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When Good Friends Forget Your Birthday

Published: February 2, 2024 | By | 1 Reply Continue Reading
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A reader asks what to do when your friends forget your birthday; she feels hurt and resentful and wonders if she should say or do something.


Hi Irene,

I have a group of girlfriends that I have known for 30 years or longer. We are used to getting together for our birthdays, all chipping in for the birthday girl’s lunch. I didn’t mind doing that but it seems when it comes to my turn, they are too busy or away, and I am overlooked. 

Just yesterday we all got together for lunch and I thought it was just an ordinary get-together. When it came time to pay, one of the ladies spoke up and said we’ll just split the bill four ways (there were six of us) so I was put on the spot to pay for two of the girls’ past birthdays. I just paid but was again resentful.

My husband’s solution is don’t go to the lunches anymore. I feel left out but have known these ladies so long and would like to say something. Do you have any advice on what I could say or not? 

Thank you in advance. 



Hi Ellen,

It seems like you aren’t resentful of the money, per se, but the fact that your friends forget your birthday.  Given that this is a long-time ritual that you’ve shared over the years, your hurt is understandable. As women age, they often become more sentimental about birthdays and sharing them with good friends.

You didn’t mention the date of your birthday but I’m wondering if it coincides with summers or holidays when people are preoccupied with other things. Nonetheless, it should be celebrated by the group at another time.

If you still enjoy these lunches and meeting up with these friends, my suggestion would be to talk to one of the ladies you feel closest to, in confidence. Explain that you are reluctant to make a big issue of it but are starting to feel a bit hurt and overlooked by the group. If you say nothing, you will continue to feel resentful and it will make you feel more distant from these friends. 

My guess is that your friend will respond that this oversight has been totally unintentional but that she’ll be mindful to tell the others next time your birthday comes around.

Hope this is helpful.


Tips for Handling The Disappointment Of A Friend Forgetting Your Birthday

It’s natural to feel disappointed or hurt when a friend forgets your birthday, but it’s important to navigate these situations with understanding and grace if the friendship is important to you.

Here are some suggestions on what to say or do when a friend forgets your birthday:

#1 – Acknowledge Your Feelings: It’s okay to feel disappointed or hurt if your friend forgets your birthday. Recognize and acknowledge your emotions, but try not to dwell on negativity or resentment.

#2 – Communicate Honestly: If the oversight is bothering you, consider communicating with your friend about how you feel. Choose a calm and private moment to express your emotions without placing blame or creating conflict.

#3 – Express Your Feelings Constructively: When discussing your feelings with your friend, focus on using “I” statements to express how their forgetfulness made you feel. For example, “I felt a little hurt when I realized you forgot my birthday.”

#4 – Give them the Benefit of the Doubt: Remember that everyone makes mistakes, and forgetting a birthday doesn’t necessarily reflect on your friend’s feelings towards you. Consider giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that the oversight was unintentional.

#5 – Consider the Circumstances: Reflect on the circumstances surrounding your friend’s forgetfulness. Were they going through a busy or stressful time? Understanding the context can help you empathize with their situation.

#6  – Manage Your Expectations: While birthdays are significant to some people, they may not hold the same importance to others. Manage your expectations and try not to equate forgetfulness with a lack of friendship or care.

#7 – Focus on the Friendship: Instead of dwelling on the forgotten birthday, focus on the strength and value of your friendship. Cherish the memories and experiences you’ve shared together, and don’t let a single oversight overshadow your bond.

#8 – Lead by Example: Use the situation as an opportunity to lead by example and demonstrate forgiveness, understanding, and compassion. Show your friend that you value their friendship regardless of occasional forgetfulness.

#9 – Celebrate Belatedly: Extend the joy of your birthday celebration by accepting belated wishes or gestures from your friend. Embrace the opportunity to extend the festivities and enjoy the thoughtfulness behind their gestures, even if they come a little late.

#10 – Move Forward Positively: Once you’ve addressed your feelings and communicated with your friend, focus on moving forward positively. Let go of any lingering resentment or disappointment, and continue to nurture your friendship with love, understanding, and mutual respect

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When Your Friend Forgets Your Birthday


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Category: Friends and Money, RESOLVING PROBLEMS

Comments (1)

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  1. Sandra G says:

    I’m sorry I missed this post earlier. I can relate to the dilemma, and I agree with Irene’s advice. It would be a good idea to share your feelings about this oversight with one of your closest friends in the group. Most likely, she will share your concerns with the other women. To be fair, they should be reminded of the oversight — but it would be awkward for you to do that.

    I understand how you’d feel hurt about being overlooked this way. I have a summer birthday that is often forgotten by friends who are vacationing or living at their cottages. Another friend of mine has a birthday right near Christmas, and of course, that one gets overlooked too. It’s understandable.

    It could be this is a one-time slip-up. If one of my close friends forgets my birthday one year, I let it go and try not to take it personally. If it keeps happening, I then ask myself if it’s possible that they would prefer to drop the gifting practice. I like to assume that people treat others the way they want to be treated. If they keep forgetting to send gifts and/or cards, maybe they don’t care about receiving gifts and cards?

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