anything to harm you. You’re just a curmudgeon.” – Substantial-Job4759
“You are ABSOLUTELY TA. I knit everywhere because of mental health reasons; it’s literally the only way I don’t fidget or panic in crowded places or loud events. You tried to be polite, but your request was inconsiderate to her needs and the reason why she was knitting in the first place.”
“I honestly probably would have cried if someone said that to me! I used to knit in high school during lessons in class because of how bad my anxiety was back then and still is. If it bothered you so much, you should have moved, but instead, you ruined her concert-going experience. YTA.” – biddywoman1
“YTA. As a person with AuDHD (Autism and ADHD), I absolutely get something like that being unbearably distracting.”
“HOWEVER, you stated that there were several empty seats further down, so why didn’t you move? You were the one with an issue, and asking someone else to change what they are doing for your sake when you can just as easily do that thing to the same effect yourself is not a good look.”
“With no other context, it does seem as though the knitting women reacted strongly to your request, BUT I stand that you were wrong to make the request at all when you could have moved yourself.” – Marie_S_Raven
But others understood why the OP would be distracted at a quiet concert.
“I really want to say YTA, but NTA. You couldn’t have been nicer.”
“I’m also a fidget knitter. Dark car rides, court, poolside, parks. I’m taking two projects to work and a spinning wheel. After all this time, I can almost do ribbing on tiny needles in the dark. It would work if I had spun the alpaca a shade tighter.” – Billy0598
“OP is absolutely NTA. Anyone saying otherwise has never been to a stripped-down folk or acoustic show, you can hear a pin drop as the audiences are generally very quiet, similar to a classical concert. The clickety-clack of knitting needles would certainly be audible and would certainly be distracting if you were sat close.”
“Plus, as someone who has played dozens of shows like this, seeing someone in the audience just knitting away would be demoralizing as a performer and would feel pretty disrespectful. I don’t knit, so I would assume it had their full attention, and they weren’t particularly interested in my music.” – leboydiabolique
“NTA. You asked nicely, and moving one chair over seems like a reasonable suggestion. I find the clicking of needles to be a soothing sound when I knit, but I agree that it’s definitely a sound that isn’t easy to ignore (especially if they’re metal).”
“Her reaction was pretty out of proportion to the ask.” – Illustrious-Shirt569
“I’m a knitter and you are NTA. Leaving this comment to explain why someone would do this.”
“I personally struggle to concentrate when my hands aren’t busy. So in a meeting or listening to a podcast, if I’m knitting or doodling or doing something to keep my hands busy, it’s actually easier to listen. So I bet she was better able to enjoy the music while knitting.”
“However, there are social norms in a theatre. Knitting does make a clicking noise, so she was the a**hole for taking her knitting to a show and then even more the a**hole for being dramatic when you asked her to stop.” – Ms-DangerNoodle
“As a knitter and friend of knitters, NTA. My friends will knit places I wouldn’t dare (i.e., church) as a way of keeping their hands busy. Kind of like how I used to doodle in class. It helped me pay attention.”
“But even if she had a genuine medical need (some kind of neurodivergence, as you said), moving over a seat isn’t a huge ask when there are other seats to be had.”
“I don’t find knitting particularly distracting, but if I can’t hear or see anything else if a TV is on in the room I’m in, and I imagine it’s rather similar.”
“I think you would only be TA if you had seats next to you that you could move to and instead made it her problem, or if you had been rude about it.” – Chromaphilia
The subReddit could understand the frustrations of being distracted at a concert, but they were left to debate whether or not someone knitting at a quiet concert would count as distracting.
But the subReddit could at least agree that the OP took the most polite approach possible if they were going to speak to the woman at all.