12 Jul

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

A friend of mine has been dropping not so subtle hints that she’d like me to throw her a surprise party for her 40th birthday. I know she really wants a big celebration, but her husband’s a dud and won’t do it. I really don’t want the responsibility, but I want her to have a great day, too. What should I do?




Dear  Hintee,

I see absolutely nothing wrong with going through the extra effort of throwing  a dear friend a huge, surprise 40th  birthday party. Especially if she’s now in her early 20’s so you have plenty of time to plan.

If she’s in her late 30s, however, I definitely see your dilemma. Because although you want your friend to have a great birthday, you don’t want to deal with the planning and the expense.  And I don’t blame you.  Because planning a birthday party for anyone over eight-years-old is pure torture.   (Of course, I think it’s pure torture for the under eight crowd, too, but I’m trying to blend in with the whole mommy blogging genre here.)

So you have some options:

1.  Try to rope some of her other friends into sharing the burden of the surprise party.  This will probably involve a lot of Pinot Grigio-infused meetings to discuss the logistics.

2.  Tell your friend that you’ll take her out for a girls’ lunch for her birthday–just the two of you.  But the surprise will be that other friends will be there.  What’s not to love?

3.  Enter into a Witness Protection Program and relocate until the birthday passes.  Sure, this takes a bit more planning and in this age of federal cutbacks it may be harder to pull off, but it really shows your friend that you care.  Because for years you’ll be able to say, “I’m so sorry that I couldn’t be here to arrange your party, but, you know—” and then suck in your teeth to indicate that it is much too dangerous to continue.

Good luck choosing an option that works best for you.  And if all else fails, don’t forget the “Yes, I would have loved a surprise 40th birthday party, too, but no one bothered” approach!


Marinka, TMH

9 Responses to “Surprise-ish!”


Comment by Desperate Dietwives.

The first question that springs to the mind is: why does she particularly want YOU to throw her a “surprise” party?

I mean, does she drop similar hints to other friends as well, or does she do it only with you? Because she might have spotted you as the weakest of her friends, the one who is more likely to go to the trouble, if adequately pressured to do so.

If I were you I would approach her husband, telling him that she wishes to have a surprise party and asking him straight to plan it. You might even go so far as to offer your help, but only if he is the main planner.

If her own husband doesn’t care about it, why should you? Chances are it will be a big flop without her family’s cooperation… or not?


Comment by Lola.

I think you might be overlooking the obvious; talk to the “dud hubby” and tell him his beloved would like a blowout big day, and that if he’ll pick up the tab you’d be happy to put on your party-planner-hat. The birthday girl will appreciate you beyond words, dud hubby will be something of a hero in his own right for having shelled out, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you did good by your bestie. It’s a win-win-win … and who doesn’t love to win?


Comment by Wendi.

Find a bounce house place that has some kid’s birthday party in progress, bring her in blindfolded & run like hell back to your car.


Comment by Melanie.

Love that Wendi…


Comment by Plano Mom.

I’ll throw in the free passes to Jump Town if you live in Plano.


Comment by marathonmom.

Well, her 40’s are totally gonna suck if she hasn’t grown up enough to decide she is 40 and deserves a party and can’t make it happen. *sigh* And a dud husband is no excuse. Sometimes it pays to DISCOVER. Happy Birthday!


Comment by HellTygr.

Yup, the weekend I turned 40, my husband went to California and my Mom went to Hawaii. I said heck with the both of them, and threw myself a party anyway, my 20 or so closest friends sitting in the backyard and drinking. Does it get any better? This way, I knew for sure that what the birthday girl wanted on the menu, she got!


Comment by Margo.

Speak to the husband. Tell him his wife wants a party and offer to help with advice. Suggest which of her friends shousld be invited, but don’t get drawn into actually making bookings / doing the catering etc yourself.

Alternatively, speak to a few of her other friends and suggest that you all go out for a meal to celebrate her birthday – you & they can agree to split the bill so she gets a treat, you don’t get stuck with masses of organisation and/or cost, and because you have taken the trouble to arrange something to celebrate the occassion, if she is bad-mannered enough to make any comment about not having had a bigger/better/different party you can say that you’d already planned this before she dropped any hints, and that the important thing is that she got to celebrate with her best friends.
You’re covered all round, and don’t end up with a massive bill or the hassle!


Comment by Lisa.

I think Lola is right on.

I guess I don’t see what the big deal is, assuming you like this friend. I realize everyone handles birthdays differently, so not everyone will get it, but to some people, it’s important.

I mean, isn’t this part of having relationships? We’re different, we learn things from each other and in exchange for putting up with each other’s crap, we humor each other on our pet needs.

I have a friend who is the planner. It’s part of how she shows her love for other people, by planning thoughtful, fun things. I know she would appreciate someone doing that for her. Her husband is just not up to that kind of thing on his own – probably why he married a planner. It doesn’t have to be a huge deal to plan a party. It is only as complicated as you make it. Pick a date, time, order food & drink, invite people.

Consider Checking Out...