Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Shortcuts: “My Friend Wants Me to Pay for Her Birthday Party”

It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in just a few sentences because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great that being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go.

My friend is turning 50 and wants a party. I don’t mind throwing her a small party for close friends and family with several people helping out bringing a dish and drinks, but she wants it at an event place with a rental fee and she has a list of 150 guests. She mentioned she saved $500 and her mom is paying $500 and now she expect me and three others to each put in $500. This just doesn’t seem right. Or am I wrong? I said I would help but never told her my budget, and she just assumes I can put in $500. — Not My Party But I’ll Cry if I Want To

Your friend is beyond tacky. You want a birthday party? You throw it (i.e. pay for it) yourself (unless you are lucky enough that someone offers to throw one for you and then you don’t dictate what that party looks like, you just be grateful for what is given). Can you imagine if someone threw a wedding and asked a handful of the guests to cover the costs? Why is a birthday party different? Tell your friend you’re sorry but you aren’t able to spend $500 on her birthday party though you’d be happy to [fill in the blank with one contribution you’d be willing to make, like bake/buy a cake, play bartender for an hour, help her find a dress to wear, etc.]. If she has a problem with that, oh well.

I was in love with this guy for almost three years and we were happy. Though we had up and downs like normal couples do, we always talked about our problems and fixed everything. Recently I found out that my boyfriend has a son with another woman back at home. When I asked him about it, he started to fight with me, he told me that he can’t love us both, and he dumped me just like that. Then a few days later his mom passed away after suffering from cancer, and since then he’s been different. My problem is that I love him so much and I don’t know if I will be able to let go of him. — Can’t Let Go

He had a son you didn’t know about for three years? And when you found out, he dumped you, saying he chose someone else over you? Honey, your heart never had him to let go of. MOA.

I’m a 25-year-old lesbian and I’ve been dating my girlfriend for over a year and a month. My parents weren’t ok with it, but they let me see her. A week ago, though, they forced me to break up with her or else I would have to move out of our house. I really love her with all my heart and it’s killing me inside not being with her. I just want to die. I don’t know how to explain to my parents that it’s she who I want to be with forever. They’re very religious and it’s hard for me to convince them. I need help like so bad. — Broken-Hearted Lesbian

You’re 25. Isn’t it time you moved out on your own anyway? Why would you throw away a relationship just to stay at your parents’ home when you’re a full-grown adult? Get your own place. Make your own life. And then apologize to your girlfriend for letting your parents railroad you into dumping her.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

29 comments… add one
  • Laura Hope March 6, 2015, 9:15 am

    Oh I have to call my best friend and tell her to fork up $500 for my birthday party. Because after all that shoveling we both need a good laugh.

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  • Raccoon eyes March 6, 2015, 9:16 am

    Yay for Fridays!
    Lw1: It just doesnt seem right, BECAUSE IT ISNT. Dont let her guilt you into anything. Stand your ground, or just tell her that you are willing to do a small potluck kind of thing, so she gets that from you or she gets nothing but your attendance at whatever she/her mom/other ppl organize.
    LW2: I dont really understand this- you live together but he has a baby momma elsewhere? This occurred during or before the relationship between the two of you? You WERE in love….but now he is different, so he is still at your shared place? Well whatever – HE preemptively let go of you first. So you dont even get to decide if you can let go of him, since HE already made the decision. Also, he lied to you. About having a child. For three flippin’ years.
    LW3: I glossed over your age until reading Wendy’s response. Wendy is right on the money. It is time to grow up. Your last sentence is, “I need help like so bad,” which sounds to me like it was written/said by a 15 year old. You are 25. Move out of your parents’. Like, now and stuff.

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  • absurdfiction March 6, 2015, 9:30 am

    Don’t be a party pooper! 5th birthdays are a big deal, and they’re sooo much fun. The cake, the bouncey castle, the little sparkly tiaras in the goodie bags… wait, you said 50th? Your friend is being ridiculous. If you want a birthday party past the age of like, 13, you have to host it yourself. Wendy’s advice is good, but I’m not sure I’d be able to resist offering to help plan it so I could send her a bunch of clips from My Super Sweet 16, then ask if she’d prefer the white BMW or the pink Ferrari.

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  • juliecatharine March 6, 2015, 9:34 am

    LW3, your parents are exceedingly controlling and you’re allowing their beliefs to destroy what you think is right for you. Wendy’s right, it’s time to strike out on your own. Have some faith in yourself! Yes, you’re going to stumble and make mistakes but that’s really ok. It also would be a good idea to get some support from people who have experienced similar struggles. If there’s not a LGBT group in your area there are certainly resources online. Check them out and borrow some wisdom until you have your own.

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    • Raccoon eyes March 6, 2015, 10:37 am

      Can you imagine being told that you are being broken up with because the person’s parents were forcing it? Ick, Im cringing just thinking about it.
      Im kinda in love with your last sentence. Wish Id known to borrow some wisdom from others back in the day. 😉

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  • othy March 6, 2015, 10:07 am

    LW2 – Just because he’s been different after losing his mom to cancer doesn’t change the facts – he’s not in love with you. He’s going through a hard time and needs support, but you’re not the one to give it. He should be talking with his family and other friends, not you. You need to MOA from someone who doesn’t love you.

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  • FireStar March 6, 2015, 10:09 am

    How sad that at 50 people are still clueless/selfish/entitled. How do you manage to live that long and not learn such a basic life lesson in how to treat others?

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  • Sunshine Brite March 6, 2015, 10:20 am

    LW1: You know birthday parties shouldn’t cost $3000. I don’t understand how your friend got to 50 and hasn’t figured that out yet.
    LW2: Just no. Aim higher.
    LW3: Maybe she’ll come back to you, maybe she won’t. You broke up with her so you can’t expect her to return on your timetable. But what you can do is make the moves for yourself to live independently. If she doesn’t come back you’ve learned some valuable lessons that you can carry with you.
    Look into housing resources in the area if income is your limit. Get a job, roommates, be flexible about where you’re willing to live. But staying in your parents’ house any longer is only going to cause you heartache.

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  • Red_Lady March 6, 2015, 10:23 am

    Ha, I threw myself a 30th birthday party last year, and my parents and grandparents were so flabbergasted – who throws their own birthday party!?!? But then, in our family, a bday party is pretty much just dinner, cake, and presents at someone’s house with close family involved, maybe a couple friends. But I wanted my 30th to be a certain way, and a little bit bigger than we typically do, so I did it myself!

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    • MsMisery March 6, 2015, 1:25 pm

      I wish I had done something for my 30th instead of hiding under my desk, panicking about age and death and stuff!!

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      • MissDre March 6, 2015, 2:59 pm

        I’m only turning 29 and I’m already panicking about age and death and stuff. Hopefully by the time I actually turn 30 I’ll have been able to change my attitude!

      • Portia March 6, 2015, 3:36 pm

        Since I’ll probably be making a will soonish, at least I’ll be prepared when 30 hits? I’ve got a little over a year too.

  • Cleopatra Jones March 6, 2015, 10:35 am

    LW #1: I don’t think she’s really your friend. I mean, you’ve probably tried to be her friend but she hasn’t always reciprocated unless it benefited her in some way. Sadly, I don’t think this is the first huge act of selfishness that she’s pulled on you. If I were you, I would take the ‘L’ on that friendship and move on to someone who’s not so self-involved.

    LW #2: Girl, he had a child you did NOT know about for the 3 years of your relationship. Not only did he have a secret love child but he had a secret baby mama. So either he’s a liar or a cheater, maybe both. I’m not real sure how you can come back from that or why you would want to.

    LW#3: Time to move out of your parent’s house. Seriously! Please don’t use the excuse that you can’t make it on your own. Here’s the thing, if you have to work two jobs to make ends meet, do that. If you have to cut back on your spending, do that. Whatever it takes to live on your own, do it. You will be amazed at how easy it will be to balance other people’s opinion against your health and happiness when you aren’t dependent on them for food & shelter.

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  • honeybeenicki March 6, 2015, 11:13 am

    I didn’t know I was allowed to ask other people to throw me parties. I’m going to start doing that. Can I do it for other people too? For example, I’m throwing my mom a surprise 50th this year and I’m paying for it all myself. Can’t I just tell a handful of friends/family that I expect them to contribute $500 each?

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    • Steph_ March 6, 2015, 11:58 am


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    • Steph_ March 6, 2015, 11:59 am

      Yes you can.

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    • othy March 6, 2015, 1:45 pm

      You can tell them all you want. And they can tell you to shove it.

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      • honeybeenicki March 6, 2015, 1:47 pm

        But if they love me, they’ll do it. 😉 Damn, I’ve already had one person offer to help pay for the place I rented out and I turned her down. Obviously I’m doing it all wrong.

  • Stillrunning March 6, 2015, 11:21 am

    LW1- don’t get sucked into this. Tell her exactly what you’re willing to do and stick to it. The suggestion to make/buy a cake is a nice gesture, but give her a budget or you’ll be shelling out $500 for a cake just so she can have her way. (This is experience talking).
    Accept that anything less than you kicking in $500 and probably doing a lot of work at the party won’t be good enough for her. You can live with that. It’s the consequence of standing your ground.

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  • bittergaymark March 6, 2015, 12:01 pm

    LW1) It always amazes me how so many people make it to adulthood without learning that it is okay to simply say… “Um, no.”

    LW2) You CAN let it go. You just don’t want to.

    LW3) As DW already said… Grow up. Get a job. And flee the next already.

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    • Addie Pray March 6, 2015, 12:54 pm

      Good point re: #1. The appropriate response would have been to start laughing really hard and say “no way, crazy”.

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  • Sue Jones March 6, 2015, 12:07 pm

    LW1 – I had a friend like that. At her baby shower she was stunned that friends only gave her onsies and didn’t gift her hundreds /thousands of dollars “even though they are rich”. She hasn’t changed much, sadly.

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    • Portia March 6, 2015, 12:32 pm


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  • mylaray March 6, 2015, 12:08 pm

    Yes, LW3, you need to move out on your own. At 25, you should be able to do it no problem, but you sound really sheltered. If you need help whether it’s financial or emotional support, there are LGBT and other organizations that will help you. I actually volunteer with one that specifically helps 18-25 year olds find jobs, leave their parents, support themselves, and find a community of support. Now’s the time to stop letting others dictate your life. Start making your own plans and decisions. It’s very freeing.

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  • monkeys mommy March 6, 2015, 1:59 pm

    LW1- Just say no. There is nothing else to say here.

    LW2- I had a close family member who lived this- after dating a guy for a year and a half, she discovered he had a young daughter he never disclosed info about. It did not get any better from there. He put her through four years of hell and lies before he dumped her for good. Be glad you are rid of this loser.

    LW3- uhhhh… dude, you are 25… MOA as in Move OUT Already and hope your gf forgives you for being a spineless wuss who let mommy and daddy treat her like a 14 year old.

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  • Jahaafincher March 6, 2015, 3:31 pm

    Hey, for LW1, I have to state what no one else has… Is this person hispanic? In our culture- even when we move to the US- we have ‘padrinos’ that sponsor parts of large events like quinceñeras, weddings, and sometimes birthdays. The thinking is that it takes a community to afford random large-scale events. As often we are working class folk. But, usually people are asked then they say no or yes I can pay for x or give you x amount of money. And the thing is when someone elses event comes around they ask you cause they helped you out. Sounds like ‘begging’ to many Americans-which I am- but being from a Mexican family and going to many events like this it isnt what if seems like. People are happy to help each other out.
    This may not be the case with this specific person and this jag didn’t ask but assume but who knows.

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  • pebblesntrix March 6, 2015, 6:07 pm

    LW3: I imagine you must be in a tough spot. I know someone who found herself in a very similar situation a few years ago. She was in her mid-twenties, living with her parents, and had started dating a good friend of mine. She came out to her parents, wouldn’t break up with my friend and her parents kicked her out and disowned her. They kicked her out unceremoniously with no place for her to go. She was employed but wasn’t able to get her own place right away. She ended up moving in with her girlfriend (my friend) even though they’d only been dating a few months. It was temporary until she could get on her feet and though it put stress on the relationship, they made it work. They lived together temporarily, she found a new living situation, and they continued their relationship. Now, over three years later, they are still together and in fact, just started living together (this time, intentionally) a few months ago. The immediate family still disowns her but she has found other sources of support in some extended family and of course, in friends.
    The point of this story isn’t to give you a model for what to do or to say how things can or will go down for you but to point out that she is now a 30ish year old woman, with her own place, a job, living with a woman she loves, being an adult and living life on her own terms. But that kind of independent living came with a cost– it always does. You have to think about your endgame. Where do you want to be in 5 or 10 or 15 years? What are you doing now to make sure you get there? Wherever you want to be, it’s going to require some kind of sacrifice to get there, so you have to decide now–this is the time, age 25–what you’re willing to suffer and sacrifice to get there and what you aren’t. And you have to decide the terms on which you’ll live your life, that is, which relationships, if any, are so central that you will allow the other party to dictate its terms even if they make you miserable, and which aren’t? In some ways, it’s not about this particular relationship (though you love this woman) but it’s setting a precedent for your future. Plan for the life you want to have, now.
    And I will say this as well, whatever you decide, you have to know that whenever you put yourself in a position where you are dependent on someone else for something essential to your livelihood, you have to be prepared for the cost of that. Whenever they want, they can decide to issue ultimatums and set terms for your life and you’re at their mercy unless you’re willing to struggle in the ways you must and for the time it takes while you lose whatever you were dependent on them for and get your own.

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  • L.G.J March 6, 2015, 8:18 pm

    oh man LW3, as everyone else has said get out of your parents house, find help to do it if you can’t on your own, there are resources out there.
    I can’t help but wonder though if you told your girlfriend why you were breaking up with her? because if you did, don’t be surprised if she’s not interested in picking things up where you left off. As a fellow 25 year old if I were dumped because my girlfriend’s parents “made her” I would consider it a bullet dodged and move on to date people who where adults.

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  • Wendy (not Wendy) March 7, 2015, 4:06 am

    Maybe LW#3’s parents thought this was the only way to get their daughter out of the house.

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