How do you handle birthday bashes?

Whenever my friend has a birthday, I always try to make it to their dinner or at least to the bar afterwards (even though I loathe very dark places that play too-loud music).

The problem always boils down to money:

What should I pay for and should I also bring a gift?

For my very good friends, I always bring a gift.

Something personal and usually edible.

I was also under the impression that we should NEVER EVER let the birthday person pay for their meal, nor for their drinks, and while I agree to that to some extent, I feel hesitant when I whip out my wallet.

Before you all start throwing stones at me, I should also note that I haven’t had a birthday party like that for myself, since college.


So when I go to birthday parties, knowing that they will never make it to mine nor give me a present, and I DO bring a present for them plus I fork out some cash to cover their meal and a drink or two, I wonder if that’s actually overdoing it, considering that I’ll never be reciprocated in kind.

Not that I am watching the purse strings in that respect, or trying to put a price on our friendship, but I thought the unspoken rule was: I pay in part for your birthday, and you do the same for me.

I also don’t drink, so I tend to stick to water, juice or pop (if I must).

But alcoholic drinks cost a lot more than water, let me tell you that!

As a result, I’ve not only been not able to make it back to their birthday parties as I am never in the same city as they are.

I also avoid any party day, and I set up a lunch/dinner/coffee thing with them instead, usually post-birthday bash.

I just feel a lot more comfortable, and I’d much prefer a smaller group of sober friends to chat & celebrate with, rather than trying to deal with the flashing lights in a club that only opens way past my bedtime 😛

What do you think? Am I being ridiculous? Reasonable?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.