Life Advice

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Health & Spirit

Choosing not to let friend usurp birthday plans

Carolyn Hax on

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

Every year on my birthday, my husband and I do something simple like going to a museum and dinner.

I have a friend who is in a long-distance relationship, and I'm not a fan of her boyfriend. She announced that my birthday is when her boyfriend will be visiting next and she wants to double date. She ended the conversation with "Let me know what we're doing'' and has brought it up multiple times since.

I want my low-key birthday with my husband, but this is the only day they have free, and she is very excited to celebrate together.

You've talked before about how as adults we need to calm down about our birthdays. Do I just suck it up and spend the day with the glass bowl?

 

-- Reluctant Birthday Girl

I've also talked before about how we get to decide how we use our own time. When she "announced ... she wants to double date" on your birthday, you had every right to say, "I'm sorry, I already have plans -- but when he's in town next, we're in." Saying no isn't rude.

You can still say it, even though having stalled this long will make it more awkward than it needed to be. Just say, "I should have said this upfront -- we have longstanding plans on my birthday. I'm sorry to disappoint you -- but please do let me know next time your boyfriend is in town."

There are usually several principles that can be applied to any given situation. The one you rest on is the one that honors your integrity best. There's nothing wrong with planning the birthday you want. There's also nothing wrong with setting aside your preference to indulge a friend.

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