Wish your friend a 'Happy Birthday' and leave it at that
Adapted from a recent online discussion.
NEW YORK: I'm being a baby. I turned 32 two weeks ago. Celebrated with my BF, figured I'd celebrate with friends separately, one-on-one over dinners, etc. (Last year he threw me a catered surprise party for 25.)
Tomorrow is a friend's birthday dinner — she's having it at a restaurant and decided on a prix-fixe. Reasonably priced ($40), but I'm suddenly enraged that I'm expected to pay that and cover part of her meal.
Money is tight, and I just realized that she did nothing for my birthday . . . except to say she knows she stinks because she only texted me. All my friends did — not one sent a card, gave a gift, asked me for drinks, etc. One is pregnant, and the other blamed her 4-week-old baby for the distraction.
Is it wrong that I want to bail out of plans tomorrow and say "Look, when did people start expecting others to cough up cash for your birthday?" Please help me be nicer, because I feel abandoned, broke and mad.
CAROLYN: You're under no obligation to go to people's expensive birthday dinners, unless you already said you would.
Seriously — who gives a (bleep) about anyone's birthday, including one's own, after the age of, I don't know, 18? Sure, you want your nearest and dearest (really — you know who they are) to be partners in making each other's lives a little more special, and so you spoil and hope to be spoiled. Just by this special person or two, just on the occasion each of you values most — be it your birthday, anniversary, name day, Christmas, whatever.
Beyond that, though, it gets silly to keep track except in extreme cases — for example, when someone throws herself a lavish, guest-paid restaurant dinner annually while stiffing everyone else. Then, okay, you need to take note — but only long enough to decide this person isn't someone you want as a close friend.
In general, people pay attention to you on some birthdays and forget you on others, and warrant a big hoo-hah for themselves some years and do nothing much on others (as you did this year and last).
To keep track of every little in and out of who acknowledged whom and how not only verges on ridiculous, but also virtually guarantees you will feel perpetually slighted.
Kiss your BF, let it go. Happy birthday.
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Re: Birthday Baby:
"The other blamed her 4-week-old baby for the distraction." Is this for real?!
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Yes, God forbid your friend pays attention to her selfish little 4-week-old baby rather than lavish you with attention on your birthday! Grow up, princess. Appreciate it as another year of being alive and having friends and family around you and a roof over your head. Oy.
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You know what, Birthday Girl?:
I think you need to stop being friends with New Mommy. She doesn't need the aggravation of a 32-year-old toddler to add to her workload.