When this woman feels conflicted about her friend, she asks Reddit:
I (31F) am part of a friend group that meets up for dinner about twice a month. There's 6-8 of us that go together, depending on schedules, and we take turns picking restaurants we want to try and for the most part we seem to have similar tastes.
Last year, one of my friends (Jen) asked if we could include a friend of hers (Kate) that just moved to our city. Jen knew Kate from college and since Kate was new in town, Jen thought this would be a nice way for her to develop social connections without too much hassle or pressure. Turns out, Kate is really nice and funny and is now good friends with all of us.
However, Kate has a pretty serious seafood allergy. Like, not just shellfish or just fish, all seafood. She's not deathly allergic, more like break out in hives type allergic. This hasn't really been an issue since we live in the Midwest and there's not a lot of seafood specialty restaurants near us. There are a few that we tried before Kate moved here, but none of them were worth risking Kate's allergy to go back to.
That was until a new sushi restaurant opened up about 4 months ago. My husband and I went and it was amazing. We then went on a double-date with another friend and her husband and they loved it too. So, when it was my turn to pick the next restaurant, I suggested that we go to this sushi place. A few other women spoke up that they've been wanting to try that place too.
But then Jen spoke up and reminded us of Kate's food allergy and asked if I could pick a different restaurant. Unfortunately, the sushi place doesn't really sell much of anything that isn't seafood. Yes, they have some dumplings and edamame type stuff for appetizers, but that's pretty much it. Not exactly a full meal. But, I did the nice friend thing and picked a different restaurant that we could all eat at.
The next week though, I asked the other girls who wanted to try the sushi place if they wanted to go with me and they accepted. It wasn't part of our normal scheduled dinners, just a few of us. But, word got around that a smaller group of us had gone to the sushi place and didn't include everyone. Jen, Kate, and another friend were upset that the rest of us had gone somewhere without them. They felt that we were purposely excluding people.
But, to me, this isn't middle school. We are allowed to do things as friends outside of the full group. And since Kate has a food allergy, it makes sense that she doesn't attend a meal like this. We still have our normal scheduled dinners, just this time a smaller group went to a restaurant that another friend could not eat at.
Like, if I wanted to exclude Kate I could have just stood firm on eating at the sushi place to begin with. But I didn't. But Jen and Kate specifically think I crossed a line by going behind their backs to eat with a just a few of us and that I'm trying to create division in our group. Now people are taking sides and pointing fingers and it's a whole mess. AITA?
NTA - You picked a different place for her with the whole group, you just decided to go with the interested group of friends to that restaurant later on. They can't expect you to never eat seafood just because one person in the group can't.
NTA. As a shellfish allergy sufferer I went in fully prepared to tell you that you were the asshole, but you clearly changed plans for the person and made separate plans for those that could attend. MAYBE you could've said at the first dinner 'hey anyone want to go to that sushi place next week' to officially invite everyone, but that's not even a requirement.
NTA - you intentionally did a separate outing so you didn't have to exclude Kate in the weekly one, so I don't see anything wrong with that. You don't need the approval of others to go out to dinner, although maybe being more transparent about the separate outing may have avoided some or most of the conflict.