Family Asking Son's Partner To Pay For Thanksgiving Dinner Shocks Internet

The internet was shocked when one person revealed that their boyfriend's family asked them to pay for their portion of Thanksgiving dinner after flying out to visit.

The original poster (OP), u/dkfu202 shared their story to the popular Reddit forum r/AmITheA**hole, asking if they were wrong to be offended and end the visit early on their post, "AITA for coming home early from meeting bf's parents?" They earned over 17,300 upvotes and 2,100 comments.

The OP says that they and their boyfriend flew to meet his parents for the first time for Canadian Thanksgiving, which was Monday. Though the original plan was to stay the weekend and fly home on Monday, the trip was cut short and by Sunday night, the OP was back home.

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The boyfriend was set up in his old room, and the OP was given the guest room. They said that Saturday night at dinner, when they were being served, their boyfriend's parents asked them to pay $30—about $22 US—to cover their portion of the Thanksgiving meal.

"I was pretty shocked and angry because who does that? I've never been asked to pay for someone's ingredient fees when a guest at their place," u/dkfu202 wrote.

They said they didn't answer, but later confronted their boyfriend about the request. He told the OP that his parents always ask their friends to pay when they throw a barbeque party.

"Honestly I'm shocked they have friends," OP wrote.

They then pointed out that their boyfriend has visited their parents and never been asked to pay for his food, but he countered that had they asked he would have been happy to pay, but they never did. At this point, his mom came to escort the OP to their own room, leaving them "fuming." They texted their boyfriend to say they'd be going back home the next day.

"He called me and begged me to stay saying his family already don't like me for not agreeing to pay for dinner and I'm just making it worse. I ignored him and rebooked an early flight (which was very expensive) and got a cab to the airport in the morning," u/dkfu202 wrote, adding that they shared the story with their friends who had never heard of hosts making such a request.

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The internet was shocked when one person revealed that their boyfriend's parents wanted them to pay $30 for their portion of Thanksgiving dinner. iStock/Getty Images

Newsweek spoke to etiquette expert Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of Emily Post and the coauthor of the new book Emily Post's Etiquette: The Centennial Edition. Post said that asking for help to fund a Thanksgiving dinner isn't rude in and of itself, but it's important to make it clear at the invite stage.

"There are definitely times—and I could see a big family holiday being one—where everybody wants, let's say Mom's version of the dishes, but Mom can't afford to throw a 20-person Thanksgiving. And so Mom talks to everybody about, rather than having everyone bring a dish, they just contribute to the cost of the meal," Post told Newsweek. "Maybe everyone's coming from out of town, and it'd be really hard for them to bring a pie or mashed potatoes. And so there are times where this could be executed well, and be a really great solution for a family."

However, if this isn't made clear from the outset, Post says it's not just impolite, but makes things "really uncomfortable."

"When we host people, and especially for something like a large family meal, we as the hosts are expected—and it is part of the tradition of hosting—that we we provide some kind of meal. And if it's going to be something like a potluck or community sponsored event, that we make that very clear from the invitation," she said.

Part of hosting an event is guiding guests on how to "participate well" in the event. She said that the OP flying out to visit was "kind of a big deal," but it's that the OP didn't know what was expected which made the situation so uncomfortable.

"That lack of awareness is the host's fault. You're hosting people, you need to guide them, make sure that they feel comfortable and understand what's going on—and, clearly, that didn't happen in this situation," Post said.

She also had advice for what to do if someone finds themselves in a similar spot. She says that it's fine to say "no" to an invitation, but in a case like this where there's an unexpected request to contribute monetarily, Post says that if one can afford it, one should pay.

"It's probably the smoothest thing to do to say, 'Oh, wow, I wasn't expecting that. Let me make arrangements. And I can pay you can either, you know, electronically, cash, check, whatever works,'" she said. "If you can't afford what they're charging you, I think that's a different conversation. And that's one I would probably want to have aside."

In this case, Post said, if she were in the OP's position and couldn't afford to pay, she would have spoken to the boyfriend to ask if he would cover it, or put it to him to explain to his parents that it was a surprise cost she couldn't afford. Either way, however, his parents put the OP in an "incredibly awkward position."

"That's just so unbelievably unnecessary. And again, by not talking about it at the invitation, this is the situation you create; you put someone in a really horrible position." she said. "This is the kind of thing that can actually cause long-term rifts and divides. People can end up feeling so offended by something like this that they don't say yes to your next invitation.

"It can have serious consequences," Post added.

For those people who can't afford to contribute to a potluck-style dinner, Post suggested offering to help out with some of the chores behind putting on a group meal. She shared a personal story of how when her mother would entertain, her guests would be asked to bring a dish or some other element—like napkins or soda—to the meal.

"At one point, our Thanksgiving got so big that she would have family sign up for a helper task. So maybe you were the person who lit the candle, or set the table just before dinner. Maybe you were the person who helped clear hors d'oeuvres. You might be the person who helps take out the trash," she said. "But she had this whole list of different things, and she would ask you what you might want to do to help out. And that was your little task, and it really helps things.

"But people bought into it from the start—it wasn't something they were told about once they showed up," Post added. "Just a little bit of forethought when it comes to invitations can make a really big difference."

Redditors agreed that the Thanksgiving hosts were out of line.

"Hooooo boy. [Not the A**hole]," u/LetThemEatHay wrote in the top-rated comment with 35,700 upvotes. "Congratulations, OP. You have received a rare and golden opportunity to view what your future with this man will look like. Don't take it lightly."

"I once went on an outing with my odd cousin, aunt and uncle. During the outing, they asked some questions that even at 8 I recognized as rude and judgemental of my parents' parenting style. When they dropped me off, they gave my parents an itemized bill and asked for immediate payment," u/goffstock shared. "My parents were flabbergasted, but paid, and that was the last time I saw that part of the family."

"Why didn't he warn you?" u/princessofperky asked. "Why didn't he pay for you? So many questions."

Newsweek reached out to u/dkfu202 for comment.

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