Post # 1
When I married my husband, one of the first things my in-laws said to me was how happy they were to have someone in the family who likes to plan events. My in-laws are laid-back people who don’t do a whole lot outside of hanging out at home. I enjoy planning parties, and DH and I enjoy going out and trying new things.
My FIL’s birthday is coming up and he is turning 50. That’s a big birthday for him, so I got together with my MIL and told her we should throw him a surprise party. We were going to invite all his friends and family and rent out the neighborhood clubhouse. FIL somehow found out about our planning, and he immediately canceled the whole thing and said that would put too much pressure on him and his immediate family. He prefers a more casual affair. So, he planned his own party to be an open-house type thing where people just drop by and wish him a happy birthday.
Since the big party was canceled, this left open the evening. FIL expressed interest in doing something for dinner, so I thought it would be nice to treat him to a delicious meal at a Brazilian steakhouse. It’s something he’s never tried before, and it would be a wonderful meal for a meat lover like himself. He said that would be fine, until just a few days ago when he sent out an e-mail asking me to cancel the dinner. He said it was too formal for him and he would rather hang out at home.
I understand that it’s his birthday, but he did say that he appreciated my ability to plan events. I wanted to give him the surprise party as a gift, but he canceled it. I wanted to take him to the steakhouse as a gift, but he canceled that. I’m frustrated to the point where I don’t want to participate in any planning for family holidays/birthdays again. Would anyone else be upset by this?
Post # 3
I would be a bit annoyed because you want to do something nice for him, but they may still appreciate your skills. He is just not comfortable being the focus.
They are probably thinking more along the lines of holidays or future celebrations where he isnt the sole focus.
Post # 4
@Bichon Frise: I’d be upset too. Hmm!
I’d probably try something w. another family member and see how that pans out. Perhaps stop making him the center of attention for now. You never know – he might be having a crappy few weeks or some health problems, or any number of things.
Post # 5
Yea I wouldn’t take this as an insult at all. A lot of people are just really uncomfortable being the center of attention. My dad would’ve killed us if we’d thrown him a big birthday party! I’m sure they appreciate your effort to make his birthday special, I’d just try not to take this personally.
Post # 6
I’d be a little frustrated, but not upset, or offended. Some people do not operate well under social pressure, or under a “microscope.” And it’s a known fact that older people are less open to change. He may have considered something new for a time, but decided that his old favorite spot says “Happy Birthday!” to him, because it’s as comfortable as an old pair of jeans.
Don’t take it to heart. Just let him have a low key birthday, and maybe just plan your own events for yourself until they ask for your help in the future. They may not be “surprise” sorts of people.
Post # 7
@CorgiTales: I understand if he doesn’t want to be the center of attention, but the steakhouse dinner was going to be just the immediate family (6 people total). DH and I were planning to pay for it as his birthday gift too. I feel like he keeps rejecting all my ideas, but then tells me he wants me to plan stuff and asks for my opinion all the time.
Post # 8
I wouldn’t take it personal. Maybe he just feels more comfortable at home and doesn’t like to eat out. He said people can drop by to wish him a happy birthday and keep it casual.
My sister is like this. She’s not a restaurant type of person and doesn’t like to eat at other peoples houses. If we have a gathering at her house, she’s cool with that.
If you want to do something for his birthday and he wants it at home what about finding a caterer of his favorite food. Maybe he’d be ok with that.
Post # 9
Annoyed yes, upset maybe a little. Pissed off never going to plan and event, maybe for him…
For his bday- say “dinner, your choice pick a place any place”
Post # 10
@Bichon Frise: I would probably be frustrated also. He may appreciate your abilities because he lacks them. I appreciate my fiancée’s energetic and extroverted spirit. At the same time, I’m a true introvert and homebody (but I like trying new things). Maybe he told you he would do the steakhouse without thinking it through. My father is actually the same way he seems to be. A party would embarrass him and he wouldn’t appreciate a brazilian steakhouse. I think as some people get older their willingness to try new things dissipates. I’d just visit and avoid planning future events unless I was asked.
Post # 11
No! Get over it!
Turn the tables. If it was YOUR birthday, YOU would want to do what YOU wanted. Not have someone try to dictate what THEY expected/wanted/hoped for instead. Your FIL is sounds like a private man of the older generation and thus doesn’t like a fuss being made over him. Frankly, if sitting at home all day accepting walk-in well wishers is what he wants for his birthday (50 or not) that’s what he should be allowed to do.
Plan your agenda for some other night
Post # 13
Everyone is different, and since it’s his birthday, I think he gets to decide how he would like best to celebrate it (or not). I personally see nothing to celebrate as I get older, so all the milestone birthdays that come up mean nothing to me. I’d prefer to throw a party for someone else, to be honest.
I’d just let it go and try not to be upset about it.
Post # 14
Hmm, I think I’d be upset/annoyed at this especially since your intentions were to make him feel special. I guess it’s like…he likes events planned but probably not the kind of events you enjoy planning.
I know you didn’t ask for advice but if it were me, I’d think of doing it different in the future…like instead of saying “this is what we’ve planned for you!” approach it by running an idea by him and seeing what his response is. Like say, “I thought we could go to a Brazillian Steakhouse after the party, would you like that?” instead of “We’re going to a Braziilian Steakhouse after the party, you’re gonna LOVE it!”
Post # 15
My FI’s 40th birthday is coming up in November. I REALLY wanted to plan a big cocktail party for him at a nice bar, he has a lot of friends who would come in from out of town and it would have been a blast.
Yeah, he’s not having it. He said he’d rather go away for the weekend just him and I. Which is fine, but it’s not exactly a celebration of a milestone birthday. I think it’s a combination of him not wanting to be the center of attention and perhaps a little depression at turning 40. He’s normally a pretty happy go lucky guy but I know the 40 thing is bothering him a bit. Perhaps your FIL feels the same about 50? Getting old is tough to accept happliy sometimes, I realize this more and more as I get older myself. I mean, it’s nothing to cry a river over, but dang – somtimes I think about that 40 looming in a few years and yeah, it’s a bit of a bummer.
I would never want to make him uncomfortable though, so I just accepted it and didn’t push. I would advise the same – I do not think he intended to insult you at all!
Post # 16
I wouldn’t be upset. I think your FIL is just uncomfortable being the center of attention and having a fuss made over him. Yes, the dinner would only be the six of you, but you were planning to take him out to a restauarant — he may well have feared that the waitstaff could come out clapping and singning Happy Birthday to him. I’d be horrified by that prospect myself.
But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want you to plan events. I’m guessing he would be happy if you planned things at Christmas, Thanksgiving and other holidays where the focus was on getting together as a family. Or he might be comfortable with things like birthday parties for OTHER family members or graduation parties or christenings or other celebrations where HE is not the center of attention.
I’m guessing when he told you he appreciated your ability to plan events, he never considered his birthday to be an “event.”