We all like to do certain things from the comfort of our own home: watch a movie, read a book, sleep, or invite someone over whom we bullied to apologize to them over dinner.
Wait, asserted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit, that last one is weird.
Redditor dialiasflower thought so, too, when they were invited by their bully’s parents to come over for dinner, so their son could apologize. So, they declined the invitation.
But when the parents became rude over this, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were wrong for not wanting to attend.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for not wanting to come to my bully’s house, even though his parents want to make him apologize to me in-person? And AITA for asking for an apology email instead?”
The OP was surprised when their bully’s parents reached out.
“I was being bullied at school by this kid, Dan, and his parents found out.”
“His parents called my family and said that they weren’t okay with it, they wanted to correct his behavior, and they wanted to invite our family over for dinner so their son could sit down and apologize to me.”
“My mom thought that was a great idea, and that his parents were doing the right thing by planning that dinner.”
“She was on the phone with them, and she was practically agreeing without even asking me.”
The OP didn’t like the idea at all.
“I thought it wasn’t cool at all, it felt like they were using me as a tool for a teaching method for their son, when they should have been taking responsibility for that on their own.”
“Plus, why the h**l would I go to the house of someone who hasn’t made me feel safe?”
“I asked my mom, when she was on the phone, to put me on the phone with the boy’s mother. I didn’t tell her what I was about to say.”
“But on the phone, I asked if I understood it right, and they were trying to host a dinner where he apologizes to me, as a teaching moment for their son.”
“His mom said yes.”
“I said that I would like them to take responsibility for teaching him, and not depend on me for that, as I have already seen and heard enough from their son, and I wasn’t interested in speaking to him again.”
“His mom said that she wasn’t asking me to take responsibility, just hear him out and let them treat me to a family dinner.”
The OP offered an alternative.
“I said that if he wanted to apologize, he could write an email to my school email address, taking accountability for the things he has done, and apologizing for those specific things. I listed a few things specifically.”
“I asked for that, both because it would be something I could read on my own time.”
“And because I honestly got the impression that his parents were trying to minimize things to the school (while claiming to me that they cared??)”
“I said because of these things, an apology in writing would be more meaningful since it would mean taking accountability in front of the school.”
The bully’s mother was not interested.
“His mom said that she wanted him to apologize to me in-person.”
“I said, ‘I would like him to apologize to me in writing, delivered to my school email address.'”
“His mom said that wasn’t ‘appropriate’ for me to ask.”
“I said, ‘Well, that is the sort of apology I’m interested in receiving. If y’all are being genuine about wanting to apologize, please send that email. And if not, please just admit that and don’t waste my time like this.'”
“She started to try and interrupt me and talk condescendingly, being like, ‘No no no,’ over me.”
“So I hung up.”
“My mom was immediately angry, she said that the other family was genuinely trying to make things right, and I threw that in their face and ‘went all lawyer’ on them, which I figure is supposed to be an insult?”
“AITA for not wanting to accept that apology in-person?”
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 agreed with the OP on setting boundaries for the apology.
“NTA, despite you not wanting to be a teaching moment, this is a perfect lesson for not just the bully but also for the parents.”
“You get to set boundaries about what you are comfortable with. If he can’t apologize the way in which you’re comfortable, then the apology is for them, not for you.”
“And just because someone apologizes, that doesn’t mean you have to accept it.”
“Honestly, good for you for clearly setting boundaries.” – TheBaney
“I have no legal expertise but as a mother, I think that asking them to apologize in a way you are comfortable with is the right way to go about it, and keeping the school in the mix with a copy of the emailed apology is a good thing.”
“I’m disappointed in your mother for not supporting you. You are the victim here.”
“Also, just in case no one has told you this, you DO NOT HAVE TO ACCEPT ANYONE’S APOLOGY, ever, if you don’t want to. That’s completely up to you.” – millymollymel
“You don’t have to accept his apology, OP. My high school bully reached out to me years later when his daughter was being bullied and apologized. He was really remorseful. However, I thanked him for his apology but told him I could never forgive what he put me through.” – lasarrie
“You may have to deal with some pushback from your mum who clearly just wants to smooth things over.”
“I concur with your judgment here, your mother and her bonded over the niceties, and your mum assumed what satisfied her would satisfy you, and this woman having buffaloed your mum with surface niceness, thought she could do the same with you. But you could see through the pretense.”
“I am sorry your mother is so unsupportive of you and has such a skewed sense of priorities. But ultimately it’s not up to her how you feel and whether you judge an apology to be sincere.” – KombuchaBot
“I think you are doing everything right, OP. Hold your ground, and furthermore, you could involve the school as to what you could expect from the bully/bully’s family, and/or that you fear retaliation. Ask what you can do or if they can support you in any way?”
“Don’t go to just anyone at the school though. Maybe a trusted teacher or counselor that you know a little better? Don’t want it being misunderstood or swept under the rug by someone who isn’t invested in your well-being.” – SassyMermaid123
Others thought the dinner sounded like a highly manipulative situation.
“And that’s why they want it to be a dinner.”
“They’re betting OP will feel socially obligated to stay for the entire meal. The apology will happen early. They expect OP will go “oh no I’m here for at least an hour until dessert. ‘Sure, Mikey, it was fine, no worries!'”
“It is manipulative.”
“Also, ‘treat’ OP to a family dinner? My, someone thinks highly of their cooking.” – Ladyughsalot1
“OP wouldn’t have a choice to leave since OP’s parents would force OP to stay. OP’s mom seems the type to force OP to stay because of social niceties or that OP is unreasonable for wanting to leave or not accepting the apology.” – Gallifrey685
“I can just picture it, it would all be stories of the bully and OP as cute tiny kids to try and humanize and connect them. Potentially giving the bully information they could later use as ammunition.” – darling_lycosidae
“And also, if they wanted to ADD to that written apology and feel it’s important for their son to learn to face up to his mistakes and do it in person, then he can come to YOUR house and do it from the front step.”
“FYI, I feel like I’m your mom, I’m a people pleaser and likely would have seen that invitation as a way to having ‘everyone get along’. She may have felt embarrassed by you shutting it down, but hopefully, she understands and supports your point now. She can learn a lot from you.” – tinny36
“You shouldn’t feel like you have to accommodate an apology. If it was heartfelt then part of making things right means they should not put you on the spot otherwise what’s the point?”
“The actual teaching moment here should have been for them to take your feedback and understand that the boundaries have been set. Everyone here kind of sucks except for you.” – choogle
Though the OP felt conflicted after upsetting their mom, the subReddit felt the OP had the right to decline any invitation that made them uncomfortable in regards to this bully or his family.
If the bully was apologizing in a genuine way, it shouldn’t matter to him whether it was over his dinner table, at the school, or on the OP’s front doorstep.
If the location is what matters, then it’s likely that something else is at play, whether mischievously, legally, or in an attempt to brush the situation under the rug.