Take Control Of Your (Still Single) Birthday


I went to a party last night, and I had such a good time that I think I may try to make it a trend among singles.

The party was nothing out of the ordinary. Just seven women sitting out on a deck on a lovely evening, drinking champagne and eating catered BBQ.

What made it extra special was that hostess didn’t tell us until after we arrived that it was her birthday.

I know, we think of that as the ultimate no-no: throwing your own birthday party.  And I know why. I’ve seen it done in done a few times in tacky ways. “Hey, look at me!  It’s my birthday, and I’m throwing a big, all-out bash for MEEEEE!”

But this was different. It was low key. Just friends enjoying each other’s company. No gifts. (How could we have? We didn’t even know it was her birthday until we arrived.) As we were laughing and talking, she paused and said “This is the best birthday I ever had.”

Compare that with what our single-person birthdays frequently look like. We start to get anxious weeks ahead of time. We hope that maybe somebody is making plans.  We fear that they’re not and that we’ll spend the evening at home watching a That Girl marathon on TVLand.


The host with the most

I sort of accidentally threw my own birthday party once. I have CAbi parties a couple of times a year. They’re home-clothing parties – kind of the Tupperware parties of wardrobe. My friends always look forward to them because the clothes are great and it’s a lot more fun to shop in somebody’s home while sipping wine. Anyway, one year the day that worked best to throw the party happened to be my birthday. I thought “I can’t do that. It’d be tacky.” 

But there were no other options, so I sent out invites that clearly stated it was a CAbi party, not a birthday party, there were to be no gifts, but I’d love to spend the day shopping for clothes with my friends. We did, and we had a great time. 

So the next year – my birthday still being on a weekend – I invited those same friends over.  Again told them no gifts were allowed and that it wasn’t a birthday party, just time with friends. And again, we had a great evening. In fact, it was so much fun that the following year one of my friends called me and asked “Are you going to have a party on your birthday again? I’ve been looking forward to it!”

I’m starting to think I may make it a tradition. 

Of course, those alert friends among us can always do this for each other. But hoping that will happen, or relying on it, adds an extra layer of stress. Will she remember? Who will she invite? Where will it be? What will she serve?

It may sound strange, but there’s something kind of nice about taking control of our birthdays and spending them surrounded by these great reminders of God’s love for us, our family members and good friends.

What do you think? Ready to throw your own birthday party?



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  1. Brenda-74660 July 5, 2012 Reply

    I remember one year my Great Uncle Andy was at our house for my birthday. It was great, I made my own birthday cake which when I stacked it fell all apart & looked bad but the cake itself tasted great. I think that was one of my best birthday’s ever because I was able to spend time with my favorite uncle & listen to his stories. I was about 18 at the time. I found out he passed away when I was around 24. He was somewhat a loner & you usually only saw him when he decided to come for a visit. So every visit was special…. :))

  2. Marita-847688 July 2, 2012 Reply

    I took control of my birthday and it was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had!

  3. Jacqueline-198 July 2, 2012 Reply

    I’ve never been affected by my almost 50 single birthdays, they are a blessing each and everyone, for my big 50 Godwilling my bff and I will be visiting New Orleans, we both love the city, it will be nice to go away and not only celebrate my birthday but celebrate our friendship as well, as I told her, the best gift will be her enjoying the time with me, plus we hope to meet up with some of friends that live in the New Orleans area.

  4. Myriam-344031 July 1, 2012 Reply

    Hi everybody,
    Actually I just turned the big 40 and I had been dreading it for a long time.
    My students threw a surprise party for me and that was very nice.
    One of my students gave me a big delicious cake so one of my family members said you can’t eat all that cake by yourself make a party a invite us and so I did.
    It was very simple I just invited a few family members and a few close friends and we had a good time. I didn’t ask them to bring any gifts.
    I agree maybe it’s a cultural thing but fo us it has never been tacky to have a birthday party it’s giving thanks to God for one more year of life even if you get scared as I did before.

  5. Jenny-872030 June 29, 2012 Reply

    I had actually decided to throw my own birthday party this year come November. This article confirmed it for me!

  6. Bill-403263 June 28, 2012 Reply

    My former girlfriend explained everything to me in an e-mail yesterday, June 27th. I am at peace.

  7. Mercy-794463 June 27, 2012 Reply

    I think, this is the best birthday amazement ever had!

  8. Bill-403263 June 25, 2012 Reply

    Today is my former girlfriend’s birthday. I wish I were celebrating it with her. Instead, she let me go, by e-mail, with nearly 15 months into our relationship. Our relationship was loving, fun, full of happiness, and we never argued. However, she ended it in a manner I replied as, “immature.” The point I’m aiming at is this, should a woman, age 53, now 54, tell a man on Valentine’s Day “He’s won the key to her heart,” then four weeks later, end the relationship with no advance warning signs? If a 53/54 yr old woman can throw away a man who was seriously “in love” with her, age 60/61, is she acting irrationally? She also told me, I was a “fine Christian man.” Being thrown from the bus after nearly 15 months, how can a woman in her 50’s destroy a man so easily, and just as easily edge him out of her life? Most single women in their 50s are not finding quality Catholic men to date, fall in love, and have the man, ready to propose. I am mystified by her dysfunctional behavior. Oh, by the way, her brother-in-law told me my girlfriend’s family were all, in a word, “Crazy.” Now what do I feel? Loss, grief, and the need to move with my life. However, I have moved on and dating a 57 yr old woman, non-Catholic. Yet I still deeply miss my former girlfriend, with whom I wanted to marry. Our mutual feelings, were for 14 months, united in love and caring. Yet, as stated, it all ended abruptly, two weeks after our fabulous week long Caribbean cruise. If we were ever to argue,vacation time would be perfect. You’re both together 24/7/, yet we did not argue, and I thought we were good at discussing how we felt. Now I realize, she may be incapable of expressing with deep feelings. Most of what she shared with me, were superficial feelings. Once in awhile I did get some deep felt expression from her regarding her former marriage, her son, her dog’s demise, and money concerns. Yet, so much of her expression of feelings were superficial. Yes, I certainly have my flaws,and continue years of therapy for co-dependence Yet, if married, we could work on each others flaws and have a great marriage, and live in happiness. We could utilize couples therapy as well. It has taken years of therapy for me to express my needs, wants,
    flaws, and validate my inner child. In the end, the whole matter concerning me is that quality women are tossing away valuable romances for reasons they do not share with their partner. It seems highly unfair, and most of us believe men throw away intimacy and relationships too easily, and women, vicitims. No, in this case, I was the victim of
    emotional abandonment without good reason.

    • Marita-847688 June 26, 2012 Reply

      Well I’m not one to give relationship advice, but the fact that the two of you never argued was a sign that it wasn’t meant to be because couples fight. Too much fighting is not healthy, but there should be disagreement in any relationship. I hope your new girlfriend is a good communicator and maybe you should invite her to your Church.

      • Bill-403263 June 28, 2012 Reply

        You made a good point, couples argue. However, I personally have found arguing immature, and many years of counseling has taught me to argue less and calmly speak to one another.However, yes, I argued in my former marriage, and it got me nowhere. I have argued in other relationships, and it got me nowhere. Couples need to focus on feelings and not so much have a power game going on between them. Power struggles rarely end up happily. But, you’re absolutely correct, couples argue, just as children do. I know that when I wrote “we never argued,” it would appear as red flag in my story. I appreciate your comment, Marita.

  9. Marita-847688 June 25, 2012 Reply

    I’m about to turn 27 next week. Maybe I’ll try that.

  10. Sarah-377735 June 25, 2012 Reply

    Also thinking it must be a cultural thing! I haven’t had anyone throw me a birthday party since sophomore year of college and that was a kind gesture from someone who barely knew me but caught me moping a little (new school, not many friends yet).
    Since then I’ve always organized my own birthday celebrationss- low key yet fun stuff. Something as simple as bringing cake in for my classmates on my birthday makes/made me happy! I’m not going to go around announcing my birthday to the world at large, but nor am I going to avoid mentioning it. I’m going to do what I do when I host any kind of party- spend time with the people I care about!
    Single birthdays are about the least stressful single holidays there are, IMO. 😉

  11. Jessica-556183 June 25, 2012 Reply

    I was thinking the same thing as Tara. Your friends should when your birthday is.

  12. Jessica-96924 June 24, 2012 Reply

    Quoted in the article: “Hey, look at me! It’s my birthday, and I’m throwing a big, all-out bash for MEEEEE!”
    Comment: I guess it’s a matter of culture. We don’t find it tacky nor arrogant. For us, birthdays are a celebration of life! We see it as a way of thanking God for our lives. Single or not. There’s lots of bonding over delicious food and whether you bring a gift or not is fine. If you are a guest at my personally-planned birthday party, that means you are a special part of my life and I’m thankful to God that you’re in it.

  13. Tara-539245 June 24, 2012 Reply

    It’s a cool idea, but wouldn’t your friends know when your birthday is?

  14. Ali-788574 June 22, 2012 Reply

    I love the idea of having friends together and telling them AFTER they arrive. Maybe I’ll try that next week 😉

  15. Nancy-632072 June 22, 2012 Reply

    I love this idea – to not make it all about me only makes it that much better !!

  16. David-364112 June 22, 2012 Reply

    Your friend has the right idea. Keep it low-key and simple. Every self-initiated bash should be that way. My last birthday party was when I turned 8. Since then I usually just ignore the day altogether. One year I didn’t even realize it was my birthday until the next day. It was 4 in the afternoon before I remembered it was my 50th.

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