Author Topic: She Had a Birthweek  (Read 8088 times)

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NyaChan

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She Had a Birthweek
« on: December 06, 2011, 06:34:18 PM »
Hi! :)

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)

B.G.
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.

Thank, Todd”


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?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2011, 06:36:06 PM by NyaChan »

artk2002

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2011, 06:53:05 PM »
It was a bit much, and some of the remarks were inconsiderate to the point of rudeness.  That said, the number of events itself isn't rude, only a negative response to someone not attending would be rude.
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ilrag

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2011, 07:01:33 PM »
Disclaimer : I'm on team birthdays are not a big deal.

Honestly it sounds to me like Todd is still in the schmoopy relationship stage and wanted to do something nice for Jenny but didn't think it through. Both in terms of how not everyone wanted to devote their time and money to his awesome new girl and how his comments would make you feel.

I'd assume the response to it (less then stellar attendance, grumbly attitudes) sent a clear enough message. Then I'd carry on as normal with respect to other birthday celebrations.

Roe

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2011, 07:14:38 PM »
I'd assume the response to it (less then stellar attendance, grumbly attitudes) sent a clear enough message. Then I'd carry on as normal with respect to other birthday celebrations.

Pod.  This is exactly how I would proceed.  I'm sure Todd (and possibly Jenny) are wondering what went wrong and if it's ever brought up in private conversation, I would gently tell them how it made you feel. (if they are close enough friends)  But at this point, I wouldn't hold any grudges and just proceed as normal.  I'm don't think Todd meant to make you feel like a bad singer, it sounds as if he was trying to (awkwardly) praise Jenny.

immadz

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2011, 07:26:07 PM »
THis is the problem with choice. If you give people too many options, fewer people will come to an individual one. I am sure over the course of 4 events, Jenny's party attendance will even out. I don't think having a couple of birthday celebrations is rude per se. You just celebrate with whoever is available.


AlwaysQuizzical

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2011, 07:53:57 PM »
THis is the problem with choice. If you give people too many options, fewer people will come to an individual one. I am sure over the course of 4 events, Jenny's party attendance will even out. I don't think having a couple of birthday celebrations is rude per se. You just celebrate with whoever is available.

I agree with this. I think you should plan the dinner as normal, and if Jenny seems sad during, then maybe take her aside and tell her that the group all loves her, but because there were so many events over days your group was just spread out over days rather than together like at this dinner.

NyaChan

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2011, 07:59:05 PM »
Thanks for the responses :)  It is really helpful to hear from people who don't have a stake in the issue.  There is a bit more to why I posted now after all this time - I didn't put this part in originally because I kind of wanted to see if people thought that us friends were rude for not coming to more events without this clouding the issue: 

The next birthday was mentioned in a conversation which did not include Todd or Jenny, so I brought up that it was my turn to plan for the birthday girl.  A friend rolled her eyes and said, "well you should start as soon as possible so that we know which week to block out.  Or are birthweeks only for those of us who have boyfriends?"  I was a bit surprised since I thought the whole thing had died down and this was from a friend who normally has nothing negative to say about anyone.  I just turned the conversation to the birthday girl's preferences and didn't acknowledge it. 

I think I will follow the advice given and just plan according to the normal tradition of dinner + drinks.   

baglady

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2011, 08:02:06 PM »
Here's how I'm reading this: Todd wanted to do some serious pre-finals partying and used his girlfriend's birthday as a hook to hang it on. Nowhere did I get the impression that he expected everyone to attend everything, especially since he said:

Please RSVP to the event for more info and let me know through the wall which events you plan to attend.

If people who might have been willing to attend one event bailed altogether, because they thought they were expected to attend all of them, that's unfortunate. But if Jenny is a grownup, I don't think she'll be terribly hurt that everyone didn't come to everything.

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immadz

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2011, 08:10:15 PM »
Thanks for the responses :)  It is really helpful to hear from people who don't have a stake in the issue.  There is a bit more to why I posted now after all this time - I didn't put this part in originally because I kind of wanted to see if people thought that us friends were rude for not coming to more events without this clouding the issue: 

The next birthday was mentioned in a conversation which did not include Todd or Jenny, so I brought up that it was my turn to plan for the birthday girl.  A friend rolled her eyes and said, "well you should start as soon as possible so that we know which week to block out.  Or are birthweeks only for those of us who have boyfriends?" I was a bit surprised since I thought the whole thing had died down and this was from a friend who normally has nothing negative to say about anyone.  I just turned the conversation to the birthday girl's preferences and didn't acknowledge it. 

I think I will follow the advice given and just plan according to the normal tradition of dinner + drinks.

Now that was mean and quite unnecessary!


JoyinVirginia

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2011, 09:19:38 PM »
Being a student on a limited budget, having ONE birthday celebration event would be the way to go. Plan one thing for your friend and don't mention anything about the prior excessive events. I agree he was trying to impress new GF and went overboard.

GLaDOS

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2011, 01:28:33 AM »
I think you should plan the "traditional" party/ dinner you guys throw.

It would irk me because it's a non-milestone birthday, and it has 4 separate events centered around it. Most people have like, 3 for their wedding (engagement, bachelorette, bridal shower?), and while that last comment you posted about was so bitter my face puckered just reading it, having so much for just a birthday smacks of an inflated sense of self importance, as well the idea that no one else merited such a production.
(I'm team "birthdays are fun times, but not the end all be all of existence")

He may have intended it as some hardcore partying before finals, but he should have said that, not tried to hide behind her birthday. It comes off as one of those "my super sweet 16" parties.
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rashea

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2011, 09:26:32 AM »
Todd blew it. People are happy to recognize a friend's birthday, but that's a one night thing. By extending it, he tried to make it seem like it was somehow bigger than a normal birthday. That irritates people, especially since it's not going to happen for them.

If you want to go out a whole week, fine, but in college, no way would I have gone out 3 nights in a row.
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NyaChan

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2011, 10:19:08 AM »
I think you should plan the "traditional" party/ dinner you guys throw.

It would irk me because it's a non-milestone birthday, and it has 4 separate events centered around it. Most people have like, 3 for their wedding (engagement, bachelorette, bridal shower?), and while that last comment you posted about was so bitter my face puckered just reading it, having so much for just a birthday smacks of an inflated sense of self importance, as well the idea that no one else merited such a production.
(I'm team "birthdays are fun times, but not the end all be all of existence")

He may have intended it as some hardcore partying before finals, but he should have said that, not tried to hide behind her birthday. It comes off as one of those "my super sweet 16" parties.

Just to clarify, the bitter comment, (granted I am assuming you are referring to "those of us who have boyfriends", if not never mind, sorry) was not something I said, it was a friend who was there when we spoke about an upcoming birthday.  I've briefly wondered since then if it was a "One of these things is not like the others.  One of these things must die alone," moment for her, but even so, I wish she hadn't said that as it seemed mean and was a very uncomfortable reminder of how awkward that week had been.  I am also on team "birthdays are fun times, but not the end all be all of existence"

The tension just kept compounding - example:  the night that I went, I offered to pick up one friend from campus on the way to the bar.  I pulled over and suddenly friend, Jenny, Todd, and Jenny's friend from out of town pile in my car.  Apparently when friend ran into them while waiting for me, Jenny made a joke that she hoped they were taking a cab because she didn't want to be a DD on her own birthday.  Todd responded "Of course you don't have to drive.  We'll get a cab, whatever you want.  but you are absolutely not going to pay for the cab, right guys?"  Cue awkward scrambling as my friend tried to explain that she already had ride (and didn't have cash or a budget to pay the cab anyways).  Friend makes it to the bar, but is already off kilter because Todd assumed she would help cover Jenny's cab. 


Disclaimer : I'm on team birthdays are not a big deal.

Honestly it sounds to me like Todd is still in the schmoopy relationship stage and wanted to do something nice for Jenny but didn't think it through. Both in terms of how not everyone wanted to devote their time and money to his awesome new girl and how his comments would make you feel.


Yeah, that does make sense.  It was the first birthday they'd had since they started dating.  Luckily, a friend (the one he refused to change the date of the dinner for) got over her irritation with him long enough to drive him to the store so he could buy red roses and chocolates.  (Put that in there to show my friends do have their good moments)



goldilocks

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2011, 10:28:30 AM »
Todd sounds a bit like an SS.  If he wants to pay for his girlfriends cab, fine - but he shouldn't expect everyone else to chip in.  It sounds like he wants to buy/give Jenny nice things, but can't afford them, so he wants others to chip in.  I think someone needs to tell him that he is the one dating Jenny, not the whole group!

lowspark

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Re: She Had a Birthweek
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2011, 10:44:34 AM »
Wow on the cab thing. He just wanted the friend to chip in on it and just announced that in front of Jenny with no advance planning or agreement? OK, that is so presumptuous. Even if the friend had unlimited funds but especially since she's a student! I think if I'd been the friend I'd have said something like, "Sure, if you want to pay for her cab, that's so sweet of you! I already have a ride though, so I won't need the cab. See ya there!!" ...as I ran off in some other direction.

I think Todd went overboard. I think your group should continue as normal. But I'm wondering what Todd will do for Jenny's next birthday if they are still together...