When it comes to babies, there are generally two kinds of people: people who believe all babies are beautiful and people who generally thing that babies look like weird little beings.
But most people, no matter where they stand, will still compliment a baby when they meet them, pointed out the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
But Redditor amethystair didn’t feel comfortable doing that, because she felt she would be lying.
But when her brother confessed he was sad, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if she was wrong for holding back.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for not calling my brother’s child cute?”
The OP wasn’t interested in babies.
“My (27 [female]) brother (24 [male]) had a baby earlier this year.”
“In past years I’ve been pretty clear with my parents that I don’t want kids myself, and that I don’t find babies cute in the slightest.”
“I’ve also mentioned that when they cry, it causes severe pain in my ears. Well, this year I’ve been to a few family gatherings where my brother (obviously) brought his kid, and naturally, they’ve wanted me to hold it and just, I don’t know, go off on how cute it is?”
She tried dodging the conversation previously.
“I’ve refused to hold her because I’m legitimately concerned that if she starts crying, the pain would cause me to drop her.”
“While I’ve tried to avoid conversations about how ‘cute’ she is, they’ve asked me directly a few times.”
“I’ve always tried to kind of waffle around the issue, saying things like, ‘I don’t see babies as cute but I’m sure she is,’ but they want me to say, just about word for word, ‘Yes, your baby is a cute baby.'”
“I’ve had issues with my family manipulating me in the past, and my solution in other areas has generally been to only say exactly my thoughts, and only if they specifically ask.”
“I won’t say things I don’t believe to placate them, because in my experience, I can either disappoint them now when I say it or later when they inevitably find out.”
Her attempts didn’t work anymore at a recent get-together.
“So there’s a few months of occasional family gatherings where I tell my brother I’m happy for him and try and dodge questions about how cute she is.”
“One day I was alone with my parents and they tell me, ‘Your brother is really sad you won’t say his baby is cute,’ and they tell me I should hold her and say she’s cute the next time we’re there together.”
“I kind of start going through my usual waffling of saying I don’t think babies are cute but I’m sure she is, but they keep pressuring me.”
“Eventually I kind of snap and say in no uncertain terms, I do not personally find her cute and I refuse to lie to my brother that I think I do, and that I refuse to hold her because it seriously hurts my ears when she cries.”
“My parents looked horrified and just said, ‘Wow…’ and then of walked out of the room.”
The OP felt overwhelmed.
“I get that generally you show your baby to people and they coo over it and tell you how adorable they think it is, but that’s not me and I don’t feel comfortable pretending it is when I’ve made that clear since before he was with his wife.”
“I feel since my family has pressured me into things in the past that I need to hold my ground with this, but another part of me says maybe I should just give in on this one thing.”
“What do you all think? AITA?”
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 said it cost nothing to express kindness.
“It’s just manners. You tell people their babies are cute even if you think they’re the ugliest baby you’ve ever seen. Especially if they’re literally your own family members.”
“It doesn’t kill you to say a little white lie to be nice.”
“It’s just a thing you do, like when the McDonalds worker says ‘Hi, how are you?’ They are asking to be polite. They do not actually want to know how you are, and so you say ‘Good, how are you?’ even if you are not good.”
“It’s not manipulation, just normal human interaction.” – sierrughh
“YTA… Jesus Chr**t, you sound exhausting. Not wanting to hold the baby is fine and understandable. Lots of people are uncomfortable with that, but would it have absolutely killed you to just tell your brother his infant daughter was cute?”
“Like that’s literally a thing… people have ugly babies all the time… and their families and friends will still tell them they have a sweet, cute baby.” – Quite_A-Gurl37
“Sometimes we say stuff to make others feel good. If it’s only going to take a ‘Yeah bro, your baby is cute’ and ‘I love that you’re loving this part of your life’ to make him feel loved, I’d do it.”
“If saying a baby is cute is going to send you over the edge emotionally, you need therapy.”
“Sometimes it’s not about you, it’s about others. I bet this family does stuff for OP they don’t like or agree with, but they do it because OP is their family. They aren’t asking her to babysit; the brother just wants his sibling to be happy with him, not a huge f**king ask.” – Imsleepy1234
“I’m wondering if it might be that the OP was acting like they just didn’t like the baby at all, and it was less a ‘Isn’t my baby cute?!?!? SAY IT!’ situation and more ‘We know you don’t typically like babies, but this is your niece, like do you think she’s cute or anything?'”
“And OP’s response of ‘…Well, I don’t, but I’m sure other people do’ (which is a weird response), threw them for a loop.” – Quite_A-Gurl37
“It seems like the OP does not care about this baby at all, it’s her niece? That is concerning. If I had a baby and my sister didn’t seem to want to interact with it at all, I’d be devastated.” – Dizzy-Replacement193
Others disagreed and said the OP shouldn’t feel manipulated into lying.
“The brother of the OP is delighting in making the OP feel uncomfortable.”
“The OP would certainly be better off in the future by adopting a pat response to babies (ie. ‘What a cutie’) with a strong decline to hold one (ie. ‘I’m going to pass on that’), but this situation has gone beyond that point.”
“She made clear that she doesn’t like babies and she doesn’t want to hold them, including this one. That should be the end of it.” – Forteanforever
“They know she does not want to say it. If she says it, then she will be teaching them that if they force her to do something for long enough then she will do it.”
“She set a boundary with them and needs to keep following the boundary otherwise they will never learn.” – Busy_Flow119
“No. Don’t encourage people pushing you to do something you’re not comfortable with. OP has expressed time and again that they don’t find babies cute, and the brother is convinced they’re the exception to the rule and want to rub OP’s face in it.” – arseholierthanthou
Some were more concerned by the new parents’ need for validation.
“It’s weird. Why does he need that validation so badly? Maybe because OP has been vocal about her stance on babies in the past and he wants his to be the exception and so, ‘special’?” – AnathemaDevice908
“Almost no baby is cute in my eyes either. Cute is an opinion, like you can find a cat cute and someone else can find them scary.”
“And it’s not like she said, ‘Your baby is horrible,’ she just basically said, ‘I don’t find them cute in general, but I’m sure yours is in everyone else’s eyes.'”
“Besides, the overwhelming need of the parents to hear, ‘Your baby is cute’ or whatever is nonsense.”
“Kids grow up and become different, and either way they should be happy without needing the affirmation that the brother obviously knows he won’t get since, like OP said, he knows how she is about babies.”
“Also, fun fact: I looked like a red cockroach when I was newly born (my parents’ words and proven with pictures) and I definitely became cuter with age so if anyone told my parents I was cute they would laugh until I came out of the cockroach stage.”
“NTA. keep to your truth and beliefs.” – Imaginary_Meaning827
Though the OP was convinced she was right to not be misleading with her feelings, the subReddit wasn’t totally decided. Some could understand why the OP thought this would be lying and manipulative, others believed that a little kindness would go a long way.