When interacting with family members on social media, the urge to show support can sometimes override our sense of what is or is not appropriate to say—even if it’s said with the best of intentions.
Redditor Goodguy_3000 recently found this out the hard way after making a comment on his step-cousin’s recent post, so he turned to the subReddit “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) to see if he was in the wrong.
“AITA for telling my step-cousin in a bikini that she was looking good?”
The original poster (OP) explained how it went down.
“My cousin posted a few pics on Instagram with her in a bikini. She’s 21 and I’m 18 and of the opposite gender.”
“It was her first post in a while. I commented that she was looking good. I thought it was a normal thing and everyone was saying the same thing.”
But for his step-cousin, it was anything but “normal.”
“She DMed me about a couple hours later and we had a lengthy conversation about her problem with my comment.”
“She said she didn’t like family members looking at her like that. I responded by saying I didn’t think that what I said was bad at all.”
“Am I the a**hole?”
“She’s on a private account and she accepted me knowing who I was. Our relationship was always good and I thought of her as a best friend.”
“I do plan to apologize but am I the a**hole? Is there something I’m missing?”
Redditors weighed in on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Most didn’t have much sympathy for the OP.
“YTA -I can’t think of a way this isn’t creepy, even if you don’t feel like it was creepy, because it just sounds like you’re commenting on her body.”
“I think you’re just normalized to commenting on women’s bodies (which is not your fault, but this is a learning moment).”
“Even if you meant ‘good’ as in ‘happy,’ in the context of commenting on a bikini shot on IG… it look like the exact kind of comment a guy would leave if he was trying to hit on her.”
“She’s obviously aware of how that looks to everyone else who knows you’re cousins.”
“She pointed out that you made her uncomfortable, and instead of stopping to think how the comment would be from her perspective, or how it would look to everyone else, you kind of dismissed her.”
“She clearly cares about you because she put in the effort of a ‘lengthy conversation’ to explain why she didn’t like how you talked about her body (in a public platform) because you’re related, and you still left with the opinion you were in the right and told her as much.”
“I’d recommend sticking to things like ‘looking happy’ or ‘I’ve missed you cousin!’ in future, and if women say you creeped them out say sorry and that it wasn’t your intention.”—puddlepiggle
“A light YTA. The takeaway from your conversation with her should be that your comment made her feel uncomfortable.”
“Hear her and not argue the rightness of what you said. Your intention was not to make her feel that way, but that’s what happened.”
“Don’t comment on her body moving forward & maybe apologize?”—Less_Seaworthiness_7
“YTA don’t comment on your cousins bikini pics. It’s weird and creepy.”—ffl111717
“YTA. You’re family. It goes without saying that male family members shouldn’t comment on female family members bikini pics.”—throw_away_800
There were a few, however, who didn’t get what the big deal was.
“Why on earth does complimenting someone make you an a**hole? Is there something I’m missing?”
“Am I naïve? What the hell is going on in these comments?”
“I’m going to say NTA, but YWBTA (you would be the a**hole) if you didn’t apologize for making her uncomfortable and hear her out.”
“You obviously didn’t intend to freak her out, which is why I don’t think you’re TA, and apparently there’s some social thing I’m missing about why this was ever creepy in the first place.”—Blue-Eyed-Lemon
“I’m going to say NTA because it sounds like this was a case of her reading your comments in a tone that you didn’t intend, which is easier to do via text.”
“Sounds like you are taking the right approach by apologizing, and I just would refrain from comments like that in the future even if they are with the best of intentions.”—chantm80
“Hard to really say definitively. So much depends on the pic and what you exactly said.”
“I’m going to say NAH given it’s seemingly miscommunication, but so much of that depends on things we just don’t know.”—TronnertheAwesome
After receiving his feedback, the OP posted an update to let everyone know he cleared the air with his step-cousin, saying:
“First I want to say thank you to those who helped me figure out what I did wrong. I should’ve known that my comment could’ve weirded her out and sexualized her.”
“My family visited her family for Easter and I got to talk to my step-cousin. I asked if we could go somewhere to talk in private. She agreed.”
“I started out the conversation by first saying that I was sorry for leaving that comment and I should’ve stopped arguing with her and listened to her.”
“She thanked me and we talked for a while about how the comment made her feel like an object and how she started to wonder if the rest of my family looked at her like that.”
“I again said I was sorry and won’t comment anything like that anymore on her page. She hugged me and accepted the apology.”
“Again thanks for helping me find the error of my ways. It was interesting to see the reasons for NTA and YTA.”
“I felt that instead of thinking I was in the right and not doing anything, apologizing and taking to her would make both of us feel better.”
Reddit was impressed.
“And that’s on growth as a human. Good for you!”—Special-Emu3
“It’s amazing how communication and having a conversation can resolve so many of these situations in a positive and drama free way.”
“I’m glad it’s all worked out though and OP still has a nice relationship with their cousin.”—Travel-Kitty
“Yay, glad you’ve grown.”
“Please expand the lesson beyond how you interact with family to all women. Women are more than how we look. And listen.”
“You seem like a caring young person.”—Glittering-Dig9368
“Great to see someone learn from people’s comments. Thanks for sharing.”—RoyallyOakie
Being able to admit when you made a mistake and hurt someone is a very admirable quality, so kudos to the OP for reflecting on his actions and deciding his step-cousin’s feelings were more important than his need to be right.