In the complex world of office dynamics, conflicts can arise that leave employees questioning their actions and decisions.
In this collection of real-life workplace scenarios, employees seek clarity by asking the internet, “Am I the A**hole?”
Explore these intriguing tales of office disputes and find out how the world wide web judges their actions.
All content has been edited for clarity.
Play Stupid Games Win Stupid Prizes
“I’ve been working at my office for eight years, and I’ve maintained good relationships with both management and most of my co-workers.
About five months ago, a new guy joined the team on a six-month probationary period. For the purpose of this story, let’s call him Ted, because, well, he’s not the easiest person to get along with.
During Ted’s introduction to the team, our supervisor was going around, introducing him to everyone. When he got to me, he said, ‘This is John’ and briefly described my role.
Ted’s response was, ‘Hi, Jack.’
I corrected him, saying, ‘It’s John.’
Ted seemed a bit confused and asked, ‘What?’
I reiterated, ‘My name’s John, not Jack.’
Ted replied, ‘Oh, it’s close enough for me.’
Our supervisor intervened, saying, ‘His name’s John, not Jack. Let’s move on.’
However, this continued for several months. Despite reminders from supervisors (when he referred to me in my absence) and from myself, Ted kept using the name Jack. Eventually, I had enough and told him firmly, ‘You either use my name, or I will ignore you completely, no matter the situation.’
Ted’s response to this was, ‘Sure thing, Jackie boy.’
Since I didn’t directly work with Ted, I decided to go along with it and simply ignore him.
Recently, Ted had a two-day business trip that required him to rent a car. On one of the nights, Ted came to me and said, ‘Hey, Jack, I’ll be dropping off the rental car at 7 when I get back. See you there for a lift back to the office!’
(To clarify, the rental office closed at 6, and there was a drop box for returning the car keys.)
As promised, I stuck to my word and ignored him.
When 7:15 rolled around on the night he was supposed to return the car, I received a call from Ted. Recognizing his number, I ignored it. He proceeded to call me seven more times and then started sending emails.
His first email was something like, ‘Jack, I’m at Enterprise. Come pick me up.’
Over the next 5-10 minutes, my inbox flooded with emails, all addressed to me as Jack, Jack-o, Jackie, and Jackie-boy. Notably, these emails started containing profanity and even a couple of threats.
I decided to sign out and go home since it was raining heavily that night.
The following morning, I noticed that Ted had sent a few more emails. I printed them off, ensuring that I highlighted the threatening parts. At around 10 am, Ted stormed up to my desk and started screaming, ‘Where the [expletive] were you? I told you when to pick me up! I HAD TO TAKE A CAB! DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH THAT COST ME?!’ He continued to rant until his supervisor intervened and pulled him away. Then, his supervisor asked to speak with me.
The supervisor said, ‘Ted informed me that you ignored his requests for a pickup when he returned the rental car, and he was caught out in the rain.’
I explained what happened and showed him the printed emails, making sure to point out the threats.
The supervisor sighed and said, ‘I can understand why you wouldn’t want to spend time around him. But it was still inconsiderate to leave him stranded in the rain. That’s not the greatest neighborhood, and he could have been in danger.’ He continued, ‘Given the threats and Ted’s probationary status, he no longer works here. Just try not to be overly confrontational with your co-workers in the future.’
A few people in the office have commented that I’m the one in the wrong for ignoring Ted and provoking his reaction, which ultimately led to his termination.
So, am I the a**hole in this situation?”
Maybe Don’t Take People’s Food
“I’m in quite a predicament, and honestly, I could use some guidance here. Objectively and legally, I believe I’m not at fault, but the situation at my workplace is making me contemplate quitting my job.
So, here’s the deal: I have a standard day job, but at night, I assist my friend at her Thai restaurant, which serves a variety of Thai dishes. Although I’m usually quite particular about my food, there’s this exceptional peanut sauce that the head chef makes, and he kindly showed me how to prepare it. As a result, approximately once a week, I bring this peanut sauce, either on noodles or in a stir-fry, to my day job for lunch. Most of my colleagues are aware of this, and a few have even tasted it. The sauce has a nutty aroma and flavor, very mild Pad Thai.
Lately, I’ve been encountering a problem where my lunches mysteriously disappear. On occasions, I’ve opened my lunchbox only to discover that half of my food is missing. I’ve tried addressing this issue, but nothing seemed to change. I had my suspicions that one of the new hires might be the culprit, but I lacked concrete evidence, until now.
Last Thursday, I brought my noodles to work, and to my surprise, my entire Tupperware container vanished. This was unprecedented, and I was understandably furious. However, there wasn’t much I could do at the time. A colleague generously shared her pizza with me, and I moved on. But today, things took a bizarre turn. My boss confronted me, accusing me of poisoning my noodles because his daughter, one of the new employees, ‘borrowed’ my lunch and ended up in the hospital. It turns out she has a severe nut allergy, ingested some of my food, and experienced a severe anaphylactic reaction. She had to use an epinephrine pen, was hospitalized, and now her father is attempting to hold me responsible for her medical bills and condition. I, however, fail to see why I should bear this responsibility. I didn’t label my food as allergenic because I’m not allergic to it. She made the unwise decision to steal from me and consume something she was allergic to.
Despite this, my boss has been hostile, and some of my older colleagues are giving me the cold shoulder because I warned him that I would report any harassment to HR if he took any wrongful actions. It seems like some people are trying to curry favor with him. My friend has offered me a full-time job at her restaurant, which is tempting, but it doesn’t sit well with me. At the same time, I can’t help but feel that I could have unintentionally caused harm to his daughter. So, am I the one in the wrong here?”
She Shouldn’t Have Been Nosey
“My husband and I, both 33, have been together since college. Over the years, he’s had quite the career trajectory. He’s a quant PM and makes like 10x what I make (and I make a good salary haha!). As we’ve grown wealthier, I’ve learned that people become nosier. Friends, acquaintances, relatives, you name it. In the beginning, I would entertain the nosy questions, but since I turned 30, I’ve adopted a ‘take no sh*t’ attitude. When people ask me how much he makes, I no longer say anything. I’ve learned the hard way that giving an exact number can have bad consequences.
My co-worker, who is 25 and new to the office, has already gained quite the reputation. She’s very chatty, catty, and gossipy, you get the gist. You can just tell she craves wealth and status. She wears a bunch of flashy designer items and is always asking the ladies around the office which of the men are single.
Last Friday, our office hosted an afternoon happy hour. She approached me and asked how my husband’s and my recent vacation to Europe went. I told her it went well and briefly summarized what we did. Then the conversation went something like this:
Her: ‘So what does your husband do?’
Me: ‘He works in finance.’
Her: ‘Oh wow, he must make a ton then to be taking you on all these lavish vacations! I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how much does he make in a year?’
Me: ‘Yes, we’re very lucky that he makes a good salary.’ Polite smile.
Her: ‘Oh c’monnn I won’t tell anyone. How much does he rake in a year? Millions?’
Me: Awkward chuckle. ‘I’d rather not say, but it’s up there!’
Her: ‘What, he doesn’t allow you to give an exact number or something?’
Me: Visibly annoyed. ‘No, I just prefer not to say.’
Her: Laughs in my face. ‘You’d think the stuck-up one would be the one with money, not the one without!’
Me: ‘You should learn how to take ‘no’ for an answer and when to quit being a nosy person. It’s a valuable lesson.’
Then I smiled at her and walked away. Later on, a few co-workers reached out to me and said that she was crying and left early and that I should apologize for calling her a rude name. I refused. I told my mom, and she said I was too rude to the new girl and that she’s young and might not fully understand ‘salary talk.’ I think she’s old enough. My husband is fully on my side but said maybe I should fake apologize for the sake of office politics, which I somewhat agree with. But still, AITA?”
Well That’s What He Was Doing
“I’m an engineer, and I’m working on a team with 7 decently chill guys and one guy with anger issues. Like he can’t just have a respectful disagreement; he’ll raise his voice, yell, and get up close to your face. I hate it.
So, I started by just complaining to my boss about it. And he brushed it under the rug, saying he is just like that. And if I thought he was bad now, I should have seen him 10 years ago before he ‘mellowed out.’
It makes me wonder what he was like 10 years ago because he sure ain’t mellow now.
It’s also a small enough company that there’s no HR, only corporate management, which didn’t help.
So, I took a different approach. I stopped calling him ‘angry’ or calling what he was doing ‘arguing’ or ‘yelling.’ I just swapped in the words ’emotional’ or ‘throwing a tantrum’ or ‘having a fit.’
I was kinda hoping if I could shift his reputation from domineering (big man vibes) to emotional and tantrumming (weak sad baby vibes).
So, I started just making subtle comments. Like if I had a meeting with him and he got a temper, I’d mention to the other people, ‘Wow, it’s crazy how emotional Jay got. I dunno how he has the energy to throw a hissy fit at 9 am; I’m barely awake.’
Or when my boss asked me to recap a meeting he missed, I told him, ‘Dan, Jack, and James had some really great feedback on my report for (this client). Jay kinda had trouble managing his emotions and had a temper tantrum again, but you know how he gets.’
Or when a coworker asked why he was yelling, I’d say, ‘Honestly, I don’t even know; he was getting so emotional about it he wasn’t speaking rationally.’
I tried to drop it in subtly, and some of my coworkers started picking it up. I don’t think consciously, just saying stuff like ‘Oh, another of Jay’s fits’ or something.
I got gutsy enough to even start saying to his face, ‘Hey, I can hardly understand what you’re trying to explain when you’re so emotional.’
And again, my coworkers started picking up on it, and I even caught several of them telling him to get a hold of himself.
After a while, he started to get a reputation as emotional and irrational. Which I could tell upset him. But he stopped yelling at me as much.
Anyway, he slipped once this week, and I just said, ‘I really can’t talk to you when you’re being this emotional,’ and he blew up at me, asking why I was always calling him that. I shrugged and said, ‘Dude, you look like you’re on the verge of tears; go look in the mirror before you ask me,’ and he got really angry I suggested he might start crying. (That was a kinda flippant comment, he was red-faced angry not tearful angry, and I could tell.)
I feel bad for being petty and trying to gaslight this guy into thinking everyone around him sees him like a crybaby. But it also mostly worked when the ‘proper channels’ didn’t.
AITA for calling my coworker emotional when he got mad?”