For most people, birthdays get worse as you get older. When I was six, my dad rented a pony for me and I got an ice cream cake that looked like Lamb Chop and a bunch of presents. If you told me I would peak at six, I wouldn’t be too surprised. And for my last birthday? Oh, amazing. I drank crappy expensive drinks decked out in a cheap Forever21 dress and woke up with a headache. And I still had to pay my bills the next week. And there was no pony. Not even Ginuwine’s.
But some people still love to celebrate their birthday. Birthdays are like opinions. Everybody has one and we all like talking about ours the most. But no matter how much you love your own birthday, you have to understand that the more you age, the more your birthday party becomes a burden and inconvenience for others. Everybody is selfish like that. All they can think about is how much it’s going to cost and if they are close enough with you to just stay home for it. And instead of presents, you get a bunch of people texting you three hours before the party telling you they can’t come.
However, the closest people in your life do, at the very least, feel obligated (and love) to attend your birthday celebrations. So you want to make it as nice for your guests as it is for you. Why? Because you have to go to their birthdays eventually, and you don’t want them to remember how you asked everybody to bring you a bottle of booze and then cried when nobody told the waiter it was your 25th. Here’s a quick list of things you can do to have a great birthday that makes you seem like an adult:
1. . If It's A House Party, Provide The Booze
If you’re throwing a party at your house, it doesn’t matter if it’s to celebrate you or if it’s for The Super Bowl. You are expected to supply libations. Nobody is going to take a surged Uber and find out there’s one bottle of wine, half a bag of tortilla chips, and two ice cubes in your damn house, and stay. You gotta show the love. So spend your grandma’s $100 birthday check on a couple of bottles of soda, a bag or two of ice, some alcohol, some cheese and crackers, and some Solo cups. Put up some streamers if you want to, I don’t care. If your friends are polite human beings, they will take it upon themselves to bring a gift of some type, most likely in the form of champagne or Malibu. And if they don’t, they shouldn’t be your friend. See: every invite I get where it tells me to please bring ice or alcohol or mixers makes me not want to go. It means I’ll bring a small bottle of wine I’m drinking myself. It does not make me generous. What makes me generous is a good friend telling me that they’re making punch and cocktail wieners. I love that friend. I will celebrate that friend’s birthday by bringing a handle of something they love. Be good to people, and they will be good to you.
2. . It It's At A Restaurant, Cover The Tab (For Now)
I do not want to go to your birthday brunch and spend 35 minutes itemizing the check to see who got one drink and who got two. That is fun for nobody. When you’re organizing a group dinner, here’s the guests' responsibility: show up. Understand that they are going to spend an exorbitant amount of money for two cocktails and huevos rancheros. Decide if that’s worth it and/or just pay for the drinks. Now, if you’re the organizer and it’s your birthday, here’s your responsibility: pay for the dinner. Split it up x ways and Venmo them all individually the next day. That’s polite. That’s easy. There’s a technology for that. If you’re making a bunch of people hang out who don’t know each other, the least you can do is make it easy for them to pay.
3. . Email Your Friends
Every year that passes, I’m less and less inclined to deal with Facebook invites. I don’t like checking my Facebook too often, and when I do, it isn’t to see when and where I have to be somewhere. So send an email. A good rule: if you don’t have somebody’s e-mail, you probably aren’t close enough to them to invite them to your party? E-mail your entire group with details that they need to know, and don’t leave things out: where you’re going to be, where you’re going after the first bar, the address of all the bars, and a time this might all go down. This is not the time to be vague. I’m only going if I’m sure you’re going to be at the bar when I arrive.
4. . Don't Get Mad
If your friends can’t come, it’s okay. If your work acquaintance forgets to email you telling you they can come, it’s okay. If the waiter doesn’t write 'happy birthday' on your tiramisu, it’s okay. “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” is a song, not a mantra. Don’t be the messy girl in the bathroom, crying because there’s only ten people at the party and Cassie didn’t come and you always go to her stuff. Just be cool. This is small stuff here, people.
5. . Keep It Simple
Don’t put a lot of pressure on this. You’ll have another birthday next year. Just keep it about what it is: you popped out or your mom, you want to celebrate the fact, and you want people to give you hugs and free drinks. You’ll be surrounded by the ones you love. And free drinks. Did I mention free drinks?