A thousand dollars for a birthday? That's what one woman expects her friends to spend on her birthday, and her best friend has had enough of the demands. Sounds kinda like when people have weddings in faraway places and it costs a fortune to get there, and if you can't afford it, you're ostracized. It's similar with this situation. Friendships can't flourish on unreasonable demands or lack of money. OP is afraid her friend will terminate their relationship if she doesn't pony up the dough.
ycomt asked Reddit if her friend is being unreasonable.
Submissions have been edited for clarity, context, and profanity.
I [29F] have been best friends with "Jessica" [28F] for 15 years. We went to the same high school, same university, travel together frequently and see each other once or twice a week. Recently we had a big fight that caught me off guard, and I could use some perspective. I guess this started months ago, but it all came to a head yesterday.
In July of this year, Jessica asked me and asked me if I wanted to go see her FAVORITE band in another state (an 11 hour drive away). I told her I would go and my budget was $250 for tickets, since we also had to pay for fuel/hotel/food while we were gone. When she bought our tickets, she completely blew my budget because she wanted better seats and ended up spending $600 EACH without talking to me. I was really annoyed, but she was begging me to come along and said it would mean the world to her if we could make it work – so we came to a compromise where I would pay her $250 in cash and cover our hotel expenses. We had fun, but even with our compromise I spent more than I had budgeted for.
The silver lining of that trip was I met a really great guy, "Ben" [42M] at a bar after the show and Jessica and I spent the rest of the evening hanging out with him and his friends. She said she had the best time and wanted to come back to this city again.
After we got home, Ben offered to pay for an airline ticket for me to come back for a proper date. I didn't feel comfortable accepting that from a stranger, but I did want to see him again so I decided to drive back to his city and find a cheap AirBNB for the weekend. I asked Jessica if she wanted to come along as she had mentioned enjoying it last time, and she did – I told her in advance that I had plans on Saturday night with Ben BUT if there was anything she wanted to do then we could before or after. She was excited and said she would just find a Tinder date while I was busy and she wanted to go to an amusement park the next day.
I had an amazing date, but Jessica's night apparently didn't go well. The next day at the amusement park, she was very standoffish and irritated with me. When we got home, she seemed to be back to normal.
Fast forward to now. Jessica's birthday is on September 21. She decided that she wanted to go on a road trip with me and a few other friends. She said she was planning it for Columbus Day weekend and to make sure I booked it off. Ben also asked me if I wanted to down for another visit soon and offered to fly me. I told him to book whatever was most convenient for him (because he was paying!) as long as it wasn't the weekend of Jess's party. He ended up booking my tickets for the weekend of Sept. 21st so we could attend a play that weekend. It Jessica's actual birthday (but not party) which I figured was fine as we had no plans. Except when I told her, Jessica freaked out at me.
She said she TOLD me to be here for her birthday (I assumed she meant the trip, not the actual day of her birth) and that I was a bad friend for going with Ben to this play on HER birthday because I knew how much she had wanted to see it (we had tried and failed to get tickets once before). She also said I ruined the last two trips we went on because every time we go out I get attention and leave her in the dust (which is not true…the first time we were all out together, and the second time she knew I had plans before she agreed to come. Prior to that I had been in a relationship for 3 years). She also brought up a trip we went on last year where I got groped by a man as proof!
She said that she "hopes I don't disappoint her again, and I owed her a great birthday for the last two times we went away and it was all about me". Ever since then, she has also been very grouchy with me. Hardly texting me when we used to text every day. When we go out with friends, she is very standoffish to me but nobody else. She also said she doesn't want to hear anything about Ben (we are continuing to see each other and he has been AMAZING).
Then this week, she drops her birthday plans to our friends and it looks like it's going to cost me upwards of $1000 again this time. I don't have that kind of money laying around, and I don't want to go on this trip if she's mad at me and it's going to be awkward. When I told her I didn't know if I could afford it, she said I could obviously afford to take all these trips to see Ben, but those haven't cost me anything.
I know if I don't go, she will get even madder and probably nuke the friendship, at least for a while. I don't know where this came from but I feel like she is being very entitled in expecting me to spend this much on a birthday to begin with. This is only my perspective, but I really don't think I did anything too egregious? We are also almost 30 years old!!!
What should I do?
tl;dr Best friend is mad at me and essentially saying our friendship is over if I don't spend a ton of money for her birthday. We have been friends for over a decade, but I think she is being immature.
No thank you.
Honestly, this kind of fiasco would make me stop being friends, possibly forever. Does she usually expect anything near this much in effort or money on your part? And what is this keeping score thing? Did something happen recently in her life that is making her irrational?
Y'all need to talk.
Part of her rant was how I always prioritize men over her and rub my "happiness" in her face while she is still grinding away on Tinder
I had started writing a response alluding to her being bitter or even jealous of the fact you've met Ben while she's still single, which has naturally taken some of your time and attention away from her, but then I saw this and yeah... It really sounds like she's having a hard time dealing with your changing circumstances and her getting mad at you about her birthday plans is a symptom of that.
I would try having a proper talk with her about this. Come at it from an angle of concern for her, but also make it known that her behavior has hurt you and that she's being unreasonable. It may well be that you've inadvertently done something that has pissed her off, which you might have to concede, but she needs to communicate that with you as the adult she supposedly is, not like a pouting child having a temper tantrum.
If she's having none of it, I would put some distance between you. It's terribly sad that her father died and her mental health has suffered as a result, but you cannot continue walking on eggshells around her and be made to feel bad about how you spend your own time and money. That's not how friendships work.
Don't go on the birthday trip.
I like hundreds of dollars more than drama.
I wouldn't go on this trip with her. She's made you the villain in her story for whatever reason right now and there's little you can do to change it. I would tell her flat out you're not interested in going on this trip if she's going to make you feel like crap the entire time.
If the last few trips and being around you has been that big of an issue, she'll have a better time without you there. If your other friends alienate you and won't even listen to whats going on from your side, they're not really your friends are they? And, if she's only going to have a good time if you're there to dump on and make her feel justified in being so miserable, that's not a reason for you to go either.
I know it's scary, the possibility of losing all your friends just because of Jessica, but if she nukes the friendship and everyone else sides with her, were you really friends with them to begin with?
Because friendships don't have price tags.
The correct answer when someone puts a price tag on friendship is, "Ok, bye!"
We have been friends for over a decade
The fact that you have a past does not guarantee or require that you have a future.
Offer another idea, perhaps just the two of you.
She's ridiculous. I'd tell her in a text "sorry I don't have a grand to spend on a birthday. You guys have fun and maybe we can grab a birthday lunch or something later" if she responds with something nasty, I'd just ignore her until she either grows up or moves on.
The story suggests a toxic person.
"Well you could afford to go shopping last week"
That is so freaking manipulative. Wow. This girl is toxic.
This wouldn't be a good use of money anyway.
Are y'all all secretly wealthy and I missed it somewhere? Y'all just have thousands of dollars laying around to take trips with just a few weeks notice???
I'm sorry, but I'm nearly 40 years old, and have an awesome job making great money and there's no way I'm dropping a f*cking grand on a friend's birthday with a few weeks notice. This is not how an adult (who isn't very wealthy) handles their money. I'd like to f*cking retire one day, and I want to take planned vacations with my family.
Most 30-year-olds move past the elaborate birthday party phase.
What 30 year old is still making elaborate birthday plans like a 21 year old??? Jessica has a lot of growing up to do in general, some time off from the friendship is probably a good thing.
End the friendship.
I know if I don't go, she will get even madder and probably nuke the friendship, at least for a while.
Why are you choosing to be friends with someone who blackmails you like this?
We have been friends for over a decade, but I think she is being immature.
You think?! This is like a freaking Saturday morning cartoon example of who not to be friends with.
Jessica sounds like an intolerable, demanding a--hole. You don't "owe" her anything.