This is a situation that happened earlier this year with a close group of my friends, but I still hear snarky comments about "birthweeks". I was hoping to get some objective opinions about what happened and how people reacted. (sorry about the long story, i did try to cut out the non-essentials while still keeping it accurate)
I am getting a postgraduate degree and have developed a close circle of friends including 5-6 female friends including Jenny and 1 male friend, Todd. After a year of all of us meeting, Todd and Jenny began going out. I know they were worried, but it didn't really change our group dynamic too much...until Jenny's first post-getting together birthday. Our typical way of handling a birthday was to go for dinner the birthday person’s (BP) restaurant of choice, heading to a bar, and giving them a gift card. Over time we began paying for the BP’s dinner as well as giving the gift card. This was consistently done for every birthday, but we stopped giving the gift card after everyone had received one (it got really expensive as we added on friends).
Then all our group + about 20 of Todd’s friends received:“Jenny's birthday is Wednesday and I feel like celebrating half of the week because post grad school sucks and we need a reason to go out before we start cramming for finals...and Jenny's awesome enough to warrant this as well of course...
Here's the line-up
Wednesday: Birthday drinks (let's see if we can get her to show up hung-over to the school dinner the next day)
Thursday Night: See Band at Bar (because what's a birthday celebration without that Bar?)
Friday: TBA (can be switched with Saturday if that works better for people)
Saturday: Karaoke, Drinks, and Dinner at Restaurant (she sings better than all of us, this is just a trick to get her to sing but shh!)
Please RSVP to the event for more info and let me know through the wall which events you plan to attend.
At this point, our friend group was all very irritated with Todd. One friend was out of town on the Dinner night (the part which we usually do) but Todd refused to switch the day because one of his friends might be unable to come. I’m guessing Todd didn’t realize that said friend was throwing a party on the Dinner night and wouldn’t be coming (I only realized it later because he had invited me when we were going out, but had since stopped seeing each other).
I’ll admit I was offended by the singing comment – while one of our group is notoriously flat, Jenny and I both sing and Todd knows it. Everyone else was offended by the implication that as a person Jenny was worth all the trouble, but none of the rest of us were. There were complaints about the number of the events, the costs of attending (we are all full time students), and worrying that it would hurt Jenny’s feelings if they didn’t come. When she saw a declining invitee post about how wonderful a boyfriend Todd was and how sweet it was for him to do so much for Jenny's birthday, one of our friends who was out of town for that week commented that it seemed like Todd was trying to show off/make a romantic gesture using all of us as props.
4 of us went on Wednesday for a drink – it was a school night so none of our group stayed longer than 1.5 hours. For dinner, none of Todd’s friends came. 3 of our group were out of town, 2 of us were busy/too miffed to come, so let’s just say attendance was low. Not more than 5 people including Todd and Jenny attended so they went to another restaurant. I'm sorry to say that one of our friends waited until 3 days before to say they weren't coming to dinner after all.
Jenny very carefully never said a word about the lack of attendance, so I don't know exactly how she felt about it. No one who was upset said anything to Jenny or Todd, mostly I think because they couldn't quite put their finger on what was really bothering them (I know I can't). Another friend's birthday is coming up in a month, I'm planning it, but I'm a little hesitant after last time. I don't want Jenny to be hurt if suddenly everyone shows up when they didn't for her, I'm worried about the precedent set by having a week's worth of events, and I don't want to stir up the negativity that was rampant around Jenny's birthday.
Does anyone have any opinions on whether there was anything off about Todd's planning, any suggestions of how the rest of us could have handled it better, or suggestions for how I might proceed with planning this time?