DEAR ABBY: What is your take on these two similar situations? We were recently invited to attend a surprise birthday party for a man in his late 40s. We were all to meet at a lovely restaurant. Somehow he found out the day before and called each guest, saying he had "other plans and the party is off." (A blatant excuse.)
How about another grown man, my neighbor? I had invited his family over for a small, casual dinner at my home on his birthday. Immediately upon entering, he saw the cake, said, "I don't celebrate my birthday!" slammed the door and left. He didn't even say "thanks anyway."
Is this considered normal behavior? I was trying to show his daughter -- my goddaughter -- that you "receive by giving," but it sure backfired. I wasn't trying to embarrass him, just show him that we love him.
I will keep my opinions about these men to myself. Let's just say, I'm still shaking my head. -- NEVER AGAIN IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR NEVER AGAIN: A birthday party is not a command performance. You have described two individuals who have "birthday party issues." They probably have good reasons for them, and they are entitled to their feelings.
The first man called the party off in enough time so that he did not inconvenience any of the guests. As to your neighbor, his response was both immature and ungracious. One would think that his daughter or his wife would have warned you about how strongly he felt about birthday celebrations. For them to have allowed the situation to go as far as it did was wrong.
Please do not take what happened too personally. And in the future, if you plan a birthday celebration, try to discreetly find out if one would be welcomed.