Knowledge is power.
It can be the power to decide your whole future, or the deciding factor in where to eat dinner.
So, what happens when the knowledge that has presented itself not only changes your outlook on a situation, but threatens to change your relationships along with it?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) movingaway1214 when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA For Telling My Coworker I Would Never Go Out With Her Son?”
OP began simply enough.
“I (20 Female) just started working at a new job a few weeks ago.”
“Everything has been smooth sailing with my coworkers (all fun, cool ppl) until yesterday.”
Then she began explaining the complications.
“For a little context before I get into it, my assistant manager, Sherry (45F) has a son, Travis (19M).”
“When I first started working and met her, the topic of relationships came up and she asked if I was single. I told her yes, I got out of long-term relationship this past July and I’m thinking about jumping back into the dating pool.”
“She told me her son was around my age and that we would probably like each other, and asked if I’d be interested. I told her to let me think about it and I’d get back to her.”
“That was about six weeks ago.”
“A couple weeks ago, I decided that going on a couple first dates or outings with new people couldn’t be too bad of an idea, so I told Sherry to let Travis know I was interested if he wanted to meet for coffee or something and test the waters.”
“But that I probably wouldn’t be free until just after the new year because I’m busy with work and personal/family stuff. She said that sounded fine.”
Everything was okay, until…
“And then yesterday happened.”
“Sherry was talking in the back room with 2 of my other coworkers, who are also moms, about their kids.”
“At some point they were making jokes about spoiling their kids and Sherry said Travis ‘doesn’t even make himself a sandwich, just goes into the kitchen and sits there and pouts because he knows mama will come do it for him.'”
“I rarely use this term, but I absolutely felt icked out by that.”
“I asked her if she was being serious and she laughed and said yes, he’s just a mama’s boy.”
“As we were leaving later, I pulled her aside and told her that I wasn’t interested in going out with her son anymore.”
“After she pressed me about why several times, I admitted that the sandwich thing turned me off and that I would never go out with a man who seemed so dependent or unwilling to do things himself.”
“Sherry got upset and told me I’m not a mom and don’t know what I’m talking about and that surely I expect my parents to still do things for me and stormed off.”
“I’m getting off my break here in a minute but she hasn’t spoken to me ALL DAY and I’m wondering if I’m in the wrong here.”
OP was left to wonder,
“Was I the a**hole?”
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: NTA
Some pointed out that work and recreation rarely mix well.
“I guess she’s sick of making his sandwiches, and is hoping you’ll take over that role.”
“It was grossly inappropriate of her to make the suggestion in the first place, in my opinion.” ~ VlaxDrek
“Its already a kind of bad idea to date someone you work with.”
“It only happens because of course you’ll date someone you’re always around.”
“People date who’s around and your coworkers are always around and despite the possible consequences, they’re an option.”
“This though… WTF?”
“Especially with a new coworker, that’s just extra pressure that comes off really bad when it comes to soliciting a date, especially for your kid.”
“It sounds like this kid can’t make his own sandwich or get his own dates.”
“May god have mercy on his soul.” ~ letstrythisagain30
“OP, my only criticism is that you should’ve said no from the beginning to situations like this.”
“If you had gone on the date and found him lacking, then I’m sure colleague would’ve reacted the same way – not well. How DARE anyone not love her precious baby boy! NTA” ~ EmeraldBlueZen
Others were not happy with OP’s coworker.
“I wonder if he ahem cleans himself or his Mom does it for him?”
“Side note: I cannot stand people who infantalize their children to the point they are incompetent.”
“NTA” ~ Ok-Pomegranate-3018
“No kidding, people should teach their kids these basics like hygiene and cooking so they can survive better as adults.”
“Except for children that literally are unable to.” ~ YouJabroni44
“She hasn’t raised a man, she’s raised a mama’s boy and seems proud of it. I’m so glad you overheard this so you don’t waste your time. Bullet dodged!”
“ETA: what did the other moms say? I remember once chatting with my friend with a group of moms and she was saying she still cut her son’s meat (they were teens).”
“I told her to raise men and not boys that their wives had to take care of. She had them cut their own meat starting that night lol” ~ Caspian4136
There were also personal stories.
“My sister’s husband, who is as conservative and sometimes-toxically masculine as they come, LOL, cooks for the whole family at least a couple of times a week.”
“The joke is that he was in the military so his meals could feed a platoon (‘I don’t know how to make small amounts!’).”
“They have mostly daughters, but even their toddler son is already learning FROM HIS DAD how to help in the kitchen – from baking bread with him to using his little safety knife to cut up veg for salads.”
“I find it baffling that in 2022 there are still men being raised to sit and let women wait on them.” ~ FoolMe1nceShameOnU
“My 6 year old son knows better than to do this.”
“He’s not quite ‘use a knife unattended’ age yet IMO but if he wants a sandwich he asks and then fetches the ingredients for me and helps put them away after.”
“So literally my 6 year old is more competent than this 19 year old man.” ~ TheRestForTheWicked
“I had my two girls making their own lunches for school at elementary age.”
“With supervision of course, but the point is, we’ve raised them to be independent.” ~ Caspian4136
Responders tried to comfort OP.
“You’re not supposed to have the knowledge that comes with more life experience.”
“You did something most women your age would do. Don’t feel bad” ~ viotski
“Hon, you’re 20 and still learning about all these things.”
“The assistant manager should have known better though, this situation is on her.”
“But based on what you mentioned about her relationship with her son, her behavior is wholly unsurprising.”
“Sounds like she struggles with boundaries.”
“You’re not totally naive though if you had the wisdom to avoid a huge momma’s boy. Keep that up for sure, and you’ll thank yourself later.” ~ modernjaneausten
Above all, boundaries were the talk of the day.
“Your assistant manager should have known better, that’s not on you.”
“One thing I’m sorry you’ll have to learn is the vast majority of the folks you meet at work ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS.”
“You can be friendly, but don’t mistake work friends for real friends.”
“Rarely a work friend can become a real friend, but almost never will this be a person above or below you at the company.”
“You need to be incredibly careful about friendships at work.”
“There are a whole lot of sh*tty people out there and you WILL work with some of them.”
“Some of them will pretend to be your friend while actively working to destroy your career.”
“Protect yourself by not saying/doing things with or around coworkers that you wouldn’t do onstage in front of the entire company.”
“(I’m in my 40’s, btw. I also learned this lesson in my early 20’s, always cover your ass.)” ~ mstwizted
OP did return with some final thoughts.
“Thank you to everyone so far who has provided their feedback.”
“I just got home from work a few minutes ago and have been trying to read through all the comments and answer any questions or provide any needed clarification.”
“I completely agree with all of you that said I shouldn’t have agreed in the first place.”
“That was absolutely my mistake and I was entirely naive about how things would play out.”
“It seemed totally innocent and nbd to me and I’m very much used to older women in my life trying to set me up with their sons.”
“It’s not something I’ve had to confront the past four years because I was able to say I’m taken, but now that I’m single and open to trying to meet new people again, it’s not as easy to navigate.”
“I guess I didn’t think much of it since I haven’t dated anyone new since I was 16 and I still look at these new date situations like I’m still 16.”
“Either way, I’m not mixing work with personal like that ever again. I’ve learned my lesson.”
Knowledge is power.
Be sure to use it cautiously.