It’s always important for us to remember that the people around us, both those that we know and don’t, live different lives than we do, and there’s no telling what they might be going through.
Unfortunately, it can be easy to forget that and start judging them, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor userreddit62727 was tired of hearing her girlfriend make rude comments about people who worked minimum-wage, as she had always had a higher income.
But when her girlfriend questioned her feelings, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was too harsh.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for having told my girlfriend how privileged she is?”
The OP had a concern about her girlfriend.
“I (27 female) have been with my girlfriend (26 female) for four years now, but I have known her for longer, and we are in a happy relationship.”
“However, she does sadly have a bad trait of disrespecting staff and people with lower income in general.”
“Don’t get me wrong – she’s great, but that’s her flaw, I guess.”
The OP’s girlfriend came from a wealthy family.
“For the background – my girlfriend grew up rich, as her mother has her own successful business and her father is a judge in an extremely high position.”
“After she finished school, she wanted to study law just like her dad. Both her parents studied at Harvard and now had in general very good contacts to many people in charge there.”
“When my girlfriend decided that she wanted to go to Harvard too, she made her parents pull some strings, which definitely contributed to her getting accepted after all.”
“I wanna note, that I have absolutely no problem with this. If she gets the chance to go to the university of her dreams, why wouldn’t she take it?”
“Now a little over two years ago, when it came to actually finding a job, writing applications and going to job interviews, she was very nervous about it.”
“Her dad pulled some strings again on court to make the process easier and less stressful for her which worked out excellent due to his good reputation and high position.”
“Now we have both finished university, got our careers going, and moved in together.”
The OP didn’t agree with her girlfriend’s opinions about lower-income households.
“But recently, when we were in the car, she started ranting again about how much it annoys her when people complain about the low pay they get since it’s ‘their fault’ that they were ‘too lazy’ to get a better job.”
“Then I said, ‘I don’t think you should judge other people’s situations as you don’t know their backstories, and you gotta keep in mind that not everyone was as privileged as you.'”
“She gave me furious eyes and asked me what I meant.”
“I explained that her parents definitely contributed to her success and that not everyone was as lucky as her.”
“She began freaking out, claiming that I said that she was stupid and wouldn’t be anywhere in life without her parent’s help, even though I said nothing like that.”
“I told her that I would never think of her as stupid and that it still takes a lot of work to get through university and get a good job, just that the jump there was easier for her than to some others.”
“But now she hasn’t spoken with me for days.”
“Her friends also told me that I was an a** for the ‘destruction her self conception.'”
“I feel bad because I really didn’t want to hurt her.”
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 advised the OP to think about who she was dating.
“I would share something from one of my favorite authors, though:”
“‘A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not a nice person.’ – Dave Barry.” – wizard10000
“One of my ex-partners was like this. He was never rude or made any verbal jabs at me, but he was rude to everyone around us. It took me a while to catch on because he would say or do these things out of earshot.”
“OP is NTA at all.” – Not-A-SoggyBagel
“She’s not ‘great.’ She’s an arrogant, self-centered, spoiled, entitled AH.” – HappyHippo22121
“NTA but um… this isn’t a flaw like not cleaning the shower drain well enough. This is a worldview she has that is fundamentally disrespectful to people who aren’t as privileged as her.”
“She’s entitled, spoiled, and lacks empathy for others. I think you’re kind of an a** if you stay with her, to be honest.” – Temporary_Badger
Others agreed and questioned the OP’s acceptance of her girlfriend’s flaw.
“A person who dates someone like this anyway – They’re both a coward and an a**.”
“A coward because they’re apparently afraid to tell the person that they’re being an a**hole.”
“An a** because they’re accepting that someone is going to get treated like s**t and they’re not gonna do anything about it.” – FeuerroteZora
“It takes privilege to be able to write it off as just another flaw too.” – cinndiicate
“I recently reminded my partner that his co-worker being cool to him said nothing at all about the fact the co-worker is a sexist d**k towards women.”
“He just sat there for a minute and processed how his life was walking around as a white straight dude. His takeaway?”
“He now seeks out information on how other co-workers are treated by people. And he really listens. And he doesn’t quiz people on it. He just now watches for messages he might have glossed over before.” – WDersUnite
“OP sounds like an apologist. I can understand that to an extent – it can be hard to reconcile the many disparate layers of what you live through day to day.”
“But ultimately OP’s girlfriend is wealthy and privileged, and even if the girlfriend were humble and kind, exercising that privilege is still an instance of the inequity and discrimination in our society between the rich and poor.”
“But the girlfriend isn’t even humble or kind. She’s insecure because she doubts her abilities to have gotten into Harvard/gotten a job without daddy’s help.”
“Instead of taking a hard look at herself and growing the f**k up and maybe even being accountable, she’s instead projecting that insecurity right outwards onto the ‘lazy poors.’ F**king despicable.”
“Hopefully, OP can take off the rose-colored glasses and see this, but it’s not easy when you see so many ‘good’ things – it’s so tempting to say well she’s really a good person but just this one thing.” – Astralwraith
A few thought the girlfriend must understand her position in life on some level.
“Another quote that fits GF: ‘Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.'”
“She was just ‘given a small loan of a million dollars’ to achieve her life, but doesn’t want to admit it because she only sees the things she did achieve (her grades, passing the bar, doing the work well enough to not be fired).”
“A bunch of industries are more about who you know than what you know, she should just own it and stop being s**tty to people who didn’t win the genetic lottery” – X-cited
“One of my ex-girlfriends was like the girlfriend in the OP.”
“We had both been pretty injured and temporarily disabled before we met but she had incredibly rich parents who paid all her bills while she recovered and was able to move back in with her mom.”
“Meanwhile, I was forced to sell almost everything I own, burn through all my savings, and had to cut recovery short in order to not end up homeless.”
“Then she gave me s**t about not having nice enough stuff, appliances, car, etc. I just couldn’t believe that she would completely overlook her privilege, especially after knowing how hard just doing rehab is without having to worry about it.”
“The worst part is she’s a therapist, you would think she’d at least empathize a little bit.” – broken-soul696
“It feels like deep down she knows she is privileged but doesn’t want to admit her parents’ level of involvement in her success, because it triggers her sense of self-worth.”
“It’s easier for her to believe she achieved these things on her own because she is truly a hard worker and an intellectual superior.”
“She doesn’t want to acknowledge that she was just lucky as h**l in the parental department and that the lifestyle they provided her allowed her to be at a far enough distance from working-class people to perpetuate her elitist beliefs and allow them to go unchallenged.”
“NTA, but your girlfriend needs a serious reality check.” – Mryessicahaircut
While the subReddit could appreciate what the OP said to her girlfriend, challenging her to think differently about her life and privilege, they had concerns beyond the Reddit post.
The subReddit was concerned about the OP defending and apologizing for her girlfriend’s other behaviors, as they were a form of abuse to lower-income people, as well. It seemed likely that the OP’s own privilege was overshadowing some harsh realities in her relationship.
Just as her girlfriend wasn’t ready to acknowledge her parents’ involvement in her success, the OP may have not been ready to acknowledge all of the details of her relationship yet, either.