A birthday is the one day a year when you get to celebrate yourself.
But with each passing year, many people find themselves less and less excited as their birthday approaches.
Namely owing to the fact that it slowly becomes a reminder that you’re getting older, which not many people find to be cause for celebration.
Redditor missingbirthday hated nothing more than being the center of attention, and thus had all but officially stopped celebrating his birthday.
Even when his friends and in-laws pushed to celebrate with him, he still turned them down.
Something his friends and family didn’t appreciate.
Wondering if he was being insensitive to his friends and in-laws, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Redditors:
“AITA for insisting that my friends and family ignore my birthday?”
The OP shared his hatred of having a birthday party, and his absolute refusal to do so despite pleas from those close to him.
“I (38 M[ale]) do not tell people what day my birthday is and for the past 22 years I have not celebrated it beyond a simple at-home dinner with my spouse.”
“I do not like being the center of attention and it makes me feel selfish to have a day or just a single small event held to ‘celebrate’ me.”
“Opening gifts on ANY holiday makes me nauseous.”
“The only people that acknowledge my birthday are my husband (40 M), two close friends (40 F[emale] and 37F) and my parents/siblings, most of which just send a quick text.”
“Recently, however, two situations popped up surrounding the non-celebration that have resulted in me being called an a**hole at worst, stubborn at best.”
“Relationships in both cases have soured and I may have done some permanent damage.”
“While visiting the in-laws, my MIL found out about my birthday from my husband.”
“She insisted that we celebrate my birthday while we were still visiting, and additionally insisted that I take a large gift as well.”
“I countered that I really prefer to not celebrate my birthday in any form and that if she wanted to make me happy on my birthday she should just forget it exists.”
“This did not mesh well with her innate desire to celebrate ‘all her children.'”
“I begged her to please drop the subject, but she continued to press.”
“Fortunately, my husband intervened and distracted her so I could extricate myself from the conversation.”
“She was much cooler towards me for the remainder of the trip, and in hindsight, I realize how upset she was.”
“My husband has my back, even though he did say I should have considered giving some ground and maybe allowed either a small gift or small dinner.”
“My close friend also indicated that they wanted to celebrate my birthday.”
“This friend treats their own birthday like a national holiday and as a whole month affair and I celebrate them when it comes around.”
“I told them to please not because I do not like being the focus of attention, and that if they wanted to do anything, they could have their own celebration but without involving me at all.”
“I was called ‘selfish’ by my friend for not allowing them to celebrate me the way they wanted.”
“This took me by surprise because the reason I avoid birthdays is to avoid being ‘selfish’.”
“They got upset at me, said that I was clearly depressed and that I needed to allow them to do this.”
“No depression here and I think I’m a pretty happy guy all things considered!”
“I again declined and they called me a ‘selfish a**hole’ and stopped talking to me.”
“We haven’t spoken much since.”
“My husband agrees with me that I should do what I want, but a different friend thinks I should have conceded to some sort of celebration.”
“A few years ago the same friend was upset that my husband and I decided to not have a wedding/reception because we ‘robbed her of going to a fabulous gay wedding’.”
“My husband and I both don’t want the attention of a wedding/reception, so it struck us as an odd thing to get upset about.”
“Am I being an a**hole by insisting that my birthday is uncelebrated?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
While the Reddit community was somewhat divided, they generally agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for not wanting to celebrate their birthday.
While some felt that the OP should have allowed his mother-in-law to throw him a party, or could have at least been nicer about it, everyone agreed that the OP had every right to do what he wanted on his birthday, including nothing at all.
“If the celebration is about you, then they should accede to your wishes and not have one.”
“If it’s not actually about you, then they’re the ones being selfish.”
“Getting upset because someone else won’t do something that you want them to do for your own benefit is practically the definition of selfish.”- Telesphoros
“Both these scenarios are unique and should be treated differently.”
“NTA for the friend scenario.”
“YTA, in a small tiny way, in the MIL scenario.”
“With the friend, yeah they are out of line.”
“I would just pull back from the friendship because they don’t respect you.”
“They don’t want to celebrate your birthday.”
“They want to make your birthday all about how awesome they are for throwing you a party or some sh*t.”
“The MIL, that’s different.”
“I think you compromise here.”
“I think you sit down with the MIL and explain that you adore her for wanting to make your birthday a big deal.”
“But that this is how you have always been.”
“You don’t like being the center of attention and you don’t want celebrations in your honor.”
“But you also don’t want to be the kind of person that doesn’t appreciate her either.”
“That you apologize if you offended her by refusing outright to have your birthday celebrated, OP some people just can’t fathom not celebrating so you have to be a little empathetic in this situation.”
“And then you suggest a compromise.”
“They send a birthday text…or facetime the two of you to wish you happy birthday.”
“And if she wants to send a small personal gift, you would appreciate that as well.”
“But you would also suggest donating to a charity in honor of your birthday.”
“Like donating books to a library.”
“Or making a donation in your honor to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or another charity you are passionate about.”
“That way, you can show gratitude towards the MIL and thank her for honoring your birthday wishes, but also, the attention isn’t on you.”
“It’s a small card in the mail or a small gift.”
“MIL is worth compromising with.”
“Friend is not.”-The__Riker__Maneuver
“It’s your birthday you can choose to do/not do whatever you want.”
“Everyone else should just respect your wishes.”
‘Not even a little bit.’
‘It’s YOUR bday.’
‘The one day a year it is ok to be a bit extra selfish.’
‘Yeah, you could be a little more flexible with those closest to you while establishing clear boundaries but you have no obligation to do so.”
“Your friends/family are being selfish on your special days.”
“Glad your husband is behind you on that.”- Significant-Ad7390
“Wow how people can’t deal with boundaries.”- TotallySusBlue1
‘Your life, your boundaries.”
“If you don’t want to celebrate your birthday, that’s your choice.”
“It’s now other people’s job to respect your choices.”
“They don’t get to celebrate you the way they want without them viewing you as their possession.”
“Like, seriously, they need to back TF off.”
“Conversely, perhaps consider grey rocking this friend.”- Max_Supernova
“It’s your birthday and your decision.”
“I don’t understand how anyone can get so upset just because they don’t get to celebrate your birthday, especially when they have been made aware that you don’t want to celebrate.”-JustPlainRick
“NTA it’s sad how many people can’t understand that something they would enjoy themselves is not universal.”
“You do not exist as an excuse for others to make themselves feel good through gift giving/celebrations.”- ViolaVetch75
“I’m exactly the same.”
“I do not like the attention or the effort I have to put into shopping, making a cake or dinner, cleaning the house in order for everyone to come and celebrate me.”
“People have food allergies or food preferences that I have to take into consideration and on my birthday I want to eat what I want and not be exhausted from the preparations.”
“I basically want my husband present, some peace and quiet, my favorite food and cake, and a good movie.”- CompetitiveAd5382
No one should be sad on their birthday.
And to avoid being sad, people should spend their special day however they so choose.
Which could mean throwing a massive party with countless friends or ordering a pizza and watching a movie at home.
And if perhaps the OP shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth when it comes to his mother-in-law, if he wanted to do nothing on his birthday, such is his right.