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Surprise Party Guest of Honor Etiquette

I’m hoping for an objective, third party opinion regarding surprise parties. My aunt and I are trying to figure out which one of us owes the other an apology.

If you hear about a surprise party being thrown in your honor ahead of time, are you under any etiquette obligation to attend? If you walk into a surprise party, are you obligated to stay?

If you know the “guest of honor” absolutely hates parties, and has already turned down people who have asked if they can host a party for her, is it considered rude to throw a surprise party for that person? 0419-13

The first question to be asked of oneself is, “Who is being served by my possible actions?”   If you know the guest of honor loathes parties and particularly a surprise party, who is really being served by hosting in defiance of that preference?   The party host/ess, of course.   There could any number of reasons why a party host would carry forth with party plans he/she knows without a shadow of a doubt the guest of honor would not appreciate.    Selfish entitlement of their own preferences, a desire to have control over the GOH (surprise parties do have the effect of catching someone off-guard), a desire to showcase his/her hospitality skills/cooking.

Since you note that the birthday guest of honor is female, there may be an engrained perception that when women say, “No”, they really mean, “Yes”, and that her protestations are merely a show to convince others that while she may want a party, she doesn’t want to appear eager to be the center of attention.  I’m not into playing those kinds of speculation games and take people at their word so “no” means “no”.

If you knew ahead of time that a surprise party was planned, you could feign ignorance of the plans and simply avoid being anywhere near the scheduled party or anyone’s attempt to surprise you.   A sudden business trip would be a handy excuse.  After all, you are not supposed to know about this party and can, in freedom, make alternative plans as if you had a life and lived it accordingly.

But if you are surprised and happen to walk right into the midst of a party in your honor, I’m afraid you need to suck it up and be gracious to the guests.   The host/ess may be a conniving, selfish person who weaseled you into attending a party you had repeatedly stated you did not want but the other guests may not know that.   You do not want to create an awkward scene which communicates guilt to the other guests who may believe they are there under good pretenses and intentions.   You don’t have to party til the wee hours of morning but make your rounds to all the guests, thank them for the good wishes and being there, eat a slice of cake and graciously make your departure.   And then never, ever trust the party host/ess ever again to have any regard for your personal preferences.


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  • Mabel April 22, 2013, 10:32 pm

    One thing I hate above all others is when people plain don’t listen to me. If I said no to something, I meant NO. I didn’t mean yes, I didn’t mean maybe.
    That said, I would love it if someone would throw me a surprise party. Never gonna happen. 🙁

  • Michelle C Young April 22, 2013, 11:26 pm

    I had a surprise party for my 18th birthday, and boy, was I surprised!

    My roommates planned a party for me, in my bedroom, while I was trying to sleep. Naturally I overheard their plans, but tried to play possum and enjoy the planning. I felt all special and honored that they were planning this for me, as well as amused that they did it in the same room with me, rather than the common room.

    Then one of them said, “Let’s get her balloons. I’m sure she’s never had a balloon in her life. They don’t have them in (country where I had lived through high school).” Well, at that, I had to laugh, and say, “Of COURSE they have balloons there!” It’s a major European country, not some little third world place where you’re lucky to find clean water. Besides, I’d been in America all through junior high and middle school.

    They didn’t like my reaction, though, and got mad. “Just for that, we won’t throw you a party, at all!” I was a bit disappointed, but not too much, because I knew I’d have a good time, anyway. My brother and I were already making plans for the day.

    On my birthday, my parents sent me some money, and my brother and I went out and spent it on fun stuff like the arcade and dinner at a restaurant – a real splurge for a college freshman on a budget. Finally, we went back to my dorm, and lo and behold, there was a surprise party!

    Part of the surprise were three guys who my roommates ASSUMED were my friends. I assumed they were my roommates’ friends, and had been invited to fill out the numbers. Nope. Just plain old crashers. How they found out about the party is still a mystery. But they were kind crashers, and we had a great time. And I was pleased that my roommates had thrown me a party, after all.

    However, anyone who knows me knows that I am not afraid to be put on the spot. I have friends who would have been mortified, at best.

    As for the OP’s situation, if the person knows full well that you do not want (a thing), and you TELL them you do not want (a thing), and they go ahead and do (the thing), anyway, that is just heinous. Especially when you consider that “surprise party” is not the only “thing” that they could do against your wishes. Take your pick of activity you really don’t like, and fill in that blank, and soon enough, you’ll see just how awful it is. For example, if the “thing” was sex, not only would it be heinously rude, it would be downright criminal. I am not minimizing rape. I am simply saying that the principle is the same. The hostess forcing a known-unwanted surprise party on an unsuspecting guest of honor is taking away that GOH’s right to choose, and and by her actions is declaring the hostess’s blatant, and I might even say hostile, disregard for the wishes and feelings of the so-called guest of honor. That is selfish, at best and malicious, at worst.

    My opinion – if you find out about an unwanted surprise party in advance (and by advance, I mean before anyone yells “Surprise”, even if only by five minutes), I think you are perfectly within your rights to make immediate other plans. As for the poor guests who made travel plans, or whatever, YOU do not owe them an apology. The hostess does. By all means, find out who was there, and write them a nice thank-you note, after the fact. “Georgia informs me that you attended a surprise party in my honor. Thank you so much for your well-wishes. Perhaps we can get together another time.”

    If you are caught out with a true surprise, well, you can suck it up or not, as you choose. I’ve known plenty of people who have anxiety attacks when faced with a shock, and my own father has to carry around nitro-glycerin for his heart. Shocks such as that can be dangerous to people with certain physical issues. I’ve also known a few people with some emotional issues for which such a shock would be triggering, and they might very well panic and run away screaming, remembering some past trauma. So I would be quite forgiving if I were attending such a party and the GOH bolted from it. After all, a person who hates surprise parties that much generally has a real *reason* to hate them, and I will not judge them for it.

    If, and I mean IF, you are up for it at the time, by all means play the gracious guest and socialize with the guests at the time. If you are not up for it, because of physical reasons, or maybe it triggered a panic attack, or whatever, then do what you need to do to protect yourself, and again, the hostess owes the guests the apology. The hostess KNEW it was a trigger for you, but put you in that position, and by doing so, she also put the GUESTS in the position of having to deal with an absentee GOH and an awkward situation. It’s all on her. Whether you “suck it up” or not, when that party is over, by all means give the rat who put you in that position a severe scolding.

    At my old job, I was in charge of keeping up the list of birthdays, sending cards, and organizing the monthly birthday luncheon. Some people didn’t want their birthday even listed, let alone celebrated in any way, and we always honored that. Thank goodness!

  • Michelle C Young April 22, 2013, 11:30 pm

    Now, for an example of a really GOOD surprise party, as well as really knowing your audience, please see the TV show “Castle,” that aired on April 1 this year. You can watch it at the ABC website, at least for another few weeks.

    I really love that series. Long may it rule the airwaves!

  • Michelle C Young April 22, 2013, 11:39 pm

    Piperpur – Oh my gosh that is horrifying! How incredibly cruel!

    That “friend” has the sickest sense of humor. To do that to someone without emotional issues is cruel enough, but to do it to someone with issues, especially a fear of abandonment, is downright dangerous!

    As a person who has once seriously considered suicide, his statement that he didn’t know if he would have been around for the real party three days later just makes my skin crawl with horror. I really believe him on that. And this was supposed to be “funny”??! What if he had really killed himself because that was the last straw?

    And you socialize with this cruel person because WHY?!?!?

  • Cat April 23, 2013, 9:01 am

    MichelleP-If you know your sister cannot keep anything to herself, then you never tell you sister anything you do not want on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. Neither do you tell it to anyone who might tell your sister.
    We had a teacher like that in our school. I had discussed it with a friend that we would never let her know anything that we did not want published. I had a highly personal situation that I told only to my friend. She went running to the school blabbermouth and she informed the entire faculty and all my students.
    Her husband had just left her for another man and her five year old was seriously disturbed and seeing a psychiatrist. It took all the good manners I had not to tell a student that when I caught her telling the student all about me. She could not understand why she couldn’t say whatever she wanted about me. I had to tell her it was none of her business.
    I wrote the friend who had betrayed my confidence, told her that the next time she had a bit of juicy gossip to spread around, to remember who had to pay the price of her gossiping, and that she was never to contact me again.

  • Crinklestein April 23, 2013, 9:30 am

    I’ve only had one surprise party in my life and I will be happy never to have one again. I could have told my folks that none of the people they invited would show up.

  • Angela April 23, 2013, 9:44 am

    Unless you KNOW someone would love a surprise party (the person has dropped hints, maybe), it strikes me as a controlling thing to do. I heard a horrid story about a surprise, though not a party (and I heard it at a surprise party, go figure). The married women at the party were talking about how they got engaged and one of the women was divorced. She wanted to join in anyway and this is what she said: she had been going out with this guy a while and it was serious. He took her to his home to meet his parents, but then he and his mom left for a fairly long time, leaving her with his dad. They returned and that night after dinner, he drove her to a remote area, parked and turned to her. She thought “This is it! He’s going to ask me!” Instead, he told her that he was sorry for leading her on, that it wasn’t serious, and ON AND ON until she was crying…then pulled out a box with a ring and said essentially “Just kidding! Will you marry me?”
    After telling this story, the entire room fell silent. All of us, married and single, were thinking the same thing. Probably the same thing you’re thinking right now.

  • MichelleP April 23, 2013, 11:29 am

    Anyone else remember that episode of the Golden Girls when Blanche forbids a party because she hates getting a year older? Rose went ahead and planned one, then Dorothy brought the agoraphobic hippie to the house and they surprised him half to death???

    Love the site and the advice!

  • Hanna April 23, 2013, 12:02 pm

    This isn’t about a surprise party, but for my SIL’s baby shower, she sat down with the hosts (two of her aunts) and went through a list of games that were acceptable to her, and games she absolutely did not want to play (like the melted chocolate bar in the diaper game). When the shower day arrived, what is the first game we all played? That stupid diaper game. Who does that? When she specifically asked not to include that game in the planning?

  • RobM April 23, 2013, 1:59 pm

    The idea that people who don’t like surprise parties just haven’t met the right surprise party yet is similar to the idea that introverts can be fixed by being forced to behave like extraverts.

    I’m an introvert and I would loathe being the GoH at a surprise party. I’m very close to some family and friends, all of whom I adore and I could handle turning up to meet some of them for some kind of party activity and finding all of them there… that wouldn’t be too bad… but I honestly don’t think I could handle being totally surprised out of the blue by all kinds of friends and acquaintances. “Just suck it up” wouldn’t be an option.

  • Asharah April 23, 2013, 2:34 pm

    @doodlemor, Did you actually know this person? Cause that sounds suspiciously like some urban legands I heard.
    One version, the guy is invited to lunch by his secretary after thinking everyone else forgot his birthday. She invites him to her place and excuses herself. Assuming they’ll be having sex he disrobes, only to have her walk back in with his wife and friends bearing cake & presents. SURPRISE!
    In another version, the teenaged birthday girl is taking advantage of her parents allegedly being out of town for some hanky-panky with boyfriend. When her mom calls and asks her to go downstairs to check on something, boyfriend carries her downstairs piggyback with both of them naked, right into the midst of the surprise birthday party.
    They also have one where the husband is throwing a surprise party for the wife. He tells her they are going out to a fancy restaurant for a birthday meal, then sneaks everyone in while she’s upstairs showering and getting dressed. Wife comes downstairs either naked or in a towel and calls out to husband, inviting him to have a “quickie” before they go! OOPS!

  • Katherine (OP) April 23, 2013, 7:04 pm

    Hello…thank you for all the comments.

    To elaborate on my situation, my aunt threw me a surprise party, despite knowing I hate parties. My oldest, dearest friend flagged me on it after she was contacted via facebook with an invite. I contacted my aunt and told her to cancel it, don’t do this to me, etc and informed her there was no way she’d get me to show up at the party anyway, so she might as well drop it. She “agreed” but then conspired with a different friend (who pet sits for me and therefore has a key) to move the party to my house, so I ended up coming home from work to find a surprise party in my living room.

    I did end up leaving, but hopefully gracefully. I basically said ‘wow, thanks so much for coming, but I agreed to babysit tonight, so I was just coming home for my books and a change of clothes.” I said hi and hugged everyone, then went into my room, changed, grabbed some books and left.

    My aunt has since demanded an apology. I have since demanded the key back from my friend/pet sitter.

  • Katherine (OP) April 23, 2013, 7:11 pm

    To be clear, having to babysit was a total lie. That’s part of why my aunt was so mad; she figured out that I lied about that to get out of her party.

  • NostalgicGal April 23, 2013, 11:40 pm

    I had exactly one surprise party held for me, yet…

    In the company I worked for, I had helped toss many a party for baby shower or birthday (when someone NEEDED that party) or the traditional going away. You knew there would be a going away party, with cake and a few cards.

    It had become my turn and I suddenly developed a deaf ear and blind eye, and I behaved. I knew all the machinations and knew exactly every detail, but. I obligingly went upstairs to deliver some reports for my boss at the right time then came back down to smile and eat some sheet cake and accept the cards and otherwise be a good person. In this case it was what you did and you went along with it.

    The party events Piperpur relates, how awful. I so hope that ‘friend’ that instigated all that became an EX friend amongst the circle. Kudos for the tipoff in this case.

  • --Lia April 24, 2013, 7:07 am

    OP– Now that we have the details, I think we can safely advise you to steer clear of your aunt from here on out. She didn’t just go against your wishes. She broke into your house! You left gracefully, but you would have been within your rights to go into your room and call the police! Granted she got the key from your petsitter, but your petsitter should never have given her the key. I take that to be common sense from someone you employ. I hope that in addition to getting the key back, you’ve changed the locks, dropped the petsitter from your list of friends, and will do everything you can to make sure she never gets a reference from you. Planning a surprise party without the guest of honor’s consent is bad enough, taking over someone’s house without their permission is a horrible violation. While your aunt is busy demanding an apology from you, I’d be tempted to ask her what became of several expensive and now missing items. O.K., not really. It’s never alright to lie or falsely accuse, but that’s how angry I am, and it seems like that’s the only way to drive home how grossly inappropriately she behaved.

  • Sarah April 24, 2013, 7:43 am

    Katherine (OP), that seems an excellent way to handle things to me. You found out and told her, without any room for misunderstandings, that you DID NOT want a party and you WOULD NOT attend.

    She agreed to that. Then she broke the agreement and entered your home without permission. Entering your home without permission and bringing a party with her should warrant an apology to you all on its own. Going back on her word warrants another.

    You did a good job of greeting and thanking everyone and diplomatically leaving. You also did a good job of getting your house keys back and making sure your home is secure. Your aunt wouldn’t have made copies, would she?

    If she demands an apology again, simply state, “I told you I did not want a party and that I would not attend. You agreed. You broke that agreement and entered my house without my permission and brought people with you. I was startled and hurt that you would break your word and disregard my wishes. I am under no obligation to attend social events that are being forced on me. I preferred to tell people that I had to baby-sit rather than telling them that you had entered my home without permission and that I had told you I didn’t want a party. The baby-sitting excuse was better than airing our dirty laundry. I will not apologize for it.”

  • Anonymous April 24, 2013, 7:44 am

    @Katherine–I think you handled your situation of the unwanted surprise party perfectly, and your aunt is the one who owes you an apology, not the other way around.

  • Lo April 24, 2013, 8:49 am

    @ Katherine (OP)

    In the situation as you describe it, all blame is definitely on your aunt. In this case because you already found out there would be a party, already put the nix on it, and then your aunt went through with it again she got exact what she deserves. She should be coming to you to apologize and beg your forgiveness for putting you in that position. I do not blame you at all for leaving.

  • Michelle C Young April 24, 2013, 9:39 am

    Katherine, I think you handled it perfectly.

    As for the aunt demanding an apology, don’t give it to her. I second Sarah’s suggestion on that score. Although I would just LOVE to give her a long lecture about respect and honoring agreements as well as other people’s wishes, boundaries, and personal space, and I would love to do some other things, as well, involving the police and a short prison spell (I am so angry on your behalf), I think Sarah’s suggestion is actually better.

    Take the high road, but do not apologize, since you did nothing wrong. By all means, though, refer your aunt to this site.

  • Kara April 24, 2013, 12:03 pm

    Dear OP (Katherine),

    I think that you deserve some kind of Major Award, for being gracious enough to simply turn around and leave, rather than throwing your aunt and everyone else out of your home. Which is exactly what I would have done.

    Don’t apologize to your aunt. You aren’t the one who needs to apologize for anything.

  • Anonymous April 24, 2013, 8:44 pm

    @Kara–At the risk of breaking the mood here, your use of the expression “Major Award” reminds me of the huge lamp shaped like a woman’s leg decked out in fishnet stockings, from “A Christmas Story.” I agree, though–the etiquette gods should drive up to Katherine’s house with a big wooden crate filled with straw, and a leg lamp, because she handled her aunt’s gross boundary-stomping perfectly.

  • Nadiko April 25, 2013, 3:14 am

    I have decided that from now on I will NOT ever be in town for my birthday, but will celebrate it elsewhere as I see fit, with whom I see fit. Last night I survived a horrible surprise party thrown in my honor by my sister that left me in tears when I got home. Let me back track a little here, with the recession I closed my business, lost my home, my car and my belongings as finding a viable income after the loss of my business was impossible. 4 years without income will leave you destitute and starting you life over. During this very difficult process I learned that the belongings I cherished weren’t really all that important, and that many of my friends were not true-blue, but merely fair-weather. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m now thankfully, slowly getting back on my feet, renting a furnished room, working 7 days a week, and taking the bus. My sister knowing fully well my long work week, and avoidance now of fake friends told me that I would be having birthday dinner and cake with family after I got off work. Yesterday my work day being childcare of a 1 & 2 year old. It was a long day, I was very tired, hungry, not particularly presentable for public socializing in my jeans & t-shirt, and tired from waiting at the bus stop for a ride from family. I should have known something was up when my brother-in-law picked me up 1/2 hour late. I arrived at my sister’s home to find a Martha Stewart, pink, birthday, horror show complete with massive candy/cupcake bar, champagne, trendy photo booth, and a room full solely of casual business acquaintances I haven’t seen for 4-5 years (and probably will not see again for 4-5 more, or perhaps ever again), save one of my actual true friends. I spent the evening a forced to politely, but painfully recount over and over again the past few years to all these folks that had no clue as to the loss in my life, and frankly couldn’t care less. I spent the evening starved as no dinner, let alone an appetizer was available… just lots and lots of sugar and champagne (and I have a health condition aggravated by sugar and alcohol… a well known fact), I was also forced to take photos in get ups with these acquaintances, though I clearly uncomfortable, and not presentable for a social function (everyone, except me was dressed up), let alone happy about it (seeing that all pictures inevitably are plastered across the world wide web via facebook.) The only part of the evening I enjoyed… finally LEAVING. My dear friend was the only one concerned as to how I was to get home seeing that I live clear at the other end of town, buses were no longer running, and I really can’t afford taxi cabs. So she offered to drive me. It was the only time I got to spend with her all evening and the true friend that she is, she attempted to lighten my spirits making fun of my sister’s self-centered, clueless state, and my growing hunger pangs on the drive home. I cried myself to sleep however and woke up in the morning still feeling distressed. My sister however, she thoroughly enjoyed herself, the compliments she received on her beautiful home, the festive party decor, the amazing sweets bar, and what a wonderful sister she was to throw such a thoughtful party. Yeah… right!?!? It was without a doubt the worst, most distressing birthday of my entire life. Oh how I wish I could have escaped it. This surprise party from top to bottom clearly was not about the guest of honor… it was all about the host.

  • NostalgicGal April 25, 2013, 8:56 am

    @ Nadiko, how horrid.
    Too bad you can’t disown your sister like you can a ‘friend’ that would do this to you. If I was in your city, you could count on coming over to my place next year, I’d pick you up, just to hide out and eat something you could eat; and I’d front the excuse. That’s how bad I think that disaster is. I can also hope your sister gets a cluebyfour but that’s doubtful.

  • ItsyBitsy April 26, 2013, 1:27 am

    Nadiko, you poor thing! I am so sorry that you had such a horrible birthday. I hope next year’s is 100% better. Perhaps your clueless b***h of a sister will improve too. (I don’t use that word often but she deserves it.)
    Best wishes and belated Happy Birthday.

  • Nadiko April 26, 2013, 2:13 am

    Thank you NostalgicGal, how very kind!
    For those whom the world revolves around… they’ll never have a clue as to the offense they inflict as everything in their universe is clearly about them.
    Kudos to you Katherine (OP) for your clever escape! You go girl!

  • Gilraen April 26, 2013, 12:18 pm

    Anybody that throws me a surprise party despite being told not to, is no longer welcome in my house. How exceptionally rude to do this. The aunt needs to apologise no doubt about it. Not only did she disrespect you, she also disrespected your safe haven/house and forced you away from it.
    That you told a little lie to get out of something you very specifically asked her not to do is perfectly acceptable IMO

  • Nadiko April 27, 2013, 3:53 am

    Thank you Itsy Bitsy for the belated birthday wishes!
    Gilraen has hit the nail on the head regarding the worst aspect of such events when they’re thrown in the guest of honor’s home… the haven that everyone’s home should be at the end of the day has been taken from them… they’ve purposely left their guest vulnerable and violated.

  • Shnon May 7, 2013, 11:58 am

    Ah, surprise parties, how I despise thee.
    Before I tell my silly story a side note
    I get stressed to the point of near panic attacks in crowds/large parties and (shock) I am rather introverted and dislike being the centre of attention for the most part.

    Anyway, I had one once, a few years ago, and while I think everyone involved had good intentions I hated the whole thing.

    Two friends had offered up their house for a gathering for my birthday of a few close friends (between 6 and 12 people) and I started figuring out food (planning potluck, asking who was able to contribute, etc) anyway, my mum got wind of it and started peppering me with questions, odd ones, considering she hadn’t been part of birthday planning for me in about 10 years. ‘whos all coming’ ‘when is it’ ‘are you doing decorations’ and on and on. Finally I lied and told her I had cancelled it, just planned to do usual family things in an attempt to get her off my case (literally every phone call or visit it’d be brought up and she never took a hint, again, 10 years since she had shown such interest!). Big mistake, she got ahold of my two friends who had the place the party was to take place at and set up a surprise party to coincide with one friends Halloween party (no idea who suggested what, always worried me how much my mum pushed her way in there.)

    Anyway, day comes, boyfriend makes me a tad late for Halloween party as they planned, I start debate ways to go later and leave earlier, very much having a ‘lets just getit over with’ mentality that I always feel at this kind of thing. While my friend really cares about her parties, they always have minimum 30 people, more often 100+ if they can rent a hall, and are loud with awful (only in my opinion, of course) music, and all around not my personal way of having fun. Open the door to their house and am not actually noticed right away, one guy sitting nearest me on the couch (friend of a friends’ brother) nods and says ‘oh, hey, happy birthday’ and turns back to his conversation he was in.

    Sure enough, behind him on the wall, my sweet friends penned out in black and orange “Happy Birthday Shnon!” and I suddenly felt fear. I turned to hit the door and run back outside before anyone else noticed me but my boyfriend was standing in the way smiling at me, and then I was noticed, and suddenly everyone was yelling surprise at me and I didn’t know what to do, my weird discomfort with large groups nearly made me cry I was so freaked out. I recall smiling (and probably looking as awkward as I felt) as one of my friends came forward and took me by the arm while everyone mostly went back to dancing to really loud hip hop and talking (thankfully) and led my over to where the few people I knew were, and one of my friends gave me a present (amazingly good baked green tea cookies), a few of my family members were there, but left about 10 minutes after I showed up, weirdly.( I recall feeling panicked and asking if they were sure they really had to leave, lol) I was then whisked about and introduced to just a couple of the people I didn’t know, and left wondering who a little over half of the people were in the room. Also wondering where all my friends were… After standing around smiling awkwardly some more and being told how much the party had cost more than once(you know, the one they had already been planning before my mum came along and… helped out by shelling out at least 100 bucks and finding decorations and bringing a cake and some other goodies) Happy Birthday was sung, everyone had their cake, a few late closer friends made an appearance, and thankfully, the other friend not running the party mentioned a few people were in her room to get away from all the noise and asked if I wanted to go. I was in there before she finished talking and was so, so grateful.

    Another side note I spose. Most of my close friends all happen to be ‘misfits’ I guess you could say, bipolar disorder, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, etc. made the entire party not very fun for the few that were there, they used the room to try and calm down, as many had to make a long trip to get out to where it was.
    I then proceeded to basically have the perfect party in my friends bedroom, sitting talking and drowning out the music practically shaking the house with some nice soothing classical. 🙂

    Theres my silly story of my weird encounter/thoughts on a surprise party. I guess keep in mind the personality of the person you are planning it for is the moral? Or something.

    Also a (last I swear) sidenote: The next day, actual halloween day, was one of my friends actual birthdays (mine was the next week) and almost no one showed up, no one thought to combine hers and mine the day before, even though she and I had been talking about doing so with our two friends. She left early, with just me and my boyfriend showing up, nearly in tears, and I know I didn’t have control over the surprise party but damn did that make me feel like an awful person. I plan to throw her a party one year, not a surprise but one that she helps plan and has everything how she wants it, as soon as she’ll actually be home around the time of her birthday 😛

  • Casey August 6, 2016, 3:34 pm

    I’m in a similar situation. Two weeks ago, I told my husband that I did not want to have a social gathering for my birthday. I said what I want is to get babysitting of our two young kids and have a night to ourselves. I asked instead for wood for a simple spice rack that we can build together on my birthday. He said these things sounded great.
    The very next day, he gets on Facebook and invites a bunch of people over for my birthday. We are to go on a bike ride and the BBQ at our house, and it was supposed to be a surprise. I found out about the whole thing yesterday (today is my birthday) and reminded him that I told him I didn’t want to do a social thing. AND, the front brakes on my bike are broken! He said that’s fine, I can just use my back brakes because his back brakes stop his bike, barely. Except my back brakes barely function so they can’t stop my bike. So, good thing I found that out because I had to get that fixed immediately.
    Then, I discover that he has no plans for the BBQ. He was just assuming people would bring their own food without even announcing to them they needed to do this! He doesn’t understand that you don’t invite people over for dinner and not feed them. He thinks I’m being ridiculous to be upset about this. So, this was another thing I had to deal with because he will not cancel this event and we can’t just have people over after a long ride with no food. Oh, and then I had to clean the entire house, because he isn’t concerned about that either – but since I’m a stay-at-home mom it kind of reflects on me to his childless friends that he invited over. I did not want to have to deep clean my home for my birthday.

    I do not want to spend my birthday like this again this year. Oh, did I mention he did the exact same thing to me last year, only it was a full weekend of stuff?! I made it crystal clear this was not what I wanted, and yet here we are again. I wish I could find a place to be and just duck out, but I really don’t know where to go from 4 p.m. to midnight by myself, with no money since we’re broke as a joke.

    I think I’m posting this because I’m so upset and have to pretend I’m so happy to all these people for the rest of the night. And, deal with the fact that he is now giving me the silent treatment because I snapped at him for the fact that I had to do all this work for this surprise gathering at the last minute, and that it is totally out of our budget! I think I have the right to be upset and want to spend my birthday my way, but apparently I don’t have that right. I don’t do this to him. Because he LIKES surprise parties and big social gatherings. I check in with him to see what he wants for his birthday, and I honor that. I wish he could do the same.

    • admin August 7, 2016, 4:08 am

      I think I would arrange to be out of town during a birthday weekend.

  • Tim February 20, 2017, 11:53 pm

    I just had the displeasure of being the GoH this past weekend. I told my GF that I knew my 50th was coming up and that I really didn’t want a party, especially a Surprise Party to commemorate this milestone. As it got closer, I went so far as to warn her off from it and that I would even go so far as ditching town around my BDay just to not get trapped in a party. Lucky for me, well, not exactly, her BDay is close to mine and her Mom lives halfway across the country. So, under the FALSE PRETENSE of a late BDay dinner for her, she orchestrated my AMBUSH….three weeks prior to my BDay. I was FUMING and wasn’t apologetic in saying so. I did thank those who came then proceeded to blast my GF for not honoring my wishes. I was not a gracious Guest of Honor, as I was trapped and pissed. My wishes were ignored and, ultimately, DISHONORED. She and I are now having questions about where we go from here, if at all. I’m the one having the most doubts as I no longer trust her nor do I feel she respects me or my wishes. It makes for a very uncomfortable place to be.