Parties can have a theme or just be an informal gathering.
Some people love the former, while others just want a simple get together.
A woman who loves putting on themed parties for her birthday discovered her guests were complaining about her elaborate shindigs behind her back.
Unsure if she should have asked her friends what they wanted, she turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for feedback.
“AITA for not serving a full meal at my birthday party?”
The original poster (OP) explained:
“My husband and I hosted my 29th birthday party yesterday and invited 6 of our friends (3 couples that we consider our core friend group).”
“I had come across the concept of molecular food pairings a few months ago and was really intrigued by the idea.”
“Some of the recommended pairings require expensive ingredients like caviar that I can’t justify buying on an average day but my birthday seemed perfect.”
“So that’s what the theme was—a molecular tasting party.”
“I put together a total of 15 ‘courses’ but they were very small, just a few bites each. There was also a moderate amount of other snacks laid out and cocktails.”
“It was from ~5-730pm. So a pre dinner snack.”
“It was dinner time for us. But it’s not when they eat dinner. When they host or book a table out, they’re 9-9:30pm eaters and I know that’s when they eat on most days.”
“I called it a tasting party in the invitation and gave an overview of what I was serving.”
“My husband and I both had a really good time. We ranked the pairings, had drinks and played card games. I thought everyone else enjoyed themselves too.”
“This afternoon, we got a text that was presumably sent to the wrong group chat that said, ‘can we just be honest and say that the whole thing was weird? She’s like this every year. The rest of us just go out, how has she not gotten the idea yet? It’s rude’.”
“Another person replied, ‘at least last year she made an actual meal. I’m mad I even brought a gift’.”
“I sent ‘WTF??’ back and the whole chat has been silent since.”
“I don’t know what to think.”
“Last year I ordered one of those elaborate murder mystery box games and decorated the whole downstairs of the house to suit the theme. It was a 1920s gangster box so I tried to make dinner fit into that but it was a pretty normal meal.”
“2021 was basically just Friendsgiving because we were still trying to limit gatherings so we just rolled it together.”
“2020 was just me and my husband.”
“2019 was held early as a combination Halloween/birthday party that was ‘fever dream dinner party’ themed. I made a lot of non edible ‘food’ (based on the horror show 50-70s era American cookbooks) out of clay and jello but ordered pizzas for food.”
“It took like 2 months to prep for but it really felt like a fever dream. That was a big party with a lot more guests and people still talk about it so I think that one was probably the best.”
“It really hurt my feelings and I don’t even feel like they like me at all if they talk about me like that but also… if I’m making people feel like they’re forced to participate in things they think are weird, that’s a selfish thing to do too and maybe they’re right.”
The OP summed up their situation.
“I haven’t considered the preferences of my guests when planning parties and I didn’t pick up on their unhappiness.”
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
The vast majority of Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole (NTA) but their friends were.
“NTA and I think for your birthday, you got the gift of learning these people aren’t your friends. If they were actual friends, they would have had a conversation about how ‘you are like this every year’ rather than just shit talk you behind your back.”
“Going forward, with a new group of friends, if you do something not ‘main stream’, I would say, hey I’m fascinated by the idea of XYZ. My husband and I want to host this, would you be interested in coming?”
“This way, if they don’t, you two still get to do this, but also expectations will be set that people know they are coming to something unusual.”
“I was invited to a ‘blind’ eating experience. I’m claustrophobic and have a very specific and deadly food allergy, so I said no and said why.” ~ LowBalance4404
“NTA. Your Friends are. Not for not liking what you did on your birthday.”
“But they could just have politely said that they weren’t totally into such kind of food. But apparently they acted normal and then started talking sh!t behind your back.”
“That’s a completely a**hole move.” ~ FaithlessnessOne3993
“NTA. And I think your party sounded fun! Even if I left hungry, it’s at least something different and interesting. Your friends are immature and sad.”
“‘…if I’m making people feel like they’re forced to participate in things they think are weird, that’s a selfish thing to do too and maybe they’re right…’.”
“That’s not selfish. But what your friends are doing is childish.”
“I bet they are panicking now. One of them will reach out to apologize.”
“When that happens, it’s up to you to decide if you want to accept an apology.” ~ VeronicaSawyer8
However some felt there were no a**holes here (NAH).
“I find it hard to believe you’ve never complained to your friends about an event you disliked that they also disliked.”
“OP tried an adventurous menu with small portions at dinner time, and it flopped. It happens, and it’s normal to vent to friends about bad meals.”
“There was just an unfortunate text mishap, and now feelings are justifiably hurt, but I don’t think anyone here is an a**hole. NAH.” ~ NandoDeColonoscopy
“It’s hard to say they are a**holes for not enjoying a party or feeling your hosting was inadequate. They messed up a text. It happens.”
“When I look generally, it reads like everyone else goes out for their birthday, dinner or drinks or whatever while you tend to host a party at home. You say you didn’t host it at their typical dinner time, but that implies you intended them to leave in time to get a meal after?”
“I’d be a little annoyed to get dressed, get a gift, and go for a party where I nibble things for an hour and then have to go make or buy dinner afterwards. That’s not even a full evening of socializing, even if we ignore what’s appropriate in terms of serving food.”
“But 1.5 hours you managed to have this ‘tasting’ and play cards and then they leave? I wouldn’t, for example, ask people to come to my house for my birthday, hand them a slice of cake and a cocktail and then call it a night.”
“Yeah they might eat late but that’s not good hosting. If I’m inviting people over, I’d try to make it worth their while in terms entertainment (time spent together) and refreshments (people shouldn’t leave hungry).”
“I’m going with NAH. I think you just aren’t on the same page with this group as far as what is fun/enjoyable.” ~ SnooPets8873
“NAH. I think whether we commenters find the party idea compelling or not isn’t really the point. You threw a party that wasn’t as fun for them as you thought it would be. Not everyone wants the same things, and navigating that is part of having a social life.”
“I’m sure you would have liked if they enjoyed your birthday party more, but they also had expectations for a night out that weren’t met. And there’s probably some sense in which they felt obligated to do what you wanted to do because it was your birthday.”
“But these are the sorts of things that aren’t anyone’s ‘fault’; just mismatched expectations.”
“Yes, it is sh*tty that they were careless and you heard their negative reaction to your party, but once you get past the initial sting, it doesn’t seem super malicious: if they didn’t like your party, they didn’t like your party.”
“They’re entitled to their feelings. What do you want them to do if they didn’t like it? I think we all get annoyed with our friends from time to time.”
“I realize this is a super weird take, but: the fact that they didn’t like it and tried (albeit unsuccessfully) not to let you know probably means that they like you enough to care about your feelings and for you to have a happy birthday and to indulge you from time to time.”
“They didn’t like whatever you did last year—but nonetheless sucked it up to do it again for you this year! They tried for you, and that matters more in friendship than similar taste in parties.”
“Yes, it was stupid and sh*tty and clumsy of them that you accidentally saw their grumbling about your party, but realistically, honestly friendship means begrudgingly doing a lot of sh*t for other people.”
“I don’t think this is the red flag about your friends that some in the comments here are making it out to be. Without any other evidence to suggest they’re bad people, this seems like just grumbling and complaining.” ~ wwplkyih
Now that OP knows her friend circle isn’t into her type of parties she can either retool future ones to meet their needs… or change up her guest list. We’d certainly have gotten a kick out of this party.