Setting expectations can be a vital life skill.
Particularly when children or, really, any other people are involved, it can be crucial to manage how you think a given situation is going to play out.
Part of that management is to realize that not every situation is going to be comfortable for you and making a determination of whether that event is still worth participating in.
So, how to communicate your discomfort to the group in a compassionate way?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) digitalbutreal when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for dropping out of my boyfriend’s family DISNEY trip?”
OP started with a quick introduction.
“I’m a 29 y/o Female in a relationship with a 31 y/o Male.”
“We have been dating for almost 4 years and this trip has been in the making for 2 years.”
“I have been completely on board to go up until recently.”
“The trip is to celebrate the 5th birthday of my boyfriend’s niece.”
Everything was fine, until…
“I am backing out because the niece’s mom will be 7 months pregnant at the time of the trip.”
“I think her pregnancy will impede the fun that everyone has on the trip.”
“I also worry about her health with all the walking. I have never been to DISNEY and I want my first time going to be AMAZING.”
“I don’t want to stop and rest every time the pregnant lady gets tired or needs a break.”
“My boyfriend cannot guarantee me that we’re going to go off and have our own fun on this trip.”
OP did explain her logic.
“We took a trip a couple of months ago to a much smaller amusement park and we occasionally had to stop to accommodate the pregnant lady.”
“I’m not interested in doing that on this trip.”
“My boyfriend thinks I am being selfish.”
“He says this trip is not about me, it’s a family celebration to celebrate his niece.”
“He does not think I am being a supportive partner in this situation.”
“I must add that this trip is already paid for [by my boyfriend].”
“I told him I would try to get my Disney tickets refunded and we can use the flight credits another time.”
“He’s still upset that I am backing out.”
“He’s upset that I made the decision without talking to him first.”
“He said there was no compromise. He said that I am turning down a fully paid for DISNEY trip because the trip ‘may’ not go my way.”
OP was left wonder,
“Am I being selfish? AITA because I don’t want my first time at DISNEY to be a potential flop?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: YTA
Some called out OP’s selfishness.
You aren’t obligated to go anywhere you don’t want to.”
“But with that said, you agreed to go, and things were paid for. And now you’re backing out for the most selfish reasons possible.”
“So yes, YTA for that.”
“Spoiler alert: Disney isn’t magical.”
“There are screaming children everywhere, and… gasp… pregnant women roaming wild.” ~ Mysterious_Megalodon
“I was thinking the same thing.”
“If you go into a Disney trip thinking everything is going to be perfect. You are in for a surprise.”
“I love Disney.”
“But I am fully aware that things will go wrong.”
“That I might be smacked in the face by a drunk chick at Epcot and have my $300 sunglasses broken and end up with a black eye.”
“You gotta roll with the punches (in my case literally.)”
“OP – 100% YTA. But if this is your attitude, I wouldn’t want you on my trip.”
“Disney is like anything else. If you want to have a good time you will. If you have a nasty attitude it’s going to suck.” ~ TangeloMain9661
There were also personal stories, of course.
“My partner and I go to Disney World several times a year, for about a week each trip, and fully plan on continuing to go for years to come.”
“We are not the stereotypical ‘Disney People’: we don’t wear ears or eat churros or wear (much) Disney clothing (absolutely no ‘Disney Bounding’) or get character photo ops or anything like that;”
“We go because Disney is such a self-contained bubble my partner is absolutely unable to think about work while there, which they would otherwise do, and we can ride a few rides, spend some time in a resort pool, and have some good food and drinks.”
“(i.e. relax and have fun).”
“We’ve been there and know it (almost) inside and out, and still enjoy it, warts and all.”
“We have pretty reasonable expectations (knowing how many rides we can go on, how long we can reasonably be in a park, how long it will take to get to various places), and that managing of expectations is what makes it worthwhile.”
“Look, I get that for a first trip, people, ‘children of all ages’, want it to be an amazing, perfect experience.”
“But it can’t be, and it shouldn’t be built up to where it needs to be.”
“And trying to make it to be so is both creating all kinds of unnecessary stress and anxiety for everyone involved, while still setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.”
“Oh, and TangeloMain9661, sorry to hear about your black eye and sunglasses;”
“I think I’ve only narrowly avoided a few situations like that due to a combination of growing up taking the NYC subway system and decades of martial arts!” ~ NYCinPGH
“I was five months pregnant on our family trip to Disney this summer.”
“I had two things that I absolutely wanted to do at each park, and everything else could just happen. Fortunately, my family didn’t make me feel bad for being pregnant in Florida in July.”
“And some of my best memories from that trip are things that were totally unexpected and we couldn’t have planned.” ~ Whiteroses7252012
Setting reasonable expectations was brought up quite often.
“It’s the same for any trip or vacation, honestly.”
“You’ll have the most fun if you think through what’s important to you and what you want to prioritize and just be flexible on everything else and understand sh## happens.”
“You could get sick or horribly sunburned or the lines could randomly be extra insane or who knows.”
“But if you build it up into THE BEST TRIP EVER you’re pretty much bound to be disappointed.”
“This goes for planning holidays and events like weddings too” ~ Errvalunia
Some pointed out that this is part of a larger problem.
“For her, it’s not a shared experience, it’s her experience alone. One she didn’t pay for.”
“In our Instagram-currated world, people expect nothing but picture-perfect.”
“My experience at Disney is that there are always screaming kids, vomit on the rides, and sh*tty food.”
“I’d probably break up with my partner over something like this.”
“She’s basically said ‘My experience is the only one that matters and I can only attend if there’s no one there to threaten my perfect trip.”‘ ~ Rhuthbarb
“Disney is also one of those places where the beautiful pictures you see on Instagram with no crowds are often ones people got up insanely early and brought equipment with them to take.”
“It’s the quintessential ‘Instagram is not reality’ location.” ~ muppet_reject
Others questioned OP’s perspective.
“When you agreed to go on this family trip, you knew it was for the niece’s birthday, but it’s clear that you had other ideas and had decided it would actually be a trip for you and your boyfriend.”
“Now you’ve finally realized it really is a family trip, you’re backing out because you won’t get your own way.”
“It’s good that you aren’t going tbh, because I think you’d be too focused on yourself and your own enjoyment and not anyone else’s.”
“Your comments about pregnancy are nonsense, I think you do need to educate yourself a little here.” ~ happybanana134
“Wait until she finds out that sometimes they have to stop rides to let disabled people board…”
“I feel bad for the cast member who is going to have to deal with that.”
‘“I’m sorry ma’am, but we can’t prevent the five-year-old make-a-wish guest in a wheelchair from her wish of riding the Frozen ride so you, a grown woman, can have a ‘perfect’ trip'” 🙄 ~ Ghostridethevolvo
“You’re a 29-year-old adult, backing out of a paid-for family trip to celebrate a 5-year-old’s birthday because it may not be ‘amazing’ for your first visit.”
“You could have chosen to put a positive spin on it.”
“You could have asked the birthday girl if you could partner with her since you’ve never been to Disney and embrace your inner kid, while also taking some pressure off her pregnant mom.”
“But that would require thinking of someone other than yourself.” ~ Fenriswolf_9
Managing expectations is important in all sorts of situations.
Moreover, sometimes that management means accepting that your experience will be in service to someone else’s.
Particularly when children are involved.