Last Saturday, I attended a birthday party held in the basement of a bar, for a girl that I had met maybe two or three times total. There seems to be a birthday gathering for someone every weekend in this city, and while I’m definitely not complaining about the free drinks or appetizers that accompany these soirees, I do have a problem with the people who get invited to these things.
Everyone has what I like to call “fringe friends.” People who you see around from time to time but never make an effort to hang out with on your own. It’s always one of your friends who texts them to come to that bar you’re hanging out at. Never you. You’ll see them on the train ride to work, at the gym, or grocery shopping and at the most, you’ll give them the “sup” head nod or “Hey, good seeing you, man” and be on your way. The fringe friend is filler. Say you’re having a party and you want to give off the vibe that you are semi-popular. Call up your good friend who you drink with every Friday night and tell him to text what’s her face and her roommates. Fringe friends are crucial in certain situations, but why I keep getting Facebook invitations to birthday parties for people I hardly know is mind boggling.
I hate celebrating my birthday. I can’t remember a single year of my life where I was super stoked for anniversary of me leaving my mothers womb. Hand to God, I remember waking up with cold sweats and night terrors the week leading up to my twenty first birthday. I knew that birthday wasn’t going to be fun for me. While there is no denying that my closest friends are still degenerates toeing a very fine line between casual drinking and alcoholism, they (and by extension, myself) were at their worst around age 21.
That lei with all of the nips on it? I finished that before I went to the bar on my twenty-first because peer pressure is a son of a bitch. I had a small get together before midnight that turned into a full blown party. Half of the people there had never said a word to me and had no idea it was my birthday. And I was fine with that. But I feel like past your 21st, whats the point of having a huge blowout? Just say you’re having a party, or better yet, celebrate it with those closest to you.
I got carried home from the bar and spent the night in my bathroom throwing up on my twenty-first. Fun times. And after my twenty-first? Yeah, the last thing on earth I want to do is invite a bunch people I kind of, sort of know (read: assholes who I don’t care about) to a celebration for me. I’d rather just go out for a nice dinner with my family and then go to a bar with three or four friends who actually know what my last name is.
I would equate inviting people who you see around but don’t really know to a birthday party like inviting a second cousin to your wedding. Yeah, it’s a nice gesture, but just don’t do it. Stop inviting me to these birthday parties. I’ve met you a handful of times and the only thing we have in common is that we have a few mutual friends.
So last weekend I go to this birthday party and it was about as average a time as you would expect. Sitting on top of some sort of heating plate, there was an enormous tray of tater tots with every dip imaginable sitting next to it. There was a keg of what I think was some skunky bud light and if you wanted anything a little stronger there was a cash bar in the corner of this cellar that was beginning to fill up with people after about an hour. You know what I did at that party?
I shook some hands, introduced myself to a few people, gave a half assed hug and well wishes to the birthday girl and left. I don’t know if people are inviting me to these parties out of some sort of obligation they feel or what. What I do know is that birthday parties have been deluded down so much that it’s just become another night out now. And if I’m being honest, I definitely think you’re an asshole if you make a big deal about your birthday. Nobody cares after 21. It’s all a wash and you’re just one step closer to being 30. So I don’t know. Enjoy your birthday, by all means. Just don’t feel obligated to invite your fringe friends because, at the end of the day, you’re not going to care if they show up, and they don’t really care that it’s your birthday. .
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