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(38 Posts)
Thurlow Fri 06-May-16 10:52:53

Imagine you have someone, not your OH as that's different, but a close old friend or family member, who has different opinions on birthdays to you.

So, say Claire is a big fan of birthdays, and Diane isn't. Claire likes to go out with a group of people every birthday. She also likes presents, and if she doesn't get a present from someone, she sees it as a sign that they don't care about her. She sees the time and effort put into buying a nice or 'interesting' gift as a sign of how much someone cares for her, and has made comments before that she sees things like gift vouchers, books etc as a sign someone doesn't care because they haven't put any thought it. Because she doesn't go a bundle on birthdays, Diane is a little bit resentful of being expected to go out every year and to buy an 'interesting' present, as she's not a good present buyer.

Diane isn't big on birthdays. She's happy if people remember it but doesn't expect presents and doesn't ask for much even from those closest to her. She and her closest family only exchange small presents. She might go out for dinner, but only with her other half and DCs. Claire asks every year what Diane is doing, and expresses disappointment on Diane's behalf that no one has bought her any exciting surprises, or no one arranged a dinner party, and expressly makes comments about Diane's OH for not doing anything 'special' (Claire will have bought a very nice present for her though). After years Diane finds it a bit grating that Claire hasn't worked out she isn't bothered by a fuss and dislikes the implied criticism of her family.

If you have two friends/family members with such different opinions, is anyone wrong or right? Should Diane have to continue to buy presents and go out to dinner every year? Should Claire stop criticising Diane? Is Diane being ungrateful and tight, or Claire grabby?

JayDot500 Fri 06-May-16 10:57:47

Claire needs to chill. I always believe the person (not an OH) with the higher expectations needs to relax.

BillBrysonsBeard Fri 06-May-16 11:40:11

I am Diane! I just want to be with my partner and son doing something small, but have sometimes had the "awww" sad look from people when I tell them. Both are fine ways to be and should be respected. Claire needs to stop with the criticism and having expectations on Diane's behalf, we all have different ways of doing things. If Diane is happy then it's all good. Can't stand people who think we're all carbon copies!

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 11:45:11

Claire is a gigantic pain in the arse and needs to grow the fuck up

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 11:58:42

Sorry for the outburst blush
I have a "Claire" in my il's and it drives me nuts. The neediness, guilt trips, sadface and the "but it's my birthday" all from a grown woman with 2 dcs. I may have been projecting a wee bit...

BeYourselfUnlessUCanBeAUnicorn Fri 06-May-16 12:02:17

Each to their own. Claire is perfectly entitled to want to celebrate and enjoy her birthday. I don't see why someone has to cease this all together once they become an adult/partner/parent etc.

SweetieDrops Fri 06-May-16 12:05:40

Claire sounds pretty needy, I'd be pretty miffed if I gave someone a voucher and they kicked off that it wasn't good enough. Pretty sure I'd be ignoring their birthday from that point on unless it was a big milestone one.

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 12:10:49

I'm not saying that being an adult/parents means not enjoying birthdays anymore beyourself.
It's the guilt-tripping about presents and the "me me me, it's all about me" attitude of Claire about her own birthday that grates. If she wants to celebrate her birthday that's fine. But criticising Diane for not wanting to make a statement by and dance about birthdays is not fine. As you say, each to their own. But it works both ways.

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 12:12:09

Song and dance not statement by!

Thurlow Fri 06-May-16 12:14:54

Interesting - I thought Diane would be seen as being a bit tight and miserable grin

Thurlow Fri 06-May-16 12:16:56

Also that whole 'language of emotions' malarkey, that Claire is not entirely wrong to see the time and effort spent to by a gift as a way of someone expressing their affection for her.

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 12:17:46

Oh, and the expressing disappointment on Diane's part that no-one bought her an exciting gift is unbelievably stupid and insensitive especially when Diane is clearly happy with exchanging small gifts with her family

Tiggeryoubastard Fri 06-May-16 12:21:38

Claire sounds like a grabby, self absorbed twat, tbh.

WorraLiberty Fri 06-May-16 12:22:34

Claire is a gigantic pain in the arse and needs to grow the fuck up

This ^^ in spades.

I imagine Claire will 'scweam and scweam and make herself sick' though.

RaeSkywalker Fri 06-May-16 12:27:53

I work with a Claire. This year she took nearly 2 weeks off for her birthday to celebrate 'properly'. It wasn't a milestone birthday.

We all bring in cakes/ bags of doughnuts on the day we work that is nearest to our birthdays. People normally spend about £5 in Tesco and send an email round saying 'help yourselves'.

Claire had a bespoke cake commissioned by her DP to bring in to work. I am not exaggerating when I say it must've cost at least £200. We all had to watch her cut it like some weird ceremony- an entire office of 90 people dragged away from their desks for this.

I'm definitely a Diane. I do not like being the centre of attention, it makes me feel awkward. I'd happily ignore my birthday, but I do really appreciate thoughtful cards and always save them.

I also have a friend who is a Claire. I don't mind making a fuss of her because I love her, and she's a good friend to me. As long as she doesn't expect me to have an insane party on my birthdays, I'm happy to go along with hers.

Thurlow Fri 06-May-16 12:59:10

You had to watch her cut the cake? shock

Claire is a fan of present haul photos online...

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 13:01:22

So come on tell us OP, are you Diane...?

bluecarpet Fri 06-May-16 13:01:40

Claire is a gigantic pain in the arse and needs to grow the fuck up

a million times
wish there was a like button on MN

RaeSkywalker Fri 06-May-16 13:09:03

Thurlow yes, it was utterly cringeworthy. My friend and I stood there totally agog at the whole thing. It was honestly more ornate than my wedding cake, and more fuss was made of it!

BillBrysonsBeard Fri 06-May-16 13:10:15

I think OP is Diane, the account of Claire was written too honestly to be her grin We are (mostly) with you OP!

beckywiththemehhair Fri 06-May-16 13:16:14

I was wondering if OP could be a family member caught in the middle...

TinyTear Fri 06-May-16 13:16:49

I know a Claire

Single and for a non-landmark mid 40s birthday she hires pubs and stuff like that...

I can't go, usually meet her for lunch and get something off her wishlist. This year didn't even manage... oops

NapQueen Fri 06-May-16 13:23:36

I am a Diane.

Im at work on my birthday in a fortnughts time and SIL is already "are you at work on your bday? When will I get a chance to see you? You are working all week? Goodness can I pop in at 《insert really innapropriate or awkward time of day》"


Just text me "happy birthday" on the day and be done with it.

Thurlow Fri 06-May-16 13:24:33

I'm Diane grin And also starting to wonder if I was just being an arse getting tired of having to source just one 'interesting' and 'unusual' present twice a year. I mean, it's not like it takes much out of my life doing it. Or just being a miserable grump. Why begrudge something that makes someone happy?

And then I think, FFS, you're a grown woman, stop expecting that everyone will always get you something amazing...

Tiggeryoubastard Fri 06-May-16 13:24:48

The most thoughtful present Claire could receive is a slap grip.

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