General Question

essieness's avatar

Do I invite the roommate to my birthday celebration or not?

Asked by essieness (7693points) April 11th, 2010

Some of you are familiar with the back story here, but here’s a brief overview:

I’ve known her for 15 years and we were roommates about 10 years ago. We lived in different cities for quite some time and lost touch, but got back in touch over a year ago. I ended up taking a job in the city she lives in and we decided to be roommates. I thought it would be fun to rekindle our friendship and our previous roommate experience was great, so I was excited. Things went downhill very quickly when she moved her boyfriend in without talking to me about it or offering for him to share in the bills. He was living here 6 months before I finally had enough. There have been other issues, too, that I don’t want to rehash. Since then, the boyfriend issue has since been addressed, ground rules have been laid, and he is gone most of the time… but now, there is a lot of resentment between us and the friendship is pretty much dissolved, on my end at least. Besides the animosity and tension between us and in the home, we really have nothing in common and there’s really nothing that she has to offer me in the way of a friendship that makes me want to work on it. I get the feeling she wants to try to work things out and maintain a friendship, but I have no interest anymore.

Back story over…

So now, here’s my dilemma. My birthday is coming up in a month and I’ve been talking to some of my close girlfriends about doing a girls night out. I don’t know if I should invite the roommate or not.

On one hand, I feel obligated. She is my roommate and we have known each other forever. It would be awkward to not invite her. I’m pretty sure she’ll ask me what my plans are for my birthday pretty soon. I sort of feel like I should “be the bigger person” and put the invitation out there and let her decide.

On the other hand, I don’t care and don’t want her there. At all. It’s not just because I’m bitter, but that’s a big part of it. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m about 90% sure she’d ruin the night. You see, she’s one of those people who can find a way to turn any fun group event into being about her. She will typically find something to get upset about and she goes into what I call “poopy pants” mode. She shuts down, gets quiet and awkward, snaps at people, and sometimes just disappears. As in, will literally walk away from the setting and vanish for sometimes hours. I’m not dealing with this on my birthday from a grown woman. I’ve seen this happen several times and it’s very embarrassing. Additionally, all the girls who are coming know what’s been going on between us, so that could be awkward on another level :/

So, what would be the most tactful way to handle this situation?


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44 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

You don’t have to have a guest you don’t want at your own party. She’s an adult. She’ll live.

janbb's avatar

I don’t think there really is a tactful way to handle it. I think you have to decide which is most important to you, not upsetting her or having your birthday the way you want it. It sounds like you want it without her – which is fine. You can try to keep it a secret from her but that rarely works. You might want to sit her down and tell her you just don’t feel close to her any more and don’t want her there. She will not doubt be upset, but you will have done what you need to do.

Ludy's avatar

being the bigger one??? so that means putting other people before you? It’s YOUR birthday you should enjoy it,you should asker not to go as your birthday present from her!!! that way she can’t get mad.

tinyfaery's avatar

You obviously do not want her there, so don’t invite her just because you feel obligated.

Plan your party, but don’t be obvious about it. Go out and have a good time and don’t bring it up. Even if she finds out, it sounds like things are already awkward, so nothing will change.

Happy birthday!

chyna's avatar

It’s your birthday, you don’t have to invite her and I wouldn’t. If she asks, just tell her you and a couple friends are just going out and “hanging”. Don’t make it sound like a party, be brief and drop it. I had the exact same issue with a roomie years ago, and I swore I would never have another roomie again, and never have.

Ludy's avatar

plus if she didn’t tell you about her boyfriend moving in, why would you feel obligated to invite her either

superjuicebox's avatar

It’s your party. Invite the people you want, just be ready to deal with the awkwardness when she confronts you about it. Don’t feel bad about it though, it’s your B-day and you should have a good time ! Explain that to her afterwards and if she doesn’t see your point then she’s the one being selfish, not you.

Trillian's avatar

Have your night out and enjoy for chrissakes. You are under no obligation whatsoever to invite miss party pooper, and are entitled to celebrate or do anything else you like without reference to her or anyone else. The subject need not even be mentioned to her. If she brings it up, you owe her no explanations, and she has no business assuming that she is welcome.
You can try using “name the behaviour” if you feel like it. You can say, “When you act the way you do in front of my friends I feel uncomfortable, like I’m obligated to account and apologize for the way you act.”
Enjoy, and Happy Birthday!

essieness's avatar

@Trillian You said, ” I’m obligated to account and apologize for the way you act…” That is exactly how I feel.

essieness's avatar

Thanks everyone for the advice and I will certainly take it all into consideration. It’s so nice to have my jellies as a resource!

janbb's avatar

@essieness Have a great birthday! You deserve it.

Cruiser's avatar

On one hand I see your point and do agree this is your party and invite who you want. But even the best of friends have issues that arise and cause grief and your roomies BF was one of those. The upside is she did seem to make the effort to appease your demands and that being said I could see that she made the effort and perhaps inviting her would open the door to repairing what sounds like a wonderful long term special friendship.

Likeradar's avatar

I agree with everyone above me that it would be ok not to invite her. @chyna had a great idea about playing it down when you talk to her about it. I probably would invite her though. You have to live with her, and can you imagine how much more awkward it would be if she found out it was a bigger party than you said it would be?

If you do end up inviting her and she does her disappearing act… don’t worry about her and move on when you guys feel like it. You’re not her chaperone, and don’t need to wait around for her to reappear if she’s off being a brat somewhere.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

This is a crossroads in the relationship. You could just tell her what you’ve told us, assuming that you are planning on finding a different living situation when the lease comes up again. It would be an opportunity to give a recap of where the relationship stands. Like the Thomas Wolfe quote, “You can’t go home again,” relationships sometimes cannot be put back in the same place after a gap of several years. That 10 year span has turned you both into different people, and whatever made you good friends ten years ago, has been altered by the experiences in the ensuing time. You can’t go back and make it be exactly the same again.

It’s not uncommon for roommates to have separate lives, and minimize the impact on others. If you and your friends are going out, and not throwing a party at the apartment, you’re under no obligation to invite her. She violated the boundaries of the relationship by having the boyfriend move in without discussing it with you. That’s far more serious than having separate friends.

I wouldn’t say anything about it unless she asks if you have plans for your birthday, and if she does, tell her the truth, exactly as you explained it in your question. It sounds like her life is pretty wrapped up in the boyfriend, and she may have a hard time going out with the girls anyways, since she’s forgotten how to be a friend.

Rangie's avatar

I would say that now would be a good time to let her know you are looking for a new place to live. You need to be very honest with her. If you tweak your reasons other than the truth you will begin to weave a web. Just remember you are responsible for what you say and do. She is likewise. Honesty does not always have to hurt. Think about how you would like her to present this to you if it was in reverse. Neither of you owe each other anything. It is, what it is. It will get worse unless you deal with it soon. You said yourself, you have nothing in common and you have no interest in saving the relationship. I don’t think you need to go into the issue of poopy pants and all that stuff. You are grown up now and able to face thing like a young woman. Let your conscience help guide you and everything will be okay. Happy Birthday

essieness's avatar

@PandoraBoxx You’re very right about her being wrapped up in the boyfriend and forgetting how to be a friend. Sometimes I feel sorry for her because since I’ve moved here, I’ve realized she doesn’t have any girlfriends. Not one. But then I look at how she’s treated me and I’m not surprised. It’s a weird situation and one I’m ready to be removed from.

We have already discussed going our separate ways at the end of the lease, possibly sooner. In fact, she’s offered to pay my lease transfer fee and deposit if I’d like to move into a one bedroom. I’m still contemplating what I’m going to do about that.

I think those of you who said our friendship is at a crossroads or that we have just grown apart are right. We now live separate existences. We haven’t spent time alone together in a long time and when I move out, I don’t see any reason why we would spend time together then. I think I just need to make it work the best I can until the time comes to move on.

As for the birthday party, I’m leaning towards just not mentioning it unless she asks. Several of you pointed out the fact that she didn’t bother discussing her boyfriend moving in with me, so why should I feel like I owe her the decency of an obligatory invitation to my celebration? On the other hand, someone did mention that it seems like she’s trying and maybe this would be a great way to start mending the friendship. Hopefully over the next month, I will have a clearer idea of whether or not I feel she is worth keeping around. I don’t mean that to sound hateful; I have come to a point in life where I don’t keep people around just because, especially if they are a negative force in my life.

I can’t control her actions, I can only control how I react. Whoever said that, I like it.

Rangie's avatar

It doesn’t matter that she didn’t discuss having her boyfriend move in. Your decision should be made on you and your best interest. Not in retaliation for something she did. Don’t do anything you are not proud of. That way you can leave feeling good about how you handled things and for the right reasons. You don’t owe her an invitation, but you do owe her your decency as a person. Self respect, that is your job, so you can have a clear conscience. I think you know at this point the relationship is over, you don’t want to risk making things worse. Try to leave having no regrets and no bad feelings. That is your ulcer free zone. Peace if possible always. Payback and revenge never really feel good. enjoy your party.

Pandora's avatar

Are your other friends, friends with her? Just simply tell her you were invited out for the evening. You don’t have to elaborate.

PacificToast's avatar

If she’s going to ruin the night, don’t bother. She let her boyfriend live your guy’s apartment without telling you? You can have a birthday party without her. They say revenge is sweet. They also say revenge is best served cold. Therefore, revenge is ice cream.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

She’s a big part of your life so I vote for inviting her.

essieness's avatar

@Pandora One is, but they’re not close, so your idea will actually probably work just fine.

jeanmay's avatar

I agree with those who have said don’t invite her. If things are already so bad between you it doesn’t seem to make sense to invite her, and it won’t hurt your relationship much more given that it is already on such thin ice. You don’t need to feel guilty, and you shouldn’t invite her just to avoid feelings of guilt; it will only backfire, especially as you sound so confident that she will ruin your party. Take the opportunity to enjoy yourself and celebrate with your real friends, don’t waste time on party poopers. Happy birthday!

I once fell out with a roommate, the tension was unbearable. It was only after we stopped living with each other, and a year of no contact had passed, that we finally started to rebuild our friendship. We get along fine now. If there is any foundation to your friendship, it will survive in the long run. If not, oh well! Plenty more jellies in the sea!

eponymoushipster's avatar

I wouldn’t. But be prepared for “poopy pants” mood upon your return, and, possibly, for any agreements you’ve made regarding her nomadic boyfriend to go out the window.

how soon are you moving out?

essieness's avatar

@eponymoushipster Good point. I’m not sure when I’m moving out. That could be a whole ‘nother question on here. On one hand can you tell I like that phrase? I want out now and am chomping at the bit to get into my own place. She’s offering to pay the transfer fee and right now my complex has great specials going on. On the other hand, I sort of feel like that would be giving in to her basically “getting rid of me.” Which is really what she wants. She’d love to have me out of her hair so she can do what she wants and vice versa. But why should I go through the trouble of moving when she is the one who can’t abide by the roommate code of conduct?

But there’s that revenge thing again…

“The more I try to hurt you, the more it hurts me.” – The Flaming Lips with Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse my lurve, Revenge

jeanmay's avatar

Don’t view it as her getting rid of you, quite the opposite. Think how wonderful it will be to have your own space again!

eponymoushipster's avatar

@essieness sometimes just letting it go is better than worrying if she’s getting her way. let her wallow in what she thinks she’s getting, and enjoy what you are getting.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Moving within the same complex should be relatively easy; you can carry the stuff over. I think you win if you get your own space, providing you can afford the rent on your own.

Adagio's avatar

Excuse me for asking @essieness but why are you sharing a living space with someone whose company you no longer enjoy… just wondering :)

ptarnbsn's avatar

@Adagio Money and mommy doesn’t want her living alone…... has A LOT to do with her chronic disease. You know, the fear of getting sick and being found…..............too late.

ptarnbsn's avatar

@Adagio BTW….. I may get in trouble for that answer…......LOL!!

essieness's avatar

@ptarnbsn Uh yeah. You forget my age, mother dearest.

augustlan's avatar

Easiest option is just to say “Some friends are taking me out.”, and leave it at that. Happy birthday!

And, yes, move out… you win!

ptarnbsn's avatar

@essieness….shouldn’t it be “my DEAREST mother”? LOL!

PacificToast's avatar

@Captain_Fantasy There are a great many people who may be a big part of her life that are negative parts of her life.I vote you don’t invited the downers.

essieness's avatar

Update: She “apologized” for the boyfriend fiasco, tears and all. She also admitted she actively spent the past 6 months trying to make me as miserable as possible. However, the boyfriend is now being snuck (is that a word?) into the apartment when she thinks I don’t realize it. Apparently, she’s under the impression that I am stupid. And that one little fake apology is enough to fix everything.

The thing is, I don’t do “smiling in your face while stabbing you in the back.”


She is not invited to the birthday party.

And aside from being my roommate, is no longer a part of my life.

janbb's avatar

@essieness Sounds like a valid resolution for you.

essieness's avatar

@janbb Thank you. I feel good about it.

janbb's avatar

Yes, it’s painful but also validating when your suspicions about an erstwhile “friend” are confirmed.

eponymoushipster's avatar

if it’ll make you feel better, you can sneak me into your apartment. just to show her.

janbb's avatar

O Monkeyman, Where Have You Been?

chyna's avatar

The roommate is an ass. You deserve better.

eponymoushipster's avatar

@janbb right here. also: a bar.

@chyna true dat.

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