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lostinyoureyes's avatar

I'm turning 21 but have few friends. What to do on my birthday?

Asked by lostinyoureyes (1051 points ) November 9th, 2009

I’ve recently gotten over several obstacles to do with social anxiety. I’ve gotten closer to certain people and also had to cut certain people out. I haven’t had an actual birthday party since I was 10. I’ve had small get-togethers with either family or a couple friends but was always too shy and lacking of friends to plan something bigger.

I have more friends and acquaintances now, but they’re kind of all over the place and not from one particular group.

I’m a 21 year old girl who just wants to have a dinner party at a nice restaurant. I find this a difficult thing to imagine though. Would it be awkward inviting so many different people that don’t know each other? I think this would be an invitee’s biggest concern. I would hate for people to feel awkward.

For me to do this will be realizing a very challenging task. In fact, if the night goes smoothly, it will actually make my life. I never plan anything for myself, let alone any type of get-together. My biggest fear is that it won’t be any fun and that everyone will feel awkward. Any advice or thoughts on this? Thank you.

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16 Answers

Cartman's avatar

Hello and congratulations on turning 21!

I totally recognise your situation. I had a very limited selection of friends (more like a handful a acquaintances really) and then I started to gather some from disparate circles. I have found, after several trial-and-error situations, that mixing friends from totally different circles often makes for an excellent party. Really. People who in all likelihood would never have meet each other have a lot of questions to ask each other and lacking questions to ask talk, talk, talk (because some people are better talker than listeners – just can’t shut up but are still entertaining).

Putting people in an unfamiliar situation often creates a bit of nerves in the beginning, this often (in my experience) translates to chatty people and interesting conversations (and more drinking) leading to more interesting situations that in turn build the base of a really good party. When meeting a bunch of people you never have met, and never would meet otherwise, you’re bound to find someone of interest to you, and vice versa. Which can not be said for someone’s umpteenth dinner with friends from work.

I’ve been to parties mixing everything from pot-growers (legal of course) and old (70+) representative of ancient European noble houses. No one was really in their element in the beginning but all agreed in the end that it was an interesting party. Interesting is good and most people go to the same kind of events all of the time. If you can be the one to mix it up you become the link between worlds (tacky I know, but you get the meaning).

My parents always said that I was special and my friends called me odd. Same thing, different perspective.

allergictoeverything's avatar

If you feel that it’s awkward, then highly likely it’s going to turn out awkward. Just relax! If all the different groups of people truly are your friends, then they’re going to be happy regardless of who you invite. They’re there for you, not others. If they see that you’re happy, that’s all that’s going to matter. It’s your birthday, afterall. Don’t get so worked up!

peedub's avatar

A dinner party at a nice restaurant sounds ideal. What’s the popular alternative, to sloppily crawl from bar to bar? Dinner parties are the most fun when groups of friends cross paths and new people meet.
It’s about you and your day. Don’t worry too much about everyone getting along perfectly.

One thing you might consider is having a very close friend arrange the whole thing. Perhaps you have a best or close friend to help with the details, that way you don’t have to think too much about it.

holden's avatar

Don’t worry about keeping your birthday from being awkward for your guests. Focus on making it enjoyable for yourself. Spend it doing something you know you will enjoy. If your friends have a problem with whatever you decide you want to do they don’t have to come. It’s your friggen’ day, not theirs. Birthdays shouldn’t be something you have to stress about.

augustlan's avatar

Happy birthday in advance. I recommend you go ahead and invite everyone you like. To help the evening go smoothly, make introductions for each unknown person. Don’t stop at just their name… try to say a little tidbit about them, too. Something like, “This is my friend Sara. She works at that great bookstore downtown.” It gives people a jumping off point. Have a great time!

Darwin's avatar

What @augustlan said. However, you might want to keep the guest list short enough that you don’t get anxious and so that you can talk to everyone and make them feel you are happy they came.

mclaugh's avatar

Invite everyone who you feel should be there. The situation might be a little awkward at first but since no one knows eachother, theyll all feel the same way and theyll want to get to know eachother. just make sure that you do introduction when everyone gets there. And a dinner party sounds great! Am I invited? lol :) Happy birthday and good luck with your plans!

Likeradar's avatar

Happy birthday. :)

I agree with the people who suggested going for it. Of course not everyone will click, but it’s almost guaranteed that with a group of people around the same age getting together for a happy occasion, new friends will be made. If you’re a good host- introduce people, be relaxed, chat with everyone, it will most likely go smoothly (especially with a few drinks in most people) and maybe even be an awesome dinner.

throughthelookingglass's avatar

Happy birthday to you!

And congratulations for pulling through your obstacles.

I think that you should go ahead with the dinner plans and see it as a celebration of yourself, the person you are now. If you are relaxed and comfortable and want to have a good time- I am sure that every one of your friends will feel it, and want the same happiness for you.

I think that you could really use this as an opportunity to continue to explore this new more confident you!

Have a great celebration!

NewZen's avatar

My best birthdays were with just a couple of really good friends. Go celebrate, have a happy birthday, and come back and tell us about it.

sdeutsch's avatar

Don’t worry too much about whether it will be awkward for your friends. After many years of agonizing about whether to invite disparate groups of friends to my parties, I’ve finally started to realize that I only think it will be awkward because I’m socially awkward and uncomfortable with people I don’t know very well. Fortunately, most of my friends aren’t like that – they love to chat and meet new people, and I’m guessing at least some of your friends are like that too.

You might need to get the ball rolling with some interesting introductions, like @augustlan suggested, but then you can just sit back and enjoy the company of your friends – if they know you well at all, they’ll know that you’re not the most outgoing of the bunch, and that’ll be fine with them.

Have a great birthday, and definitely come back and tell us about it!

boffin's avatar

Male “Strippers”

Trance24's avatar

This is actually a perfect opportunity in my opinion to introduce your different friends to each other. They obviously like you and being around you so why not be around other people who like you. The dinner party is a good idea, everyone around a table getting to know one another over a meal and some drinks. Who knows maybe this will set off an opportunity for your each individual friends to become more of a friend circle, where everyone can hang out together. Invite some of your close family too if you like have them meet your friends too. Its always good for the people in your life to know the other people in your life especially if the people are close to you.

Haleth's avatar

Happy birthday, and congratulations on overcoming your anxiety! You should invite whoever you want. I went to a big dinner birthday party recently where I only knew the birthday girl. I think that because it was a sit-down restaurant it was harder to get to know everyone there. It might help people start talking if you go to a place that encourages them to mingle, or just anything that’s less of a traditional sit-down experience. Tapas, mezze, or Korean barbecue might be a not-bad idea, or going to a place combines eating with other entertainment. I went to a wine bar that would be great for this, because they had wonderful food as well as great wine, and we all shared food and picked out wines for each other. A place with hookah might also be cool, because it’s a communal thing that’s shared between the table, and you’re not necessarily stuck in just one seat. Being stuck in one seat at a dinner table can get awkward. It will probably be fine, just because you’re concerned about this. It sounds like you will make the effort to make them all feel comfortable.

ultimateego's avatar

not having friends is awesome. keep it that way if you know what’s good for you.

plethora's avatar

I would suggest forgetting the party and follow @NewZen suggestion

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