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Thread: Birthdays and friendships

  1. #21
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I'm somewhat similar to you. I've done A LOT for others for the greater part of my life. I've always organized gatherings, did a ton of cooking for delicious buffet spreads whether in my home, another person's home, at parks or wherever. I've always initiated everything and made it happen. People raved about my cooking. I believe delicious food is a huge part of the entertainment.

    My sister on the other hand is lousy at party planning. She orders crappy tasting food such as chicken nuggets, deli mac salad, deli everything, frozen meatballs in a crockpot and her party food is abysmal. I find her way to be quite embarrassing to tell you the truth. Her nerve is appalling to me and I don't approve. I would NEVER feed my guests crap.

    My husband always made sure we had great (not loud) background music. He'd arrange music tracks of easy listening music which added great ambience to all of my parties for any occasion. Couple that with my 'Martha Stewart' buffet table with delicious food and guests were entertained with extreme thoroughness. Go big or go home.

    I did this for years and eventually burned out. I always made it a happen whereas no one else did. They all waited for me to do everything. I got sick 'n tired of it so I went on strike.

    Nowadays, I take the easy route. We meet the in-laws and my relatives at local restaurants, spend time together for a few hours and then gleefully go home! No fuss no muss. I don't have to knock myself out anymore. Let someone else menu plan, grocery shop, cook and wash dirty dishes, pots 'n pans. It works.

    As for my birthday, I don't expect anything. I simply have a low key dinner at a nice restaurant with my husband. I don't need anymore gifts and clutter. If I want something, I go ahead and buy it for myself throughout the year. I don't have to wait until my birthday or Christmas to get what I want. I prefer an outing such as a picnic at the beach or park with my husband. Or, we cook a yummy dinner at home and I buy myself a new purse online!

    Instead of a lot of friends, I have a few core, best friends. My very best friend is from 4th grade and fortunately, she didn't move away and remained local. She was my maid-of-honor. Our sons are the same age. We meet for all day outings once a month. For our birthdays, we treat each other to a dine out meal and give gifts. For my other friends for birthdays, we'll eat out, go Dutch (everyone pays for their own meal) and no gifts. For other friends, relatives and in-laws someone will pop a birthday card in the postal (snail) mail which is thoughtful and good enough for me.

    In the past, my mother and siblings and I gave each other money and gift cards for birthdays and Christmas. However, we put a stop to that because it became too costly due to children and cousins between them. Cards are permissible but no more money giving which saves everyone's wallet. We meet at restaurants for family birthdays and for holidays, it's a big holiday potluck meal at my sister's or my MIL & FIL's (mother-in-law & father-in-law's) houses. With the in-laws, there are limited gift exchanges.

    Try not to look at it as a "ME" issue. If you don't have expectations, you won't get hurt. I know you're fiercely hurt. This is how the world is. People don't care, have their own troubles, selfish and very busy. They all want convenience and let you do all the work, initiating and want to make you sweat. They want to take easy street. Been there done that.

    Learn to to enjoy life on a smaller scale and you will find happiness in the little things. It's not about winning a popularity contest. Tone it down with your expectations and simplify your life. You will learn how to be grateful for everything.

    Another way to look at it is, since you know how people are in your life, continue initiating gatherings or parties and find happiness by making others happy. Try not to think of them as people who should reciprocate your good deeds. Your care and love for them should be unconditional and this world is filled with one-way love, unfortunately. Seek happiness by making others happy without keeping score. Change the way you think and change your perspective. Then it's no longer about you or the "ME" feelings. Transform your hurt, pain, feelings of insult and offense into joy and making others happy. When you see how others are happy and quietly enjoy your efforts, you will start to feel gratified, rewarded and appreciated.

    Keep in mind, many people don't have the talent, skill nor inclination to do anything other than be your guest. They're not good at it, not motivated and have no desire to put forth any type of effort for you. This is how the world is so grow accustomed to their ways! Accept human nature and you won't feel hurt and insulted anymore.

    Change the way you think. Instead of sulking over this, be grateful if people accept your invitation and give you their TIME. People have better things to do. They're extremely busy working, trying to survive day to day, running errands, taking care of their personal needs, paying bills, maintaining households, spending time with their families and loved ones, doing chores, tasks, in school, have children or what have you yet they take the time to be with you. I'm grateful for other people's time because their time is priceless to me. Sure, you're initiating, organizing, perhaps cooking, too but people's attendance to all of your planning is the difference. Without friends or guests willing to take time out of their hectic lives to spend time with you, there is no social event to be had. Remember that. People love and care for you whenever they give you their time which you can never put a price on.

  2. #22
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    Thank you for the cyber hugs!

    And above - I think what I mean has been misunderstood.

    Iím not talking about people doing things for me. Iím talking about being included, being remembered. Iím not saying my friends do nothing if it werenít for me, Iím saying I donít get included unless I plan it. They all go out - I only get included if I plan it. Does that make sense?

    Other things. I was briefly in the hospital and had a surgery a few years ago. The doctors originally thought the prognosis was quite awful, but they ended up changing their diagnosis to something much less severe. Anyway. I had surgery. Literally none of my friends reached out. Iím not saying none of them sent me flowers or cards or bears or came and visited - Iím saying I literally didnít even hear from them. Radio silence.

    What I was upset about is more base than not getting gifts or whatever. I was upset to realize how little I mattered to the people I thought mattered, because now I had something to compare it to.

    I have pared down my expectations so far that I didnít mention my birthday. I didnít want to do anything, I wanted it low key, because that hurts less than having expectations. This isnít an expectations issue.

    Iíve never been treated as well I was last night. Never. So now itís the realization that (1) my prior hurt before I forced myself to stop any expectations was at least somewhat valid, (2) the friendships I thought I had are as bad (or inauthentic?) as I had thought they were, (3) I had beat myself up for years for being unlovable or unlikeable and maybe thatís not true.

    Lots of realizations. Lots of emotions. Because, like I said, Iíve never had that before.

    Even getting the HBD wishes here are making me uncomfortable!! Too much me me me. Not used to it. I wanna slink back into the shadows because Iíve allowed myself to be a shadow dweller for half a decade once I dropped expectations.

    Maybe this clears up why I was emotional.

  3. #23
    Platinum Member mustlovedogs's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bluecastle
    Just chiming in with a big ol' HDB to YOU!

    It sounds like you had a truly beautiful day yesterdayóand, yeah, I'm including what got stirred up. Sometimes we need those purges. They're to be celebrated, right there alongside birthdays.

    Life is about shedding husks, and sometimes people, and this sounds like one of those moments for you. Doesn't have to be aggressive, but just a graceful transition. Life showed you a bit of light yesterday. Keep walking in that direction.
    Wanted to respond to you specifically. I think what youíre saying, about the purge, is spot on. Itís not that I got bad news yesterday, but rather I had a massive, almost life altering realization. Sounds cheesy, but when that hit me... wow. I was completely thrown.

    I like the light. Thanks BC :)

  4. #24
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I know it hurts not to be included and remembered. I'm sorry. If you only get included if you plan it, then you'll have to plan it if you wish to be included. There is no way around this. Others won't budge so it's up to you to make it happen otherwise nothing will happen. There is no choice. Or, ignore and accept the situation for what it is. Again, I'm very sorry.

    I'm sorry about the radio silence following your surgery. I too received radio silence after not one but two ACL reconstructions. The only exception was one friend who brought flowers, snacks and sat on my living room couch for about an hour visiting me post-op while I wore a thigh to foot, very heavy, cumbersome, thick post-ACL reconstruction brace. Family and in-laws didn't deliver meals to me despite my doing it for them for many, many years throughout the year for decades. I never receive reciprocation nor do I keep score. It is what it is. There's nothing I can do about it and neither can you. Often times, doing good deeds to others is a one-way street. Either accept this is how people are or be the bigger person and do something for others whenever their lives are turned upside down and without expectations in return.

    Sigh. People are people and most of them are indifferent. This is the way of the world. Don't be so shocked nor surprised. Either do nothing for them or break the mold, be gracious and make others happy whether it's special attention for them, meals for them, giving them your time, attention, gifts, helping them during their time of need or whatever. Since this world is full of bad people, be different and set yourself apart from the pack or the crowd.

    Or, you can take the passive aggressive approach by ignoring them as they've done unto you. I've done this with a lot of people in my life so we're even.

    As for your birthday, even though it's strange and weird for neighbors to make a fuss over you, I would take it and appreciate it very much. Your neighbor and other neighbors were very kind and I would definitely count them as being very special. Perhaps this is the time to think that it's your neighbors who "walk the talk and talk the talk" friends instead of other people in your life. You've discovered that they're NOT hypocrites and they were selfless by celebrating your birthday with you. I'd feel a world of gratitude toward your neighbor who rounded up everyone else to make you happy on your birthday. I'd write a nice handwritten note and give it to him and others, too. What a gracious, very kind neighbor you have and friends who attended your celebration. You are blessed.

    Since you now know who your real friends are, perhaps arrange a potluck among your neighbors as a "no occasion at all" type party. I think that would be fun this summer.

    Try not to be emotional. Emotions cloud one's judgment.

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  6. #25
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    Originally Posted by Hollyj
    Happy Birthday!!!!

    I think you should focus on the folks who really value and care about you.
    Completely agree with this!!! Why waste any energy, thoughts and time on those that don't? I truly wish these people the best. Other than that I have no interest in such individuals.

    Happy belated birthday, mustlovedogs!

  7. #26
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Cheers to you, MustLoveDogs! I hope that this will become one of your best years ever, and it sounds as though you're off to a great start.

    It's a myth that people 'always' outgrow the petty-clicky stuff, which means that the painful ugly-duckling stuff can come along with it.

    You had been hypnotized into forgetting to embrace your inner swan.

    The little ducklings may have hurt your feelings in the past, but it sounds as though your awakening may empower you to appreciate their provinciality from afar--or to whatever degree you must (or desire to) interact with them. Now you can relax into understanding that just because they don't own the capacity to appreciate your unique value, this only speaks of their limitations rather than of any deficiency in you.

    It's not necessary for any of us to view ourselves as 'better' or 'worse' than any such group, but rather, we can adopt the perspective of one human animal who's qualities simply exist outside of the others' scope of recognition.

    The story of the swan suffering the hardship of trying to fit in with a mismatched flock is multi-generational. Your neighbors have helped you to remember Who You Are.

    EnjOy YOU!

    ((((HUGS))))
    Cat

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