Author Topic: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)  (Read 80052 times)

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illa_nell

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #75 on: August 03, 2007, 01:53:20 PM »
At the risk of opening my newbie mouth and inserting foot full-tilt into lower esophagus - I have always thought that etiquette was most importantly a way to make sure people know what their obligations and expectations should be with regard to a specific situation and, as such, could be relaxed within a smaller group.  That is, of course, assuming everyone knows what the expectations are within that group.  Not all of my friends like birthday celebrations.  I, for example, prefer to celebrate with family and don't enjoy larger parties.  I would appreciate the thought of a birthday party, but everyone knows it wouldn't really be my thing.     Also, people's preferences can change depending on what they are going through at that particular moment.   

For that reason, in our circle of friends, we tend to let the birthday person choose the celebration (or lack thereof).  Our friends tend to get together at a local restaurant of the birthday person's choice.  We generally pick up the tab for the birthday person but other gifts have never been a part of the equation.  Usually the birthday person coordinates because, well, she knows when her birthday is, it isn't a surprise, she is picking the restaurant (or hosting it at her home), and we often end up with a lot of scheduling conflicts and her schedule is the most important of the group.  The expectations are clear, so if you cannot afford the outing at that point, you simply decline the invite. 

We all love getting together to celebrate for and with each other and we appreciate the birthday person taking the effort to get us all together.  Now if we could just get my stinker sister to stop sneaking off an paying the liquor tab at her own party...

I realize that a close friend could ascertain the preference of the birthday person and arrange the get-together so I am not advocating that our way is better, just that, within our group of people who all know what our custom is, I don't think it is a violation of etiquette if it is agreed to by all concerned. 

What does anyone think?  Are we wrong to create a black hole where our own "etiquette" applies?  Is there a risk we'll tear the fabric of the universe? 

Afterthought:  Come to think of it, while I don't think we are "wrong" to do it this way, we have created the occasional complication for newcomers (see the girlfriend of a group member who assumed we would be picking up her tab at the boyfriend's dinner and didn't bring money to cover herself or any of his portion.)  So, perhaps it is best to stick with the written rules...(which, by the way, still don't entitle you to freeload at a dinner in celebration of your SO's birthday)

jimithing

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #76 on: August 03, 2007, 01:58:18 PM »
Yes, it is entitled to expect one's friends to throw you a birthday party. They should do it out of their own heart and because they want to, not because you are pressuring, asking, or expecting them to do so. The idea comes from them, not from you.

I'm amazed that this actually works!  Do all your friends get together to throw everyone's party and they participate equally?  Or does it end up being one "organizer" who makes sure everyone's party is done?  Or are there only parties for the most popular people?  Does everyone get a party?  How do you suppose the people who don't get a party feel? 

My group of friends do.  There are four of us in my group and we all talk about what we want to do for everyone's birthdays.  This year, we are throwing a surprise party for one of the girls in the group, which we have never done before.  Last year, she was living out of state during her birthday, so we didn't have a chance to get together and celebrate.  We aren't doing big surprise parties, or big parties, for that manner, for anyone else and I would never expect one.  I am an adult, not a child whose feelings easily get hurt around birthdays, and don't have expectations regarding birthday celebrations.  I would feel bad if no one even called on my birthday, but I wouldn't feel bad if someone else was given a big party and I wasn't. 

I started a posting several weeks ago that pretty much sparked this debate again.  I was annoyed with a friend of mine, one of the friends in my core group, who would mention her birthday in every single conversation.  We had discussed getting together when she returned from vacation and she said that she would call when she got back and she would go from there.  But she continually kept bringing it up over and over again.  Her birthday wasn't forgotten and in fact we had a really nice lunch.  But the continual focus on her birthday really put the rest of us out.

kingsrings

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #77 on: August 03, 2007, 02:58:55 PM »
Yes, it is entitled to expect one's friends to throw you a birthday party. They should do it out of their own heart and because they want to, not because you are pressuring, asking, or expecting them to do so. The idea comes from them, not from you.

I'm amazed that this actually works!  Do all your friends get together to throw everyone's party and they participate equally?  Or does it end up being one "organizer" who makes sure everyone's party is done?  Or are there only parties for the most popular people?  Does everyone get a party?  How do you suppose the people who don't get a party feel? 

Yes, I must say we do a fairly good job of getting together and having "parties" for people's birthdays. We always go to a restaurant to celebrate, and everyone pays for their own and chips in for the birthday person. If there are multiple birthdays in one month, then we do them all on one restaurant trip because egad, that would be hard to do them all individually! Sometimes we'll do something different such as going out on a trip for the day or something like that. We have been saying now that we need one 'birthday organizer' to make sure that nobody's birthday is forgotten. But with such a large group, there seems to always be someone that remembers that so-and-so's birthday is in October. And if they do forget and start talking about how we need to celebrate such-and-such's birthday in October, I can always speak up and politely mention that my birthday is in October, too.

magicdomino

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #78 on: August 03, 2007, 03:42:29 PM »
I have to admit that I was a bit hurt by Ehelldame's post actually.


I have always had trouble making friends.  I am insecure, timid, not very social (I don't want a huge group or to go out constantly with lots of people) and often not in good positions to meet friends.


I also have no family in the area. So yeah I am one of those pathetic people who does not get honored. No i do not try to do my own, but still her post was a bit hurtfull to me. That i am not good enough to have parties thrown for me. Gee thanks, i think ill go sit in the corner and be lonely. 

That's okay.  You can share my corner.  My family doesn't get together for anybody's birthday -- It's considered a big deal that the birthday boy/girl gets their annual phone calls from the others.  After all, it happens every year.  And  my friends either aren't party people and would rather take me out for dinner, or prefer to pretend that birthdays don't exist.  One of the reasons I go to work on my birthday is that I get a cake.  Cake is a good thing. 

Anybody else want to join our pity party?   ;)

Shores

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #79 on: August 03, 2007, 04:03:27 PM »
Here's another source for you, EHellDame.


Birthdays
Nearly all Dutch people celebrate all of their birthdays with great enthusiasm. On that day they can usually expect family and friends to visit them at home, or to telephone or send a birthday card. It is considered rather anti-social for a person to ignore his or her own birthday (verjaardag). Contrary to American custom, for example, where the birthday celebrant is catered to, the Dutch celebrant plans and hosts the festivities, inviting and catering to friends and family, most often at home. The custom in the workplace is to bring pastries for colleagues at work to enjoy over coffee. Likewise, children bring treats to school for all their classmates.
Birthday calendars (verjaardagkalenders), which are usually hung prominently in the bathroom, help people to keep track of the dates on which they have to pay visits or send cards. A word of advice: don’t overlook a Dutch person’s birthday; such forgetfulness borders on insolence.
Curiously, it is customary to congratulate not only the person whose birthday it is, but also his or her relatives, friends and even neighbors. To say ‘Congratulations (Gefeliciteerd!) on the birthday of your brother-in-law’ would be quite normal. By the same token, don’t be caught off guard if someone congratulates you whenever it’s your spouse’s or child’s birthday. You’ll now understand what you did to deserve the kudos!

http://www.xpat.nl/chapter.html?code_hs=10
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 05:37:50 PM by Shores »
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Eloe

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2007, 07:03:23 PM »
I must say that until I found this site, I have never even heard about the concept of hosting a party in someone's honour. It is just not done here (Poland). If anyone has a party, they have to host it for themselves (we don't have wedding showers or baby showers, mind you).

For a birthday or nameday a person can invite some people home or go to a restaurant with a couple of friends. In the last case, it depends on the particular group of friends whether the birthday girl/boy pays or is treated by others. The restaurant is usually chosen together, so that it's affordable for everyone. It is also usually expected to bring some cake or sweets to work to share around (especially for namedays, as - unlike with birthdays - everyone knows when they are).

In case of parties the initiative is always expected to come from the birthday person himself or herself. And it is not a new custom brought about by modern selfishness, or a way communism destroyed etiquette. In my research I have read etiquette books from before the last world war and from before the first. In none of them an idea of hosting a party for someone was ever mentioned.

The only possible situation in which my birthday or nameday party (although I hardly ever have them) takes place in somebody else's house would be if I had some problems with my home (not enough space, unexpected accident or something) and a friend graciously offered me the use of his/hers. However, it would still be regarded as my party and I would be expected to provide most of the food as well as help with cleaning up before and afterwards.


jassou

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #81 on: August 04, 2007, 07:29:40 AM »
accepting that hosting my own birthday party is rude brings me in a whole other pickle: What do I say to all my friends and family when they keep asking me days before my birthday 'when I'm having =hosting) my birthday party?' so they can pop by?

Do we have to go in a dance of subliminal messages where I try to make clear that I won't do it because that would be rude, but that they are free to organise it should they want to?
Without making clear that they have been rude for years organising their own birthdays?

Ah well, I guess I'll just pass on this one and have the status quo. ;)

ETA forgot a word
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 07:33:10 AM by jassou »

Cattaby

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #82 on: August 04, 2007, 07:40:25 AM »
Here's another source for you, EHellDame.


Birthdays
Nearly all Dutch people celebrate all of their birthdays with great enthusiasm. On that day they can usually expect family and friends to visit them at home, or to telephone or send a birthday card. It is considered rather anti-social for a person to ignore his or her own birthday (verjaardag). Contrary to American custom, for example, where the birthday celebrant is catered to, the Dutch celebrant plans and hosts the festivities, inviting and catering to friends and family, most often at home. The custom in the workplace is to bring pastries for colleagues at work to enjoy over coffee. Likewise, children bring treats to school for all their classmates.
Birthday calendars (verjaardagkalenders), which are usually hung prominently in the bathroom, help people to keep track of the dates on which they have to pay visits or send cards. A word of advice: donít overlook a Dutch personís birthday; such forgetfulness borders on insolence.
Curiously, it is customary to congratulate not only the person whose birthday it is, but also his or her relatives, friends and even neighbors. To say ĎCongratulations (Gefeliciteerd!) on the birthday of your brother-in-lawí would be quite normal. By the same token, donít be caught off guard if someone congratulates you whenever itís your spouseís or childís birthday. Youíll now understand what you did to deserve the kudos!

http://www.xpat.nl/chapter.html?code_hs=10

Almost everything you mentioned sounds very similar to us Aussies :) (Although we don't have birthday calendars... but I will admit to writing in big red letters "MY BIRTHDAY!" on my own calendar :D And I think I would be very confused if someone said to me, "congrats on Bear's birthday!"

And I like hosting parties. But until recently, I was a poor student (time and cash poor). So if I could only afford to host one party a year, why not make it on my birthday which would have more significance than any other random day of the year?  Of course, once I find my own apartment, I plan to host parties much more often :)
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 07:47:46 AM by Cattaby »

Cyradis

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #83 on: August 04, 2007, 11:13:21 AM »
Cast Trinidad and Tobago into E-Hell as well on the birthday party front. Throwing one's own celebration is as common here as throwing one for someone else. A birthday here is a celebration of good things in one's life - family, friends, SOs, everything! A party here is also supposed to be a gift of a good time to all guests and not just a celebration for the guest of honour.


cocacola35

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #84 on: August 04, 2007, 11:33:23 AM »

My comment regarding "greedy suckers" was in the context of someone needing a birthday party every.single.year.   I'm not going to repeat myself in post to post, read my previous post to this one about the application of basic etiquette principles across all cultural lines.  Someone can be just as "greedy" about needing to be honored, to be the center of attention on an annual basis as someone who is greedy for material possessions. 


I'd be very interested to hear your response on this.  It did come up earlier in this thread- how come it is okay for a couple to host, pay for and invite guests to their wedding/celebration but apparently you are not supposed to do the same with birthdays?  At weddings, gifts are not supposed to be expected but we all know that this couple is going to get ALOT of attention that day.  How is this "attention-seeking celebration" okay but if you host your own birthday party you can get a ticket into e-hell?    

I'm waiting in this thread for someone who has advocated self-hosted birthday parties to step forward and claim they also host birthday parties for other as well.   

I have hosted milestone birthdays for friends and occasionally I have organized get togethers for other birthdays (i.e. let's all meet at a restaraunt to celebrate X's birthday).  Around here people usually are expected to host their own parties unless it's a milestone b-day.  In my social circle, birthdays are just an excuse for all of us to get together and visit- gifts aren't expected and everyone pays for their own meal if it's at a restaruant.  I will repeat this again: the reason for etiquette to exist is so that everyone feels happy and comfortable.  Around where I live, no one is uncomfortable by the b-day person throwing their own party as long as they are not demanding a gift or that their activites be paid for by guests.  No one sees it as rude and I will admit that's probably the reason why people have accepted it.  Maybe that doesn't matter in your eyes and it is just a downward spiral, but that's where we are going to have to agree to disagree.

  
« Last Edit: August 04, 2007, 11:35:59 AM by cocacola35 »

RainhaDoTexugo

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #85 on: August 05, 2007, 07:36:38 AM »
This thread is fascinating!  I'm "guilty" of hosting my own birthday parties, although I don't do it every year.  I've only hosted 2, I believe, since I moved out of my mother's house about 6 years ago, one for my 21st birthday.  My friends usually ask what I want to do, and sometimes we just go out for drinks, and now and then I'm in the mood for a party.  I very rarely get gifts (don't read that as "I don't expect gifts," read that as "I don't expect, and I don't receive, gifts."  Someone, a guest of my roommate, brought me a bottle of nice vodka for my 21st birthday, and it was definitely appreciated, but unexpected).  Even if my friends suggested throwing me a party, I would probably suggest moving it to my apartment, because my apartment is huge, and most of my friends have studios or small 1 bedrooms.  My birthday is a week before Christmas, so my parties usually do double duty, anyway.  In fact, there have been a few occasions when someone has said something like "Oh, RainhaDoTexugo, this Christmas party is great!" and someone else (not me) pipes up to remind them them that it's actually a birthday party.  I've gotten it my whole life, so I just find it funny, and hope the person isn't embarrassed.

I also take them out or invite them over or somehow do something special for their birthdays, according to their wishes.  I never expect them to pay for me on my birthday, and often even if we go out, I end up paying for them, or at least part of their tab.  In our small group we've never sat down with the calculator to figure out exactly who owes what on the bill, and we all feel that it evens out in the end.  The only time we get annoyed is if someone doesn't have the money every time, but somehow always still agrees to join us (we've pretty effectively culled these people from our social circle).  I never, unless I'm down to my last penny, allow someone to pay their own tab on their birthday, either.  I would probably host more birthday parties for my friends, if they didn't already have firm ideas on what they wanted.  I'm also social coordinator for my immediate family.  I'm the one who initiates plans and calls everyone to organize dinners for Mother's Day, birthdays, Easter, and any other events we celebrate together.  I never show up on a birthday without a gift (and my friends never expect one of me, either), unless, as I said, I'm down to my last penny.  It's understood among my friends that we're all broke (all early to mid-twenties, in school or recent graduates, or similar situations).

So, given that I do host, or at least initiate planning of, birthday celebrations (they're rarely formal parties) for my friends, according to what they want to do (nobody passes a birthday while living in my apartment without at least a small cake and a nice dinner, even if they don't want any further celebration, even if it means a special trip to the store after an exhausting day), and I always coordinate my mom, brother, and SIL (not an easy task!) for family events to make sure nobody's special day is forgotten, considering that my friends and I simply don't exchange gifts, so greed isn't an issue, and considering that I always treat my friends on their special occasions and never expect to be treated for my birthday, and given that I don't often actually throw myself real parties, but usually just go out with a few close friends for drinks or spend a nice evening with my BF, and finally, considering that my parties are not focused on me enough for people to actually forget that we're celebrating my birthday, and not Christmas, am I still being rude by hosting my own birthday parties?

And yes, I know that last paragraph was just one insufferably long sentence.  I'm sorry...

Oh, and is there anymore room in the pathetic people corner?  I'd like to join the club.  Maybe next year we can all throw each other virtual birthday parties :)

magdalena

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #86 on: August 06, 2007, 05:02:52 AM »
Yes, it is entitled to expect one's friends to throw you a birthday party. They should do it out of their own heart and because they want to, not because you are pressuring, asking, or expecting them to do so. The idea comes from them, not from you.

And no one is asking for a three-hour worship of the birthday person. What is so wrong with the idea of friends doing something nice for one another and throwing them a birthday party or taking them out for a restaurant meal? Is it really that hard? That is the crux of the issue. Like EHell dame says, if you have the time and money to do throw your own birthday party, then you have the time and money to do the same for your friend's birthdays.

The thing is, we (well, I am, and so is Shores) are talking about another culture which means: things are done differently.
No, I do not need a birthday party. I do not have a party each year (for the record, I was married on my birthday, so there was no birthdayparty that year  - just the best party ever ;D).
BUT birthdays are celebrated here and the parties are not seen as being "in honor" of someone (seems to be the same in Poland as well, as I read in another post). If I do not organize a party, there is no party AND that will seem odd to many people, BUT they would never organize me a party as that would seem presumptuous. Honest. Parents or an SO might prganize a surprise party but even that is uncommon. Anyone else organizing a party... plain weird to most here (I talked about this with grandma-in-law and both inlaws, as well as some friends who were born and raised here, just to make sure this really was quitte wide spread and not generational).



magdalena

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #87 on: August 06, 2007, 05:10:33 AM »

It would seem to me that the point of view simply is different. A party I'd host on my birthday would not be seen as being all about me but as being my way of treating my friends and family to something nice.  It's not thought as me honoring me, but as me honoring those who've been with me....

Why does this special treatment and honoring of friends and family occur only on your birthday?  It seems more logical to honor friends and family on THEIR special days, i.e. birthday.

We do honor these friends on their birthday, but going to their parties ;-)
Or, by calling them, seding cards and gifts (if you cannot see a friend or a relative on their birthday, you do call them, I'm not sure if this is the same in the US).

Quote
Naturally selfishness is not seen as something positive over here. It just is demonstrated in a different way and many very selfless people would be embarrased if someone else went through all that trouble to organize a party. THAT would feel like taking advantage of others.


It's only taking advantage  of others when there is an expectation of being a party in one's honor.  Sometimes selflessness is demonstrated by a humble gratitude at the effort someone chose to do in order to honor another. 

But, as another posted noted, parties are not seen as being "in honor" of someone.
It's simply a different way of viewing a party and a different way of celebrating birthdays - that's really all I can say. I'm terribly busy today but hope to be able to do the promised search tomorrow.


Quote
To add: it would appear rude and quite cheap of me to my friends and family, if for my 30th birthday I did not organize anything.



Why not try an experiment this year and host small get-togethers of your friends in celebration of their birthdays and then report back to the forum your observations and conclusions? 

Sure, I could do that.
If I wanted my friends to think I was extremely weird.

I host small get-togethers all the time. Seriously, in our circle of friends DH and I are known as "The Hosts" as we host most of the parties and enjoy doing so. And we host properly, no worries, we provide everything that is needed, no BYOB or such unless we've agreed on a potluck from the get-go. BUT whenever a friend's birthday is approaching, they will call us up and say: "Madga, sweetie, my BD is just a month away, and I'm having a party, it's my turn now!"



kingsrings

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #88 on: August 06, 2007, 01:46:18 PM »
I just don't understand how it seems to be such an alien concept to do something nice for your friends, such as honoring them on their birthdays. Why should it be about them honoring you when it's their birthday?

Shores

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Re: Rude Everyone on Birthdays (From the New Update)
« Reply #89 on: August 06, 2007, 02:22:50 PM »
I just don't understand how it seems to be such an alien concept to do something nice for your friends, such as honoring them on their birthdays. Why should it be about them honoring you when it's their birthday?
Why do we eat with our fork in our right hand in USA? That's sure an "alien concept" over here. Why do the majority of us expect stores to give us free bags to carry the groceries we just bought? That's sure an "alien concept" over here. Its just different. Its a different country, a different culture. To say that we're not "nice" is bizarre. Would you insult a Japanese woman for asking visitors to remove their shoes? We honor the people we love on their birthdays by going to visit them, sending a card, if its someone we're close to, we bring a gift. And they in turn honor their loved ones by feeding them food and cake. Big deal. Just because its different doesnt make it wrong. In turn, we could say "why is it such an alien concept for you to thank your loved ones for being with you? Why does it have to be "me! me! me!" on your birthday? Why do you expect other people to pay for you and honor you just because you happened to be born on that day?"
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