These are weird times when it comes to people’s beliefs about health and medicine, and for one guy on Reddit who works in the medical industry, this translated into drama between him and an acquaintance who believes in naturopathic medicine.
He wasn’t sure about how he handled it, so he went to the AITA (Am I The A**hole) subReddit for input.
The Original Poster (OP), who goes by MrPatel1986, asked:
“AITA for being condescending to a naturopathic medicine believer?”
“I (34M[ale]) have a friend (Paul, 34M) who, from what I understand, got into some kind of argument with a friend of his (Allie, 30some?F[emale]) regarding drugs and vaccines. Allie is into naturopathy and doesn’t believe in modern pharmaceuticals. He was frustrated about his argument because it didn’t go the way he hoped.”
“I happen to work in the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve built up a decent resume so far. Two of the cancer drugs I worked on are now on the market, and I’ve even worked on a vaccine for a certain virus you may be familiar with.”
“One day when I was hanging out with Paul, he told me about Allie and his argument. I absolutely sympathized with him and agreed that I find people like them to be frustrating.”
“Paul then revealed to me that he wanted to tag me in as his ‘big gun’ in a followup argument with Allie in the future. Apparently he believed that with my more specific knowledge, I could do better arguing with her than he could.”
“I refused. I work in analytics and quality. My team’s job is not public outreach and education. Our job is to make sure drugs are stable over time after manufacture (Highly oversimplified)”
“So I am pretty sure Paul did this on purpose: He said he was having a get together at his house, and invited my wife (31F) and me. Allie was at this event (whom I met for the first time). Because I remembered what Paul said about her, I made sure not to mention anything related to drugs.”
“Eventually during the evening, I think Paul goaded her into bringing it up. Allie had approached me and said ‘Paul tells me you work for Big Pharma.’ I’ve heard that tone before. I decide to shut it down immediately.”
“I respond by saying ‘I really don’t discuss pharmaceutical R&D with laypersons.'”
“Allie seemed taken aback by my refusal to discuss with her, which turned her upset. I guess she took offense to being called a layperson, and accused me of being condescending and a snob.”
“It was awkward after that. Awkward enough for my wife and I to leave early.”
“AITA for how I handled it?”
People on Reddit were then asked to judge who was in the wrong in this scenario based on the following categories:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
And they were nearly unanimously on OP’s side.
“…She doesn’t know or has worked in the pharmaceutical industry. You could start talking about cytokine storms and she’d be like, ‘Is that when it rains on my colloidal silver?'”
“Not to mention she was trying to goad you into a holier-than-thou, roundabout argument that she’d smugly insist she’s winning because her Facebook group and ‘Self’ magazine are more accurate than your professional training and experience. If she felt insulted, good.” —bigbuttfuc*er
“Yes you are right that Paul is an AH in this situation but you forgot to add that Allie is one too.”
“She purposely went up to you to try and goad you into an argument. God for you for shutting that bs down fast.”
“I am sorry you and your wife felt so uncomfortable that you had to leave the gathering early. This might be a good time to reflect on whether Paul is really a good friend to keep around if he is going to use you to fight his battles.” —fraggletart
“NTA. ‘Layperson’ isn’t an insult, nor is it condescending. Somebody having a poor vocabulary does not constitute a faux pas on your part.” —Vaaist
“NTA – no one should be forced or challenged to discuss their occupation at a party, especially if you have prior knowledge that it’s going to turn into a debate. Allie’s point of view may be as stupid AF but she’s entitled to it the same way you are entitled to yours. It’s not like you were going to win over hearts and minds in that situation. Good on you for saying no.” —impostershop
“Wtf is with all the people thinking the term ‘lay person’ is an insult lmao? Everyone must think they’re an expert on everything. I can’t imagine being so arrogant that I’d assume I knew as much about a subject as someone who had studied and worked in a specialist area for years.”
“NTA, your only other option was to engage her in her nonsense and I imagine the fallout from that scenario would have been a lot worse since she approached you with an agenda and wasn’t enquiring about your work out of genuine interest.” —Abblz
“NTA, your work is priceless to the health of our human race. And having gotten the jab, I gotta thank you and the industry for your tireless efforts.”
“Shut that layperson down, and any other who comes at you with this antivaxxer nonsense.” —LorianGunnersonSedna
“NTA. I do not argue with people for the sake of argument. Total dick move on the part of your friend to invite you because he always has to be right. You handled it perfectly she was sporting for some verbal sparring and you shut it down. If she was offended, too bad, you did not approach her, she approached you and tried to broach the subject at a party.” —highwoodshady
After his fellow Redditors’ feedback, OP came back for one final comment.
“Side note: I don’t think there’s any need for anyone to point out that Paul was an AH here. I think that’s obvious enough.”
Hopefully OP never has to have a conversation with this person again.