As a natural reflex, she placed her hand between Jim’s and her plate and asked him not to touch it because it was hers. Jim looked confused, and she told him grabbing other people’s food was rude.
Then, instead of correcting or distracting her son, Anna told her that Jim’s behavior was okay and that no one had an issue with this habit in the past. The table fell awkwardly silent until Tom went ahead and changed the subject.
“When they served the next course, Jim went at it again,” she remembered.
“This time, he was more forceful, so I pushed his hand away and said that if he wanted to share, he’d have to sit down and wait until I put the food on his plate.”
Anna became furious and started yelling at her, saying she was horrible and that it wouldn’t kill her if Jim took a bit of her food.
She also said that Jim couldn’t help his behavior and that since she’s neurodivergent, she should be more sympathetic.
Taken aback by Anna’s outburst, she argued that she should be the one to decide whether or not she shares her food.
They continued to argue back and forth at the table until she snapped and said that Jim’s autism was not an excuse and that although he’s not at fault for his disorder, it shouldn’t mean he should have zero accountability for anything he does. She also told Anna she wasn’t doing him any favors by not teaching him proper boundaries.
Their friend group started taking sides during the argument. Tom, another friend, and Anna’s husband agreed with her while everyone else supported Anna. For the rest of the dinner, everyone was agitated.
As they were leaving the restaurant, Jim approached her and asked if she was mad at him. She told him she wasn’t mad but that he should respect people when they say “no.” That’s when Anna blew up one last time and told her to stop “policing” her son before storming away.
Things have been tense in her friend group since the dinner, and now she’s wondering if she was wrong to speak up.