Dealing with being polite versus being honest when asked your genuine opinion can be a fine line. While you shouldn’t have to lie if someone asks, you need to temper your delivery with some tact.
In the case of Redditor Thrwra_cookingsis, her comment started a fight with her sister and her sister’s family. The original poster (OP) gave an honest answer about her sister’s cooking, and now OP isn’t sure if she said the wrong thing.
OP decided to figure out if she was a jerk for what she said by asking the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about her situation.
OP asked a group of strangers on the internet:
“AITA For Telling My Sister Why I Won’t Eat Her Food?”
She feels pretty justified in why:
“My (42F[emale]) sister (35F) has always prided herself on being a perfect housewife. She has two kids in middle school and stays home taking care of them and her five dogs.”
“Her husband is the breadwinner of the family so she focuses on chores, cooking, child care, etc. The one thing my sister prides herself on the most is her cooking.”
“She’s always experimenting with new dishes and loves cooking for other people. The issue is, not only is she not as good as she thinks, she is also extremely unhygienic.”
“She always has her (very long) hair down, never washes her hands, lets her dogs in the kitchen, you get the point. Our family often tells her how great her cooking is but I just can’t stomach it knowing how she cooks.”
“I’ll always make an excuse when invited over like I’m too busy or I’m not hungry, which usually works as I do work a very tiring job.”
“Last night I was invited over to dinner to celebrate her husband’s promotion and it was one of the times I couldn’t refuse. The kitchen and dining room are open so I could see everything she was doing from my spot at the table.”
“Not only was her hair down and she was cooking in a very large knit sweater, I also watched her stick her fingers in pans then lick them and pick up her dachshund and carry him around the kitchen. At one point she even set the dog on the counter with the cutting board so she could grab something and he took advantage to start eating the hamburger meat that was laying out.”
“I was so disgusted I had to try hard not to gag.”
“Obviously, I didn’t eat during dinner and just tried to make small talk but of course, she noticed. When asked why I wasn’t eating I tried to make excuses like I wasn’t hungry before giving in and saying I was grossed out by the way she cooks.”
“I said as calmly as I could that she was unhygienic and I didn’t want to risk eating food with hair in it or that she stuck her unwashed fingers in. Well, my sister was shocked and burst into tears right then and there.”
“She told me she worked extremely hard on these meals and that I was being insensitive. She even went as far as to say I was just jealous because I didn’t have a family to cook for since I’m single with no kids.”
“I told her to get over herself, said I would never eat her gross food and left.”
“She and her husband have been texting me all night calling me an asshole. They said I was being dramatic about the food and I really hurt her feelings, there was no hair in it and it tasted fine but how would I know because I didn’t even give her a chance.”
“I feel bad that I hurt her feelings but she asked why I wasn’t eating and I told her the truth. AITA for being honest?”
“For clarification, it was just me, her, and her husband at dinner, not the whole family”
OP’s comment may have been insensitive, but her sister was insistent on finding out why she wasn’t eating. Was OP wrong to tell her the truth when pushed?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for what she said to her sister by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
It was a difficult discussion that eventually led to a decision. On one hand, some felt OP was being too particular about the sister’s hygiene.
But on the other hand, OP did feel grossed out, and her sister asked her opinion. Also, the situation with the dog genuinely is unhygienic.
In the end, the board voted that OP was NTA, but it wasn’t easy to get there.
“To sum up: NTA”
“This is my take:”
“NTA for not eating her food. I would NOT eat her food either.”
“NTA for being honest when pushed. You tried to not say anything.”
“However, YTA for not telling her this years ago. You could have told her outside of the whole dinner setting.” – ACB1984
“Some of that stuff was pretty gross, but things like having her hair down or wearing a sweater aren’t. Lumping it all together makes me think you have weird standards.”
“She should be more conscious about hygiene, but also you could have talked to her about this ages ago in a nicer way.” – a-mathemagician
“Yes agreed! Until the part about the dog eating the meat on the bench I thought OP was completely overreacting.” – cekay3
“I’m wondering if the dog part was even true. One of these things is not like the others. The fact that they didn’t mention it when telling sister why they won’t eat the food makes me think it’s bullshit.”
“‘Your hair was down and you wore a sweater and you were tasting with your fingers’ would all take a back seat to ‘you put your f***ing dog on the counter and it ate off the cutting board.’ That’s all I would need to say.” – bigwilliestylez
“ESH – you could have been a decent sister and told this years ago. Like a normal sister would do. Or gift her cooking classes, hygiene is covered at the beginning of each class.”
“Your family as well – just tell her, choose an appropriate moment and break the news ‘hey, we are not comfortable eating at your home considering the cross contamination and your lack of hygiene’.”
“Your sister definitely has lost a plot if she thinks that anything of that is ok. I have long hair, always have had dogs but damn, everything is spotless when cooking – hair up, different chopping boards, hands washed several times, different knives, dogs never allowed in the kitchen while cooking, all surfaces clean, etc.” – Dry-Comment-6889
Many comments pointed out how weird it is that OP is obsessed with her sister’s hair being down. In a professional setting, hair is not only up, but covered in a hairnet.
But this isn’t a professional setting. The situation with the dog is one thing, but is having her hair down really so bad.
Maybe, and maybe not.
“NTA I do think you are weird about the hair and sweater thing. But, the dog in the counter, not washing hands, etc. is supper gross.” – NiDonnaNaiz
“Perhaps I’m a bit of a germophobe but hair in my food will make me throw up. But I also know she doesn’t take the best care of herself and her hair is kind of greasy so that’s why.”
“She just isn’t the best with hygiene” – Thwra_cookingsis (OP)
“Hair IN your food, sure. But her just having her hair down does not mean it will get in your food.”
“Bottom line is, you should’ve expressed this to her … well, years ago, but at the very least on this occasion while she was still cooking, in the kitchen, just you and her. Instead, you told her at the dinner table in front of others.”
“It is so unnecessary that I can only assume it was deliberate. Definitely TA.” – wirklichnein
Finally, some commenters felt OP was wholly wrong. While they don’t agree with the sister’s hygienic issues, they do think OP has had plenty of chances to address this without it blowing up over dinner.
Maybe it is OP’s fault?
“Everyone is saying ‘you should have told her years ago’ but like… what about a WEEK ago?”
“You accepted an intimate dinner party invitation to a meal you knew your sister was going to cook. You know how she is. What did you think was going to happen?!”
“You paint yourself as a helpless bystander who was ‘forced’ into this situation, but you’re not. You’re a 42 year old woman.”
“Were you just thinking her cooking style would be magically different and you wouldn’t need to say anything? You had so many opportunities to handle this like an adult but you didn’t.”
“Yes, some of the stuff you mention is very gross, like the dog on the counter. Some of it is what I would consider to be on the more extreme end of food hygiene boundaries (I would not throw up if I found one of my sister’s hairs in a dish she cooked for me, but I would find it gross).”
“Being an adult is about having these hard, uncomfortable conversations.”
“Also the way you wrote about your sister doesn’t make you seem like you like or respect her all that much.” – redpandaonspeed
OP’s tact could do with some work, and maybe addressing these issues before blowing the situation up at dinner would be a good idea. But it’s easy to see why she had an issue in the first place.