Who's Being The Childish Jackass?

My best friend’s birthday is next Monday. He completely “forgot” my birthday three months ago. I put the word in quotes because he didn’t forget; he wrote it in his calendar. He just didn’t care. I was really mad. Blindingly mad.

I come from a family and a group of friends where birthdays are a huge deal, and I’ve come to accept that some people don’t see things the same way. That’s cool. I make a fuss over people’s birthdays because that’s the one day they’re special. It has nothing to do with presents; we get presents for lots of other holiday, and it’s not the presents that matter. I figure if there’s any day you want to show your friend that you love them and you’re happy they’re alive, their birthday is a good one. I don’t demand reciprocation because a lot of people don’t take birthdays as seriously.

That said, he didn’t call me on my birthday. He didn’t get me a card, even though you can get one at the gift shop down the hall from my office (that scraps the forgetting theory, huh?). He didn’t write me a letter, which is free. He didn’t even say “Happy Birthday.” I believe I got something along the lines of, “I’m sorry I’m a crappy friend and didn’t get you a present.” Yeah, because it’s all about the present, right? The kick in the pants was that I told him three weeks before, when he asked, that all I wanted was a card. Hrmph, guess not.

I tried to tell myself that he is just not a birthday person. Maybe he doesn’t celebrate anyone’s birthday. Maybe I’m hypersensitive and greedy for being offended. That’s a much more likely explanation than that he just didn’t care it was my birthday, right?

WRONG. I’ve heard (more than once) his happy little story about how he got the coolest present for his sister’s friend’s birthday and how she was “so happy.” I also recall his getting our other best friend a birthday present and putting a lovely little Happy Birthday message on his website. Her birthday comes before mine, by the way.

So, now I have a dilemma.

My feelings are still hurt. He has never apologised, even though I did try to explain to him how I felt. I don’t want to celebrate his birthday in any way, shape, or form and that seems fair to me. After all, he didn’t celebrate mine. At the same time, I know how hurtful it was on my birthday, and I don’t want to hurt anyone. I would like to behave like the adult I am supposed to be now and move on, but I don’t want to reinforce this “treat Mercury like crap” kick he’s been on lately.

Thanks for any advice!


Sounds like he doesn’t like you anymore. Sorry.


I’m beginning to suspect that I may not truly be an Earthling.
My, possibly not-of-this-Earth, first take is to say that whatever else you enjoy in the friendship is what you should be concerned with. If the birthday remembrance is an obstacle too high to get over, forget the whole thing.

I certainly wouldn’t want to play for points.

Whatever problems you guys are having, it doesn’t sound like it’s just about birthdays. Have you had any other issues lately? I’d be willing to bet he’s mad about something that goes way beyond the whole birthday thing.

Yeah, what you said… My first answer was a bit flip.


take your ego out of it. so your feelings were hurt. your pride was hurt. that’s all ego junk to me.

do you still like him as a friend? still want to celebrate his birth? then do it.

take your SELF outta it. ease up on your ego there… and have some reverence.

Birthdays are just not that big a deal to some people or in some families. I typically don’t give or get presents or cards except to immediate family. I don’t “care” less about my friends just because I don’t make a big deal over their birthdays.

hey… just some advice -

give without any expectations. give because you WANT to give. don’t have expectations and you will never be disappointed.

if his b-day came before yours… would you have celebrated it? yes, i reckon you would. THEN woulda expected something equal in return from him. DON’T make expectations.

give because you want to. celebrate because you want to. Don’t do it in the hopes for something in return.

I’d either poison his dog or slash his tires

Considering the title and op, I’m moving this to the BBQ Pit.

And when was your birthday? :smiley:

I think it’s a bit petty to try to “get back” at him.

My mom did this to me once. I was in high school and had no money. I was not allowed to work, and I got $5/week for lunch, which was all the money I ever saw. I got her a card and some Hershey’s kisses for her birthday.

She got mad at me. She yelled at me for getting her chocolate when I “knew she was on a diet” (which I didn’t). Then on my birthday, she gave me a card. In fact, it was a really cheesy card, like all flowery with a stupid poem–the kind that she hates and she knows I hate. She just wrote “mom” at the bottom.

I did ask her about it, and she said it was because I didn’t get her a real present for her birthday.

Don’t expect yourself of others.

Bah. A lot of what was said here was really taking this out on you, Mercury, but I totally see where you are coming from. Your friend pissed you off. Simple.

I say go for the confrontation before your friends birthday, see where you stand with each other, and that way, you’ll know how to act when theri b-day does roll around.

I forget everybody’s birthday. I also do not expect anything for my birthday (except I always hope for nice weather, but this never happens). I am useless at buying gifts, i just don’t have the mindset to know what to get people.

I don’t like getting gifts because the expectation is that I should give gifts too sometimes, which I do not do as I’m so crap at choosing stuff, can’t wrap, and really don’t care anyway. It’s a mess.

So as MissBungle said, have no expectations and do what you want, because everybody is different and some things just aren’t gonna happen the way you’d like them to.

I don’t know your gender - but from the OP, it was clear that the forgetful friend is male and that the two people for whom he purchased birthday gifts were female.

Perhaps his ‘birthday gift’ giving is a means of attempting contact for possible dating relationships, vs. celebrating the person?

in any event, I used to be married to a guy who would continually access his friends in a similar manner, gauging how much was spent, how many contacts each made, who called who. I found it exhausting myself, and frankly 20 years later the man is not particularly happy and tends to not keep friends around for long.

jus’ sayin’ is all.

First, I’d like to say thank you to everyone for actually answering my question. I really don’t know what I should do, and so far every comment has been helpful! :slight_smile:

I’m a bit glad this was moved into the Pit, because now I can mention all of the things that were irrelevant to the advice I was seeking.

First, this isn’t about presents. It’s not about greed, reciprocation, or ego. It’s about the fact that he celebrated the birthdays of other friends and ignored mine, which seems to be a clear message that HE DOESN’T CARE ABOUT ME. He could have called me to say Happy Birthday, which is free. He could have come into my office and said “Happy Birthday,” which is also free. He could have written me a note, as he has done for other people. I simply want to know if you think it is a) fair or b) mean if I ignore his as he did mine. I don’t want to ignore his birthday just because he didn’t get me anything. I don’t want to ignore it at all! There are a bunch of cool things I woud love to do for him! I just worry that celebrating his is going to make him think that he can treat me like crap all the time and get away with it.

Second, I am female as well. I cannot speak for the case of his sister’s friend, but I know that he did have a crush of epic proportions on our other close friend. I understand why he is so much nicer to her than he is to me (not just in the case of birthdays), but that doesn’t make it right. In fact, it made her quite uncomfortable. He has a few other female friends besides me, but I am the only one to which he is not attracted at all. He speaks to me in ways he would never speak to them.

I understand that he is depressed, I understand that his parents have done a number on him and that because of that, he doesn’t really know how to interact with other people. Again, this does not make it right to single one person out for being treated like crap just because you know they will always be there.

He says he doesn’t “waste his time” watching TV like I do. The books he reads for entertainment are “literature.” My books are “trashy.” When I play my CDs on my car stereo, he asks, “Why do you listen to this crap?” His parents are better than mine because his parents never break the speed limit on the highway, etc, etc. He doesn’t say these kind of things to his other friends.

He doesn’t seem to understand that yelling at me as though I am an ill-behaved child is not acceptable. I used to love picking my friends up and taking them out. He’s not allowed to ride in my car anymore, because the last time he was in it, he yelled at me for not having the high beams on. They were on. He didn’t apologise, he said my car “sucks” because the high beams are too dim. There are a whole bunch of examples like this, and the probably all sound petty, but the point is that I don’t think the way he treats me is fair.

I’d like to point out that he has a lot of great qualities. There was a time, last year, when he was really nice to me and we were really good friends. It just seems that over the past five months or so, he’s been conducting some sort of “see how much bullshit it takes before Mercury walks away” experiment. I think he mistakes my trying to be loyal for being a doormat.


Reading your last post, Mercury, I have to ask, why is this guy still your friend? He yells at you, looks down on everything you do, and can’t even be bothered to wish you a happy birthday.

thanks for answering and clarifying.

nope, the guy sounds like an asshole who occasionally makes nice gestures for whatever rationale suits his purpose at the time.

Just a thought … have you considered talking to the gentleman to let him know how you feel? As a card-carrying male human myself, I can testify that the problem may be simple cluelessness.