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LifeQuestioner's avatar

When people are taking you out for your birthday or some such thing, do you try and pick a place that everybody will like or do you just go with whatever you want?

Asked by LifeQuestioner (2557points) 1 week ago

I’m all for giving the person their choice as much as possible, but when it’s a place that is not going to accommodate others, particularly the people who are also spending money there for their own food, then would you not be halfway considerate and maybe offer another option or two of where you would like to go?

We’re getting ready to take my sister out in about a week and she has her mind set on this one place that only she wants to go to.

When she took me out for my birthday a couple weeks ago, she even tried to push the idea on me of going to this place and I was not interested at all after looking at the menu. I picked the place, but I asked her if she would like it okay if we went there, and she said yes.

So of course she’s picking that place, and that’s fine. I did look at the menu, which is not really extensive, but I could not find anything I wanted to get except maybe a bowl of soup, which would give me little to no carbs. Since I have to have carbs with each meal, I will probably end up having to leave there and go home and eat something else or pick something up on the way home, which honestly, really sucks. And because I dared question about whether maybe she might pick another place, now “her feelings are all hurt.” Oh, I did see beef stroganoff, which sounded fairly good, but it was $30! And I just can’t fathom spending $30 on beef stroganoff. And not even because I can’t afford it, just because I can’t imagine any beef stroganoff worth $30.

Said sister has been a bully many times, so I really shouldn’t be surprised, I guess. But what would you do?

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24 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
JLeslie's avatar

I would consider everyone within reason while trying to make sure it’s a place I like too. It matters how many people and how often these birthday lunches are happening.

If the lunches don’t happen often I wouldn’t mind very much that I don’t love the restaurant, and just eat before or after. If it’s a big family and every month there is a birthday lunch and every month I don’t like the restaurant or paying more than I can afford, I’d get very annoyed eventually.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@JLeslie it’s just us three sisters, so we only do this maybe three times a year. And I would eat before or after, but I’m diabetic and since she’s going to want to go at lunch time, it’s not as simple as just eating earlier or later. And I definitely try to find something that I would like on the menu, but maybe I just don’t have enough of a refined taste.

JLeslie's avatar

@LifeQuestioner It’s her birthday so I guess she gets to have her way. I would think she could go to that restaurant another time with someone else if she knows you don’t like it, but she doesn’t seem to care I guess. Maybe it’s a power struggle thing for her.

I guess maybe order a glass of juice or soda that you can sip or probably they will serve some bread. Will that help with your sugar? Or, that’s going overboard?

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@JLeslie with my sister, it’s always a power thing. As in, she always has to have power over everybody. This is the same family member, along with my brother, who was bullying me constantly when I was taking care of my mom, something they helped with next to nothing.

I could just get some bread, orange juice is definitely out. But I kind of feel like if I’m driving 30 minutes, I want to eat somewhere where I feel like I can order a meal. At any rate, she’s being such a whiny “insert word here”, about the whole thing, but now I don’t even really want to go. I would happily buy her a gift card there, but when you will be eating at the place as well, you’d like it to be someplace that you like too.

She pulls this sort of emotional blackmail all the time, this is what she does. The whole, oh, now my feelings are so hurt I don’t even want to talk about it, kind of crap. And when she acts like that, it turns me off from wanting to engage at all. If she had said, well give it a thought and maybe let’s see if the fall menu changes any, something showing that she at least cared about my feelings, then I think I would have been a lot more open to making it work. But when she starts pulling all that crap with the guilt trip and everything, I just don’t even feel like trying.

JLeslie's avatar

@LifeQuestioner Maybe this is the last time you do it. You can put your foot down and say “choose another place” then she still gets to choose, but it sounds like she is insisting on this one.

You can say you need to consider your health, so it has to be another place or earlier or later so you can eat what you need to and meet with them without eating or eating very little.

The main point is to be together, unless you all are together all of the time then it shouldn’t be such a big deal, but I know people who are obsessed with doing something special for their birthday, anniversary, etc, and will twist themselves and everyone else into a pretzel to accomplish their neediness and need for control.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@JLeslie I know the main point is to be together, but she’s not going to want to eat at some odd time. She never wants to be accommodating in the smallest way even. I won’t decide tonight, which is good because I’m too disgusted with her behavior. And right now I just feel like telling her I’m not going to go.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
jca2's avatar

I have two friends that the three of us have been going out for our birthdays for a few years. The two others have birthdays that are about two days apart and it’s very difficult for us to find dates that work for the three of us, whenever we try to schedule anything, so it’s a real PITA.

I try to choose a place that works for everyone. One of my friends can’t eat steak or Chinese food (due to surgery she’s had where it doesn’t work well with her digestive system). The other friend, for a while, couldn’t eat Italian food due to having GERD. She has recently been able to eat Italian but when I choose, I would love Chinese food because I never eat it, but that’s out, and I would love steak because I never eat it, but that’s out. To answer the question directly, yes, the three of us try to choose a place that works for all three.

What I decided recently is that I no longer want to go out “for our birthdays.” I think we should all just go out whenever we want, and just pay for ourselves. It’s too much of a hassle (in my opinion), to deal with what works and what dates work and the two of them having birthdays close together but needing separate celebrations. I’m not saying give me a celebration and the two of them should celebrate together, I’m saying ditch the whole idea and let’s just go to dinner.

Maybe for you and your two sisters, you should just ditch the “birthday” celebration and just go to dinner, and then it would be more equitable about choosing a place that works for everyone. Go to dinner a few times a year, or a bunch more times a year, as often as you want, and just everyone pays for themselves. Easy peasy.

LifeQuestioner's avatar

@jca2 I could totally go for that, but I could see my sister still trying to push her agenda when she wants to eat at a particular place. My other sister has a lot of health issues where there’s a number of things that she can’t eat. She’s actually coming over Sunday to watch the first football game of the season and because she never got a chance to take me out for my birthday, she’s going to buy lunch for the two of us. I have asked her some ideas of where she could get food from (meaning she’ll enjoy it too), and then I will pick one from those choices so that we can both be happy. But I guess not everybody thinks that way.

snowberry's avatar

One of my daughters went through a severe trauma and her personality changed. She’s become a mean one, but only when we are alone together (somehow she seems to blame me). So my family downplays her behavior because they don’t see it. They expect me to overlook her behavior.

I’m done, as in Not Anymore!

I would stop trying to be so nice to the mean siblings. set your boundaries, and if that means they overrule you, don’t go. Then have family time just with the one sibling who’s not a bully.

If you’re determined to go anyway, bring snacks in your purse, and care for your own needs (eat) at the appropriate time. Maybe you’ll just end up with a cup of coffee while everyone else is eating, but your needs will be covered.

jca2's avatar

My reasoning with forgetting the birthday thing is when it becomes reciprocal, there seem to tend to be (or can tend to be) more hurt feelings, more rules that have to be followed (who chooses, who pays, this person had a fancier celebration, etc.). I say let’s just go out and enjoy each other’s company. Let’s just spend some time together, pay for ourselves, let’s acknowledge a birthday if there’s one close by, if we choose to acknowledge it, but let’s be done with the forced celebrations and obligations and reciprocations.

zenvelo's avatar

As a guideline I follow, the one who is paying chooses the restaurant.

JLeslie's avatar

Wait, I lost sight of you are all paying for the birthday girl. Maybe when she agreed to your place she wasn’t really fond of that restaurant so now it’s her day and she wants what she wants.

Maybe after this (or now) you all agree to not eat out for your birthdays and do something else instead. Years ago when my husband and I used to go to NY to see my family we stopped eating out with everyone because they all had so many food quirks it was stressful getting an agreement.

Can you suggest you all go to a movie instead or a museum. Stop with the food if you all have big differences regarding food.

You might have to go through it this one last time before you can suggest not eating out anymore. Right now in her mind, I’m guessing she feels she did it for you now you need to do it for her. After this meal it’s back to zero and next time you ask for nothing on your birthday. Especially if you are tight on money, don’t do things that cost money on your birthdays.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I pick something reasonable that everyone will like. Any reasonable person would do the same.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I’d go where the birthday girl wants to go. Perhaps call and ask about options for yourself, since you haven’t been before?

cookieman's avatar

My wife and daughter take me out to eat for my birthday every year. I love barbecue so I’ve chosen that for years. They always insist I choose something I love. They are not big fans of barbecue, but can usually find something they like.

Last year I took it too far though. A new place opened up nearby, was praised as authentic southern barbecue, and had a live blues brunch. I was so excited to go and loved the place.

Ten minutes in though, it was evident they were having a terrible time and barely touched their food. They were not digging the bands either. I wrapped it up early and they could not wait to get out of there.

I’ll probably go back again on my own sometime and let them pick the place for my birthday this year.

Forever_Free's avatar

I choose based on attendees. Nowadays the consideration is around peoples food preferences and cost.
Many friends are vegan, gluten free, pescatarian, etc so I make sure there are options for all.

SnipSnip's avatar

We go where I want.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t celebrate my birthday. However, we recently celebrated our anniversary (39!), and my kids, and their kids joined us.
I paid (because it was pricey, and because it’s my fault), and 2 of my grandsons hadn’t been there before, so we went to Benihana’s.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband used to go to Benihanas every year for his birthday the first few years we were dating and into the beginning of our marriage. I might have to pull that out for sentimental reasons this coming birthday. Thank you for the reminder!

smudges's avatar

I’m not sure why my response was “unhelpful”. Just because I didn’t want to read the lengthy question? I did answer the as question asked: I said I would want to go to a place of my choosing, probably Italian. That was the question! This will be deleted also. <sigh> censorship

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Whoa, hold on a minute: You know people who remember your birthday? And they celebrate it in some way? And they take you out to restaurants with a whole party of other people who are there just to help you celebrate? Your birthday?

I need some time to wrap my mind around this concept. I’ll get back to you.

As a general rule, though, you should keep in mind the corollary to the ancient lawyers’ adage (that is, it’s an ancient adage, to lawyers young and old) “Never ask a question that you don’t know the answer to.” To wit, “Never ask the question that you already know the answer to, and it’s going to ruin your case.” In other words, maybe you should just buy her a book or something.

A whole party, though? That’s wild. My mind is still boggled.

YARNLADY's avatar

If someone else is paying, I first ask what they can afford, then choose what I like.

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