Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Does it upset you if people forget your birthday?

Asked by JLeslie (59761points) January 6th, 2015 from iPhone

Maybe just certain people? Ok if friends forget, but not ok if a parent or spouse forgets?

This is a Q for adults primarily. I think most people would agree forgetting a child’s birthday isn’t good.

My aunt called me today feeling horrible she forgot my birthday. She never has before. She isn’t well, has a lot of health problems and some other things. Even if she were completely healthy I would not have been angry or upset. Probably because she usually doesn’t forget. Also, my birthday is early January, difficult for people to remember. I celebrate birthday month, so if you call me in January or send a card, I say you didn’t forget.

If my friends don’t remember it doesn’t faze me at all. If my spouse forgot altogether I would be a little annoyed maybe, but I think it would be almost funny, because it’s out of his character. It definitely would not bother me if he forgot first thing in the morning in the rush to leave for work and remembered later.

I have friends and relatives who are really angry and incredibly upset by this type of oversight. They all are miserable people to begin with. Some are alcoholics, others just depressed and angry people.

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50 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

After 54 birthdays I do not feel the need for recognition from anyone for being born anymore. I would prefer a you have survived day….that would be worth celebrating. Something I do every morning actually.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No but, that was part of the reason I got a divorce. She forgot my birthday six weeks after we got married, her aunt reminded her two days after my birthday.


Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I get bummed when I forget my birthday. :(

chyna's avatar

My ex spouse couldn’t forget my birthday. We shared the same birthdate.
It’s just another day to me. I don’t care if no one remembers.

prairierose's avatar

I like for my family and friends to remember my birthday and they almost always do remember. If someone should happen to forget, I don’t hold it against them.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

It is must a annual mortality marker that shows you have one less year to be on the planet, so who cares if someone forgets it. I only had one birthday and I don’t even remember that.

Mimishu1995's avatar

As I grow older I get more and more accustomed to celebrating my birthday alone. That is, I don’t ask anyone to remember and congratulate me on my birthday. If they do then it’s good, if they don’t then I’m fine. As a result I get s little bit annoyed if someone bitches about people forgetting their birthday.

I still secretly want my family to celebrate birthday with me though :P

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

If friends forget my birthday, that’s fine. I don’t advertise my birthday.

My partner or children forgetting my birthday would upset me a great deal. I don’t mind if they don’t get me a present or just buy me something very small and even a card would be fine, but I want their time and attention on my birthday. We usually get together on the day and go out for dinner to celebrate each person’s birthday. As my children are getting older, meeting on the day can be challenging if they have work commitments, but I’d be upset if we didn’t organise a time to get together to celebrate. It’s really more about the coming together in a positive environment for me.

JLeslie's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit You actually bring up something I wasn’t even really thinking about. If something is organized I would guess it would be extremely unlikely for any of your close family members to forget. All you need is one of them to remember in advance, and then the planning begins.

I was thinking more in terms of cards/phone calls/texts and even the first thing in the morning wishes from a spouse. This year on my birthday about 5 minutes after I woke while I was still lying in bed my husband walked into the bedroom (he had woken up before me) and immediately wished me a happy birthday. I hadn’t even remembered my birthday. Lol. I knew the day before my birthday was tomorrow. I know all December my birthday is next month. Most of my friends and family remember my birthday is coming up. The thing is that day. On the day, people can get lost in their work or obligations and it slips their mind.

I’m sure my aunt thought of my birthday before the actual day. She too is an early January baby. She always talks about us both being Capricorns. I help take care of her. I feel badly my mom didn’t call to remind her. I wish I had called her on my birthday so she wouldn’t have felt badly about forgetting.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Since my children are now adults, at various times, they have not lived here. One does live here now and another is also moving back (it’s a bit like a revolving door). So only my partner could be caught out having forgotten my birthday in that way. There is plenty of time for one of them to say to the others, ‘don’t forget Mum’s birthday’. I’m quite sure they do this because they tend to collaborate on present buying and the like and giving each other lifts to my house. So, only my husband can be caught out.

I’m more likely to forget than he is. I have forgotten our wedding anniversary and received a text at work saying Happy Anniversary. I felt terrible!

Cruiser's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit At least all you did was forget your anniversary…..he honored yours with a Text message. If I had done that despite it being -4F outside I would come home to find my pillow and pajamas on the back deck and probably on fire so I would not freeze. She cares about me that way.

JLeslie's avatar


Do you all make it like a test? Don’t you talk about upcoming birthdays and anniversaries?

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I hear you but I was at work @Cruiser and it wasn’t a nasty text. I don’t think I could really complain since I’d completely forgotten. I did get a present when I got home and in fairness to him, he brings me a cup of tea EVERY morning and sits and talks to me as we start our day. So I’m treated very well on a daily basis and he’s done this for 15 years. That matters more to me than if he made a big show of our anniversary.

I think he was being a bit strategic too. How can I ever complain if he forgets? I forgot first.

Cruiser's avatar

@Earthbound_Misfit That is awesome and shows you have the right man who has your back. My wife is very similar with all the little things she and we do for each other. Congrats!

dxs's avatar

Not at all. I’d prefer it if they did forget because I share the same view as @Hypocrisy_Central, but I still appreciate the sentiments.

rojo's avatar

No, If it were not for people reminding me I would not remember it either.

Aethelwine's avatar

I’d like to say no, but my SIL didn’t mention anything to me on my birthday this past Sunday and it kind of bugs me. I really don’t like her (I think she’s fake) so I guess I shouldn’t let it bug me, but I do. She’ll be all lovey the next time I see her and she’ll talk about getting together, but then I’ll never hear another word from her until I see her again. Like I said, fake

Here2_4's avatar

Happy Julienuary, @JLeslie . (Quoting the lemur king from Madagascar, in the Christmas movie.)
I have no desire to have my birthday remembered. Remember my ring size, my most clever of all moments, or my favorite food. My birthday can go run with a pack of wolves.

Aethelwine's avatar

and I just noticed that my sister added me to a group on facebook called SIL’s secret birthday party in March.

ugh. have I mentioned I really don’t like my sister’s wife?

jca's avatar

This is a good question because I am really not sure how I would feel, because it’s never occurred to me. I guess I take it for granted that my close friends and family don’t forget, but yet if they did, it probably wouldn’t be so terrible.

My family and few good (“best”) friends don’t forget. If my mom forgot, that would be kind of weird. My close friends, no, it wouldn’t bother me. I am always flattered when they remember and talk about taking me out or having me over or whatever. I guess it’s that as we get older, I feel like birthdays are kind of “optional” to celebrate. I don’t ever expect anything to be done or given, except maybe from parents because they’re in a class of their own. Of course, friends give me gifts and take me out and stuff, and it’s lovely, but if they forgot, couldn’t or chose not to, that would be ok too.

johnpowell's avatar

I’m not a fan of b-days so I don’t really care. But it was pretty funny. My sister normally does my b-day stuff (food that wasn’t from a freezer and a small gift) and she got the day right but was a month late.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my next birthday was in 11 months.

ucme's avatar

Dunno, never happened yet.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Unbelievable. I wonder if she realized she she missed your birthday? She must.

I have to admit if I forget a BIL birthday I don’t worry about it. I usually remember. I’m not very close with them though.

@jca Do you think since your mom has always remembered if she forgot one year it wouldn’t upset you much, because it is so unlike her?

I just wonder if these people who flip out had people in childhood who forgot their birthdays and forgot other things, and the act triggers some sort of really big feelings of insecurity or lack of feeling loved. I don’t mean like @jonsblood feeling annoyed by her SIL, I am talking about they really are brought to tears or intense anger about it. Like being forgotten waiting on a scary corner as a kid and the sun is going down.

Sinqer's avatar

No, I rarely remember it myself.

gailcalled's avatar

It has not been an issue with me for decades.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

yes and no. yes if it is immediate family but no if it is cousins, distant relatives or friends. The older a person gets the more a birthday is not a big deal. You are just grateful you woke up that morning and was able to get out of bed.

filmfann's avatar

I find birthdays to be self obsessive. I am glad when no one notices, including me.
The only thing that is different about my birthday is I make sure I go to the dentist.

ibstubro's avatar

Never. I’d just as soon they forget.

And I give gifts as things people need/would appreciate find me. I have made that a tradition among most of my friends.

marinelife's avatar

Yes. I admit to having a chip on my shoulder about my birthday. It is Jan 2, which was always the day we went back to work or school after the holidays. People were sick of celebrating so my birthday was always ho hum.

My childhood saw combination Christmas/birthday gifts (definite no no) and birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper (yuck).

It’s taken a lot of years to get more even-keeled about my birthday.

ibstubro's avatar

Both my mother and brother had Christmastime birthdays, @marinelife. If it’s any consolation, it’s agony for the people close to them, too. Trying to spend twice as much when money is shortest of the year. Non-Christmas paper and cards when everything is holiday. At least today you stand to get a nice gift because of the post-Christmas sales.

My sister and I would often try to team up on my mother’s Christmas/birthday. If the budget was around $10, we could buy her a [steller?] $40 present.

In hindsight, I just wanted to please my mom. My sister likely wanted to make ‘a splash’, and I usually chose the gift.

JLeslie's avatar

@marinelife Maybe you should try celebrating birthday month also? Some of my closer friends remember on new years day it’s my month, and they ask what special things I am going to do, and wish me a happy birthday month. I think it’s easier for them to remember on New Years than a couple of days after. My husband goes along with all sorts of things I want to do during that month. Last weekend we went kayaking for the first time. I don’t feel any pressure to go out on a Wednesday night if my birthday falls on that day, the weekend is fine. Even the weekend in the middle of the month is fine. I go shopping after the crowds are done and treat myself to some new things. I buy a couple things for my husband for my borthday too sometimes. I try to plan a trip during January, even if the trip isn’t going to actually happen in January. Kind of my month to list all my wants and fun things and feel entitled.

I do like all the phone calls I get on my actual birthday (usually around 5 or 6) and the texts (another 3 or 4) and all the facebook posts (probably over 50, but I barely know some of them). I remember thebfirst year I joined facebook I didn’t know about the birthday wishes and it was amazing to see all the well wishes flood in.

When I was little my family never forgot my birthday and we didn’t celebrate Christmas so that was less of a big deal. I can understand why getting birthday gifts wrapped in Christmas paper would be disappointing. Chanukah was more of the disappointing day(s) compared to Christmas. Also, Chanukah quickly became a money holiday as I got older, not so much a girft wrapped present holiday. We did go back to school on my birthday quite often, so I know how that feels. I don’t think any of my friends or teachers realized it was my birthday. I don’t remember them acknowledging it if they did. My mom stopped doing birthday parties after age 8, so I never perceived my lack of parties and multiple gifts as a Christmas thing, but rather my mom not wanting to bother thing. As I got older I realized my friends had trouble remembering my birthday because of the timing.

@ibstubro I understand people are low on cash around Christmas, but seriously, the birthday is not a surprise expense because your car broke down. The birthday is known all year long. I really don’t understand not having the money for the birthday gift just because it is December or January. I am not talking about the sweet thing you did for your sibling, I mean parents. Parents have no excuse. Especially if they have more than one kid and it is obvious the June child gets better gifts and the wrapping paper has bright colors and balloons on it and the Christmas kid doesn’t.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

No, I don’t see my birthday as being an important event. I’d much rather friends and family contact me because they want to interact, rather than just because I’ve completed another lap of the sun.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Rick never remembers, so I quit remembering his. He got upset the first time I did it.

Another time something clued him in so that evening, as we were watching a movie, he off handedly said, “Happy birthday by the way.”
So I did the same to him when his birthday came around 6 months later. Again he got upset.

In his family birthdays are a huge deal. They weren’t in mine.

Anyway, no. It hurts a little, but I don’t get upset.

Dutchess_III's avatar

One time we were on the road, traveling to his hometown. He was on business, I was just tagging along. Got a call from my son, wishing me happy birthday. I thanked him. After I hung up Rick said, “Who was that?”
“What did he want?”
“To wish me happy birthday.”
“But today isn’t your birthday!”
“Um. Yeah. Pretty sure it is, unless my folks lied to me!”
I rather enjoyed the look in his face! :D

I used to give him small presents on our anniversary, but he never acknowledged it back in any way so I quit doing that too.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III Aw man. I think why not do something big for his birthday? Maybe then he will try to do better for yours. I understand why you stopped, but it might be worth a try once more after what I assume is many years. Or, if you want something for your birthday just go ahead and bring up youself that it is approaching.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have in the past but when he blew off my birthday I just quit.

And I have. I said, “Tomorrow is my birthday and it’s Saturday and I’d like to go to The Botanical Gardens.” So tomorrow comes and we go to his friend’s house just to hang out, like we often do on Saturdays and my birthday is never mentioned.

It’s easier to just not have any expectations. That way you can’t be disappointed.

jca's avatar

If I had a husband or boyfriend, like @Dutchess_III, it would definitely bother me if they forgot my birthday and didn’t make some effort at a gift or a dinner or something.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

That must be incredibly hurtful @Dutchess_III. I would not be so calm about that level of thoughtlessness if it was my husband. I can excuse forgetting when they’re under stress and if their forgetting is an unusual thing, but if it was a routine event, I’d be very put out.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I always write it on the calendar so I don’t forget. One year, I wrote it on the day after. Oh fuck, that was bad.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not “incredibly” hurtful. Just hurts a little.

ibstubro's avatar

@Dutchess_III and I are doormats at a duplex of life.

Last year? I wanted to go to the Japanese Steak House for my birthday. No one asked. We ate Mexican…again.

Here2_4's avatar

Birthday? I want Japanese tomorrow!

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III That sucks. I probably would just lower my expectations too. Maybe plan my own special things without him.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Nah. My life is good enough that I don’t need anything special on any particular day. I not only lowered my expectations, I eliminated them altogether. Works for me!

JLeslie's avatar

If it works it works.

BevinDorm's avatar

There is some satisfaction, glee when someone remembers my birthday, especially when it is someone close to me. I can understand if the person I want to call me forgets due to a very good reason, like my gran, she’s getting old and forgetful, and sometimes will only phone me a week after, but she always phones, and it makes me feel loved and important. I don’t think we should be too hard on people if they forget, but if it is your mom/dad or a sibling or your partner, it does hurt, lets be honest, a LOT when they do forget.

ibstubro's avatar

I think it may be an age thing, @BevinDorm. I’m 53 and I truly don’t give a rat’s rump. Birthday is just an embarrassment, as I really had nothing to do with it and have had enough to last me. Like many of the holidays, birthdays are really best for children (and the very young at heart.).

keobooks's avatar

I think if someone remembers my birthday, its kind of nice, but if people forget, I don’t care. I DO get peeved if I got the other person a present or bought them dinner and they didn’t reciprocate, but that’s my thing.

BevinDorm's avatar

I’m sure it is just more of an age thing @ibstubro like my boys go crazy over their birthday’s, but they are young and look forward to the party, and sweets, friends and presents. Where the older you get the less you feel like having a party. I won’t say I feel its embarrassing to have a birthday, then again I grew up always celebrating my birthday, so I’m use to it by now, and personally don’t mind. But I just think if I can remember your birthday and take the time to text or call, you can at least do the same to me??

ibstubro's avatar

Yes, @BevinDorm, I try to reciprocate, but really, it means so little to me that it’s hard to keep track.

Certainly, I get your point, and especially within an inner circle of under a dozen.

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