In a longstanding tradition, the Original Poster (OP) and her husband order takeout for their children during their bi-weekly dinners with friends. Everything runs smoothly until a new couple joins the group, casting judgment on this practice and stirring tension within the close-knit circle. As the night concludes and the aftermath unfolds, OP faces a dilemma that challenges the group’s harmony.
The Weekend Tradition
OP and her husband maintain a wholesome family tradition. Every other week, they dine with three other couples, all close friends and neighbors. In between, they have a date night followed by a family dinner out.
Settling the Bill
The four couples have a standard procedure. They prefer to split their checks, ensuring each couple pays for their own expenses. This arrangement has always been simple and straightforward.
A Consideration for the Kids
OP and her husband have two hungry teenage boys, aged 17 and 19. On occasions when the boys aren’t accompanying them, OP and her husband have a unique custom. They allow their sons to select dishes from the menu, which they bring home for them to enjoy after.
The Five-Year Practice
This gesture has been appreciated and unproblematic for half a decade since the boys were first able to stay home without a babysitter. It was their reward for good behavior and allowing their parents to leave for a night out.
Exceptions to the Rule
There’s only one scenario where the kids don’t get this privilege. If OP and her husband have plans after dinner, like movies or concerts, the takeaway practice is omitted so the food doesn’t stink up the car.
An Unexpected Addition
A new chapter unfolds when an unfamiliar couple joins the dining group. Friends of a familiar couple, this pair has never dined with OP before. Everyone agrees on sushi for the night. Following the routine, OP’s children are texted and consulted about their sushi choices.
The Usual Gesture
The sons opt for two sushi rolls each. As the meal concludes, the husband places an order for their takeaways. The other couples finish their meals, drinking the last of their wine and enjoying good conversation.
The Disapproving Comment
However, the wife of the new couple expresses her disapproval, finding OP’s takeaway gesture for the kids inconsiderate and tacky. She doesn’t believe they should be feeding the rest of their family after their group meal.
Holding the Ground
Caught off-guard, OP’s husband responds, telling her that this is a regular practice for them. He also hints they’re free to leave whenever they wish; there’s no need to wait for the takeout food orders to arrive.
The Morning After
OP’s phone buzzes with a new message the following day. It’s from her friend, conveying the new couple’s discontent. The takeout order embarrassed them. OP is puzzled as they’ve never raised objections before.
A Tense Proposition
The friend wishes to avoid conflict and proposes a compromise. She requests that when the new couple dines with them, the takeout practice should be halted. She believes this will keep the peace.
Standing Up for Principles
OP is taken aback by the absurd proposal. She finds the request inappropriate and asserts her family’s longstanding tradition. If the new couple is uncomfortable, she’d rather not dine with them at all.
Reflections on Respect
It’s not just about the takeout. For OP, it’s about the underlying respect and understanding amongst friends. Should longstanding traditions be compromised for newcomers? With the current dynamics, OP has decisions to make.
OP’s practices have always been accepted by her group. Ordering for the kids was never an issue before. Why has it become problematic now with the addition of one new couple? Their next move will set the tone for future dinners.
Was The Woman’s Behavior Appropriate?
OP posts her story online for feedback and guidance from the internet community. The readers in the forum had a lot of mixed views on the matter.
One reader said, “I’m baffled about why the other couple was offended. Tell your friends they are welcome to dine with them or with you, but you won’t be dining with them again.”
Another Commenter Thinks
Another responder wrote, “It seems so strange that OP’s friend wants to force all of these people to continue to spend time together when they don’t seem to get along. Why force it if the first interaction wasn’t great?”
A Third View on The Story
A different person stated, “It would feel awkward to pay and leave a table when another couple is still waiting for more food/their bill to arrive. If I had plans to be elsewhere that evening, it might irritate me also.”
A Final Perspective on the Matter
Another reader commented, “If you are ordering at the end when everyone is leaving, and you are paying for it, why do they care so much? Do they need you to walk them to their car or hold their hands to cross the street? It’s none of their business if you bring takeout home.”