This week, a Reddit user by the name of @Medium_Cook7987, uploaded a post to the subreddit Am I the A**hole? where they asked whether they had done the wrong thing by arranging for their sister’s “apology dinner” to be a potluck - without ever explaining what an apology dinner was.
In the post, which has since been removed but shared on Twitter, the user explains that their mother decided to host an apology dinner for their older sister, and had asked them to be in charge of the food.
However, when they realised that it was their extended family attending as well as their immediate family, they decided to make the dinner potluck, which they explained means “all the adult guests bring a dish, and all the dishes are shared”.
“Of course I never asked my sister to bring any food because she was the guest of honour,” they continued. “Well, everyone came over and we are all excited to listen to the apology and eat.”
But, according to the poster, when their sister arrived, she was offended that they were “serving pot luck for her special dinner”.
“My sister yelled at me that the Apology Meal should be prepared (or at least paid for) by the apologiser (my mom) in order to show proper atonement,” they continued, before concluding the post asking whether they were in the wrong for making the dinner a potluck.
On Twitter, where the post has been liked more than 7,000 times, it has confounded readers, with many questioning what exactly an apology dinner is.
“Are people making apology dinners a thing now? What even is it? Accepting an apology is private, takes time and is generally not done by insisting on a big parade but maybe that’s just me,” one person tweeted.
Another said: “Is this a thing?? Am I the only one who’s never heard of someone arranging an apology dinner before???? Also INFO: what was mom apologising FOR???”
“So can anyone please enlighten me on what the f*** an ‘Apology Dinner’ is??” someone else asked.
Others pointed out the irony of the poster taking the time to explain what a potluck is, but not what an apology dinner is.
“Why does OP [original poster] explain what a potluck is but not explain what an ‘apology dinner’ is and keep repeating it like it’s a familiar cultural institution relatable to most people,” one person asked, while another wrote: “I don’t need you to explain potlucks to me, I need you to explain apology dinners. Is this some American thing I’ve never heard of??”
Although the poster never explained what their mother had to publicly apologise for, they did respond to one confused comment on Reddit asking what an apology dinner was, responding: “It’s where someone apologises to another person in front of the whole family.”
As for why one would host an apology dinner to begin with, the Reddit user said in the comments that they can be useful because it ensures that the one apologising is being sincere.
“The thing is that when most people apologise, they don’t really mean it that much. So it’s good to have a friend or family member there to make sure the apology is sincere, and the apologiser ‘gets it’. Otherwise, they would say something like, ‘Sorry you took it the wrong way,’” they wrote, to additional confusion.
In a follow-up post, the Reddit user also clarified that it’s not a “party,” but a dinner, and that the “reason for a dinner is so they can not only apologise, but hash things out”.
“It’s harder to sweep things under the rug, or rush through the apology when you know there’s a whole meal to be eaten,” they added.
While most people were still confused, others loved the idea of a drawn-out public apology, with one person tweeting: “Can I get an invite to the next one it seems like your family loves drama as much as I do.”