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Adults should pretend to be happy on our birthdays, for the sake of others


Rihannon
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What is your take on this?

 

I think that well-adjusted adults have an obligation on their birthdays to think of others and to put on a show of being happy, for the sake of the people who love them and want them to have a happy birthday.

 

What I'm talking about excludes people who are depressed or seriously need to be honest about their unhappiness. What I am talking about are people who generally well-adjusted and have sincere friends and loved-ones who may throw them a birthday party or get gifts or do some gesture because they want this adult to have a happy birthday. I'm of the opinion that when you're an adult, and not part of the excluded population I mentioned earlier, that you kind of have to just suck it up and pretend to enjoy the birthday gestures from the people who love you and care about you. I think you, as an adult, can be selfish every day of the year, but actually on your birthday you need to practice gratitude and maybe even a little fake happiness for the sake of others, at least to humor them.

 

I know some adults who are not happy about their birthdays. They don't like the attention, they get grouchy and sad and annoyed on their birthdays and they will not humor others, will not even pretend to be happy. It causes pain and worry and regret for other people and to me that's just mean. It's only one day, out of the year, and people mean well, so I say just deal with it. Again, I'm only talking about people who don't like their birthdays. And they should be able to make that clear to everyone if they don't want parties and well-wishes and gifts. But, if people ignore that, and make a to-do about your birthday, and you're not seriously depressed and sad otherwise, you just have to suck it up, smile, and say thank-you, and pretend that person made you happy on your birthday.

 

I asked someone why he did this and he said it was selfish of the other people to demand his happiness for their sake, on his birthday, no less. But I'm of the opinion that that is exactly when people can demand that. I don't know why, and it's not fair. And I also think we have to pretend to be happy for other people's birthdays even if we're not happy for them. I think in my opinion this is just part of being a polite mature person.

 

What do you think?

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Guest pepe1970

I understand that. I'm the guy who does not like attention. My wife gave me a surprise party for my birthday right after our honeymoon. It was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life

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Guest pepe1970

To the best I could do was to pretend all two hours how happy I was. The way I saw it, the party wasn't for me, it was for them to enjoy since even I had o pretend

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It's my birthday and I will cry if I want to.

 

If someone says they don't want attention on their birthday, their friends should be considerate of that. The people who insist on treating you how THEY would want to be treated rather than how YOU have expressed you wish to be treated... Those are the ones being rude, no?

 

Also you make an exception people who are "depressed". But if it's someone's birthday that's a trigger for their depression, nah, you're not OK with that.

 

Did any particular event trigger this post? Is there someone you know that has problems with birthdays?

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Guest pepe1970

Now, 18 years later my wife still get offended if I mention to her how embarrassed I was that day. We always end up having an argument because to her she was being a good wife by doing that party

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Maybe not to the extent of giving people gifts and whatnot, but being a positive or, if you're legit having a crap day, at least neutral presence should be something we aim for regardless of the day. I think anyone who's healthy and emotionally mature would see someone happy, and provided they're not being obnoxiously flamboyant or something, would naturally not wish to disrupt that mood. Again, that's whether the person is celebrating their birthday or just feeling good about their day.

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Guest pepe1970
It's my birthday and I will cry if I want to.

 

If someone says they don't want attention on their birthday, their friends should be considerate of that. The people who insist on treating you how THEY would want to be treated rather than how YOU have expressed you wish to be treated... Those are the ones being rude, no?

 

Also you make an exception people who are "depressed". But if it's someone's birthday that's a trigger for their depression, nah, you're not OK with that.

 

Did any particular event trigger this post? Is there someone you know that has problems with birthdays?

In my case, two years ago I did my father's eulogy on his funeral which happened to be on my birthday. It's triggers some memories but not to fall in depression
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I'm not really not bothered about my birthday. I haven't properly celebrated it for years, like I stopped around 14, and I've never really had anyone make a fuss or expect them to do so.

 

If people were to do so, I'd appreciate the effort, but I'm not going to be all singing and all dancing about it.

 

It's just another day. *shrug*

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Now, 18 years later my wife still get offended if I mention to her how embarrassed I was that day. We always end up having an argument because to her she was being a good wife by doing that party

 

Why do you still bring up something that happened EIGHTEEN YEARS ago?

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Guest pepe1970

Marriage arguments that my wife and I have sometimes. As a way to prove how much she loves me, she mentions that time when she had a surprise party for me among other things

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Ignoring people's wishes is passive aggressive. Of course say thanks for the call, thought, gift, whatever. But a big to do for a quiet person or surprise parties for people who dislike this is rude. To each there own. There is not "should" and "well adjusted adult". That is being judgmental and assuming "if I like it everyone must like it", quite an egocentric train of thought.

if people ignore that, and make a to-do about your birthday, you just have to suck it up, smile, and say thank-you, and pretend that person made you happy on your birthday.
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Ignoring people's wishes is passive aggressive. Of course say thanks for the call, thought, gift, whatever. But a big to do for a quiet person or surprise parties for people who dislike this is rude. To each there own. There is not "should" and "well adjusted adult". That is being judgmental and assuming "if I like it everyone must like it", quite an egocentric train of thought.

Yes, it is THEIR birthday after all. Want a party your way have one for yourself.

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Yes, it is rude and selfish to intentionally ignore someone's requests and wishes, and to do something they asked you not to do - like throw them a birthday party.

 

BUT, when people are rude to me, I think I should still be polite back. That being said, I may not always practice this behavior because I lack the self-control sometimes, but I still think that's what I should do.

 

On the other hand, if people are really well-meaning and want to make you happy on your birthday and are trying to, I think it's polite to give them peace of mind and say "thank you for this gift and recognition" because, I mean, yes it is about them. They want to feel good knowing that you feel good. Let's say you don't feel good. If it's just a birthday, and it's not this other person's life-long mission to make you happy, you can pretend on your birthday to be happy, so they can relax and move on until next year. I often think of this with family members. It means more to my mother that I have a happy birthday than if I have a happy day any other day, so for her sake I'll pretend if I'm not really feeling it cause I'm just being polite. It doesn't matter to me, it's not important for me to have everything my way on my birthday and I judge other adults (too harshly) if they think they get to have their way on their birthday. I think, you're an adult, do what you want every day. On your birthday, however, if it's going to be more important to other people to celebrate you, let them celebrate you. That's a gift you can give them.

 

This is my opinion and maybe I'm being judgemental but I mean, isn't that he point of having opinions, to judge and discriminate? lol.

 

Nothing in particular brought this on, just I've had this debate before with people. I know lots of people who hate birthday things and the attention and they also hate getting any kind of gifts from others. I'm of the opinion that sometimes, letting other people give you attention is a generous gift to them because it makes them feel better. Sure, maybe it's selfish of them to require something of you to make them feel better, but to me that's not much they're asking for - a fake smile, or whatever.

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Marriage arguments that my wife and I have sometimes. As a way to prove how much she loves me, she mentions that time when she had a surprise party for me among other things

 

That is really frustrating, when someone tries to argue that they give and give and get no gratitude for their efforts but you're like - I never wanted those things in the first place!

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Ignoring people's wishes is passive aggressive. Of course say thanks for the call, thought, gift, whatever. But a big to do for a quiet person or surprise parties for people who dislike this is rude. To each there own. There is not "should" and "well adjusted adult". That is being judgmental and assuming "if I like it everyone must like it", quite an egocentric train of thought.

 

What I meant about well-adjusted is that, if there's nothing deeply troubling you and you're just annoyed at the birthday, then it's not crippling to pretend to be happy when you're not truly happy, for just a few hours. I don't think people who are truly unhappy should hide that all the time just for the sake of others. And I think it's perfectly polite and mature to be honest and firm in telling people what you don't want. But then sometimes I think you have to surrender that if it seems to mean a whole lot to someone else to do something for you.

 

I guess, to me it doesn't seem like a lot to sacrifice to pretend to be OK with attention and gifts you didn't want, just on one day of the year from someone who won't bother you otherwise. I suppose for other people this is a greater personal sacrifice. To me it seems like most people could make that sacrifice and recognize when to make it.

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On your birthday, however, if it's going to be more important to other people to celebrate you, let them celebrate you.

 

Are they really celebrating you, though, or their version of you if you truly don't like being the center of attention or being made into a show? Why not celebrate them by letting them be themselves? Can you still party and celebrate but let them do their thing?

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Are they really celebrating you, though, or their version of you if you truly don't like being the center of attention or being made into a show? Why not celebrate them by letting them be themselves? Can you still party and celebrate but let them do their thing?

 

I agree.

.........

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Maybe not to the extent of giving people gifts and whatnot, but being a positive or, if you're legit having a crap day, at least neutral presence should be something we aim for regardless of the day. I think anyone who's healthy and emotionally mature would see someone happy, and provided they're not being obnoxiously flamboyant or something, would naturally not wish to disrupt that mood. Again, that's whether the person is celebrating their birthday or just feeling good about their day.

 

I agree, and this is sort of an extension of that in that you may recognize on your birthday that part of that person's happiness depends more on your reaction than other days of the year. So you have this obligation.

 

It's almost like, when someone who loves you says "Happy Birthday I baked you a cake and I got you this present and wrapped it" what they're really saying is "I want you to be happy and know that you're loved" and for you (the universal you, anyone) to look at that and say "That doesn't make me happy" it's almost like saying "your love means nothing to me." That was that person's expression of love and you threw it back at them saying "I don't like how you told me you loved me"

 

Gifts should be about the recipient but most times they're about the giver. It's the thought that counts, right? If it was sincere, anyway.

 

If it wasn't sincere and it was all a selfish excuse for the giver to manipulate the giftee or an excuse to throw a party when the party-thrower knew full well it wasn't what the other person wanted...then, that's different. I don't know what that is.

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What I meant about well-adjusted is that, if there's nothing deeply troubling you and you're just annoyed at the birthday, then it's not crippling to pretend to be happy when you're not truly happy, for just a few hours. I don't think people who are truly unhappy should hide that all the time just for the sake of others. And I think it's perfectly polite and mature to be honest and firm in telling people what you don't want. But then sometimes I think you have to surrender that if it seems to mean a whole lot to someone else to do something for you.

 

I guess, to me it doesn't seem like a lot to sacrifice to pretend to be OK with attention and gifts you didn't want, just on one day of the year from someone who won't bother you otherwise. I suppose for other people this is a greater personal sacrifice. To me it seems like most people could make that sacrifice and recognize when to make it.

 

So you concede that it might be a bigger deal for these other people, and that perhaps you shouldn't expect them to make the harder sacrifice than you personally are familiar with?

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Are they really celebrating you, though, or their version of you if you truly don't like being the center of attention or being made into a show? Why not celebrate them by letting them be themselves? Can you still party and celebrate but let them do their thing?

 

So what's the mature response then if someone is sincerely attempting to celebrate you but getting it wrong?

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I was raised kind of like you (take what you are given and be happy about it, be grateful for anything given) while my ex was different. I knew him well enough to do things for him and give him gifts he appreciated. But he felt others giving him things he had no interest in, and then expecting him to be thrilled and respond to their specifications was an imposition that exhausted him. He could only take so much of that, and after a certain age he just wanted to be left alone on his birthday. He'd take one or two calls or maybe see one or two people he was closest to, but then would turn off his phone and spend time in the wild.

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So what's the mature response then if someone is sincerely attempting to celebrate you but getting it wrong?

 

Let me give you an example....my family dropped the ball on my 50th Birthday. My husband and my mom both. My husband gave me the birthday HE would want . Not impressed. Did I say thanks? Not really. I said nothing until about a year later when I told them they made my birthday about THEM.

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So you concede that it might be a bigger deal for these other people, and that perhaps you shouldn't expect them to make the harder sacrifice than you personally are familiar with?

 

I see that as being immature though. That everyone has to set their boundaries and accept that sometimes you get unwanted attention but you have to deal with it in the most mature way possible. There's a woman I work with who likes to gush about how cute my outfits are, sometimes. It's annoying but it makes her happy and based on my interpretation of this relationship, I don't think it's going to get any worse so I just smile and say thank you. I think part of maturity is finding your level of discomfort and dealing with it; and I think a lot of people seem to think that no level of discomfort is acceptable at all.

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