Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Best Friend’s Birthday

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  • #1110414 Reply

    My best friend’s 30th birthday was last August and she is the type who loves to celebrate and make a big deal of her birthday so of course I wanted to make her feel loved and celebrated. She wanted to do a huge weekend in Austin which cost me a fortune in hotel rooms, drinks, food, outfits and a great present I bought her. But I figured my best friend would only turn 30 once so it would be worth the splurge. I am low-key when it comes to birthdays and have very different friend groups so never have a big party. But when I turned 30, my best friend didn’t even buy me dinner. We meet for happy hour once a week and when we met for happy hour the week of my 30th I expected her to at least pick up the tab since I didn’t have a party. But all she did was talk about how she wants to take me out for a huge birthday celebration and how fun it was going to be. It all sounded nice but that was about 6 months ago and she never did. She never even bought me lunch! And now her birthday is around the corner and she is talking about trips she wants to do for her birthday but am I wrong to not spend any money on her because she couldn’t even get me dinner after I spent about $600 on her birthday?

    #1110417 Reply

    Not remotely. Aside from the money friendship is caring about the moments that matter, it doesn’t sound like your friend cares much beyond what you can do for hers. Bring it up if you need to, I think her response will be very telling.

    #1110435 Reply

    Why would you foot the bill for her birthday trip? I’d think you’d pay your portion (your half of the room, your flight, your meals and whatever else you did), and maybe buy drinks one night, but the whole thing? There’s no way in the world I would do that.

    #1110459 Reply

    Lord no. I’d get her a card.

    And write “Have fun on your trip!” inside. If she’s upset, she can clear the air. If she was experiencing money issues or whatever back at your birthday, she could have said something as a friend and you probably would have understood. I’d bow out as far as paying any part of any bill that isn’t yours as far as she goes.

    #1110469 Reply

    Oh yeah. 31 is NOT a birthday that requires anything more than a card.

    If you’re feeling really petty – you can say that you plan on recreating the thoughtful birthday celebration she gave you for your 30th.

    #1110470 Reply

    A few thoughts:
    It sounds like your friend is quite open about what she wants to do for her birthday. You can do the same for yours. Tell her what you’d like to do and ask if she’s up for it.

    Liking someone doesn’t obligate you to throw down $600.
    If she wants to do a trip, but the cost is outside your comfort level, you can just say it’s not in the budget. She might be disappointed, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree to it.

    If she’s your best friend, you should be able to talk to her about how you’re disappointed that she didn’t do anything for your birthday. Keep this separate from the discussion of what you’re willing to do for her birthday.

    Unrelated: You bought outfits for a birthday weekend?

    #1110688 Reply

    That’s a very stupid thing. You need to talk with her about that. If you ask us, you don’t resolve anything, if you share that feeling with her, probably you have good results.

    #1110691 Reply
    Avatar photoCopa

    I’m a bit late to this, but I’m with @PassingBy. I think plenty of people, myself included, would’ve picked up the happy hour tab the week of your birthday, but… why didn’t you suggest a date for a birthday dinner with your friend since it actually WAS important to you? Presumably your friend was the one taking the lead for her ideal birthday celebration and I think you can/should do the same even if your ideal is lower key.

    To answer your question, no, you are not wrong for wanting to spend the money on another birthday trip. Other people’s life celebrations can really add up and it’s okay to say no if it’s not in your budget or if it’s simply something you don’t value splurging on. But I feel like you should’ve attended her birthday trip without expectation of reciprocation. (This is kind of a small point but I also think the present was unnecessary. Your presence on the trip was the present!)

    All that said, you can talk to her and tell her you feel let down.

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