Mealtime rituals are very personal and vary widely. Some families formally sit down at a table, with full table settings in place, only starting and stopping when everyone is ready. Others, set up TV trays and camp out in front of their favorite shows, sit across large rooms on their phones, or eat in shifts because of varying schedules. There's no right or wrong way to have a group meal, so long as everyone gets fed.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a woman asked if she was wrong for asking her boyfriend's family to stop inviting her over for dinner. She wrote:
My boyfriend’s (29M) family recently invited me for dinner to celebrate my (28F) birthday. They are notorious for eating exactly at 5pm, but since I work in the office occasionally, and it’s a one-hour commute, they will sometimes offer to push dinner so we can eat after I finish commuting back to town.
The last three times they have invited me to dinner however, I have arrived to find everyone already eating, most recently, everyone was clearing their plate by the time I walked through the door. For some context, my train arrives to my hometown at 6:13pm and I will be through their door by 6:20pm - if I go over after working from home, I will be there by 5:10pm at the latest.
I come from a family where no one touches their food without everyone at the table and ready to eat, let alone a guest. Since I was raised this way, I find what my boyfriend's family is doing completely disrespectful and it hurts my feelings that they OFFER to push dinner, and then eat without me anyways - not to mention the uncomfortableness of also having to eat alone at the table.
I’ve brought this up to my bf and he says it’s not a big deal, and that members of his family need to eat at a certain time because of blood sugar issues - also, just to note, my bf has stopped eating before I get there since I told him it bothers me, his family has not.
Recently, when they offered to have me for dinner for my birthday after an office day, I politely suggested to my bf that they eat without me and I will come after I get home for cake or something. My boyfriend said he wouldn’t be suggesting that to his parents because it’s rude and ungrateful, and that I can deal with everyone eating before me for one day.
My stance is pretty firm that if you invite someone for dinner, you shouldn’t eat without them, so I’ve asked him going forward to stop inviting me for family dinners on work/week days. I don’t feel like I’m overreacting, or over asking but my bf is pretty floored I would suggest that. So, AITA?
Edit: Just for clarity, on days I’m in the office and am invited for dinner, they don’t eat at 5. They are well aware I won’t arrive back to my hometown until after 6 - his dad works in the same building as me, with different hours - so he knows the commute well and they OFFER to eat later but still start eating before I arrive just after 6, which is what I find weird and uncomfortable imo.
NTA. You can always say "no" to the invites also, though.
NTA. There is so much here.
"They are notorious for eating exactly at 5pm." That's not dinner.
"That I can deal with everyone eating before me for one day."
This will only ever happen one more time?
"My bf is pretty floored I would suggest that."
I'm pretty floored that he can't see the problem here.
My dad eats every day at 5pm and then takes his insulin. When I’m over there for dinner- I eat when I’m hungry and so does everyone else. The whole point is the company and conversation. We don’t have to synchronize our meal to enjoy the company.
NTA, of course.
I'd be massively weirded out if someone invited me over to eat, only for me to arrive and find them already finishing. That's extremely rude. What I'm supposed to do in that situation, sit and eat alone?
NTA. It's pretty mind boggling that they would ask to host your birthday dinner, but can't be bothered to wait util you get there. And that they would consider it rude and ungrateful for you to want them to wait for you.
It seems agreed that OP is NTA here, this is a supremely weird dynamic.