I’m dreading my birthday because I hate the general social expectations around them (go partying, celebrate with people, etc.). That’s not really my scene and I don’t have many friends who would drop things to celebrate with me, so I’m likely looking at a birthday weekend alone. Does anyone have advice for (1) making the most of a solo weekend and (2) not letting the social expectations get to you?

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This is going to come across an insensitive, but if you don’t have friends who are going to drop things to celebrate with you, where exactly are these expectations coming from?

It’s your birthday. Do things that make you happy.


I think the rest of your life begins when you start to make decisions for yourself and what you want rather than making decisions based on what others will think. Treat yourself to a weekend of everything YOU want to do. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty or sad for being alone. Some of the most transformative periods of my life have been spent alone. I’ve been on several vacations from a weekend away to 2 weeks in Europe alone and it was incredible. You don’t have to cater to anyone else. Some people may call it selfish and that’s ok.


I always celebrate my birthday alone! I take a day (usually before my actual birthday) to celebrate with friends but the day of my actual birthday is spent alone. I prefer not to spend it with anyone so I don’t give anyone the opportunity to ruin it for me. This year I got a facial, got a massage, did some shopping, took myself out for a nice dinner, and spent the night in a luxurious hotel. It was amazing.

Your birthday is the one day every year that’s all about you so do what YOU want to do. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you want to party, then party. If you want to sit at home and do nothing, then do that. You can literally do whatever you want to do that day and know that it’ll be time well spent because you did what made you happy. If people have a problem with that then they can bounce!


My first year after college, I was traveling for work for my birthday and told no one. When my team found out they felt bad but I just didn’t feel comfortable trying to celebrate. When I got back my Roomate had vaugely tried to do something for me but it was just not what I was used to - my family used to always make a big thing of my bday and help me plan some big event for my birthday (typically just meaning my mom would make a ton of my favorite food and let me invite all my friends over; and in college my parent would come to my college house with a bunch of food and some booze and help kick off a little party)

After that, I realized I need to make my own birthday traditions. Since then, I take the day off and typically go for a long hike and fancy dinner - sometimes wirh my spouse now but sometimes I chose to go alone so I can just be with myself. Sometimes I also do a spa day the day after or instead of the hike. Sometimes I’ll host a party becuase I like to a few days later, but taking my birthday into my own hands has been the greatest gift I can give to myself.


I have a lot of friends and I still don’t have these expectations lol. I hate clubbing I think it’s 🗑.

Get 1 or 2 girls to come get a mani pedi with you and then go to a really cute brunch! Spend the evening at home with your favorite takeout and movie and call someone you love (sibling or parent?)



I get it too.. there are lots and lots of people like us out there. The expectations are more of stuff in our heads that come from watching movies and tv that you got to have a bunch of friends who throw you a surprise party and you enjoy yourself.. hardly ever happens that way. I once went on a hike with an organized group from nyc and there was a woman who was there alone because it was her bday and the entire group of strangers was so happy to make her hike feel special… 😄 I think it’s a absolutely adult, independent and romantic feeling to spend your bday the way you want it on your own terms rather than the FOMO of the same old parties and clubbing thing.


Thank you all for these responses! I think this was the tough love/encouragement I needed


Well it’s still COVID so I think you get an easy pass for not going clubbing

I used to celebrate alone a lot (my parents even asked me if I had friends at one point in highschool). Once college hit and then first starting my career, I decided that I would do things I liked even if solo. As it turns out, when you do things solo you can either 1) meet like minded people or 2) inspire peers (who can become good friends) to start coming along or living their own dreams and inviting you along to things.

Weekend suggestions:
Hike, eat out, small getaway trip, train ride, go see family, farmers market, take a class (pottery,cooking), winery/brewery (unless you don’t like drinking at all), task rabbit you want something done around the house, zoom call someone who you think would get your spirits up


I find that it becomes increasingly difficult to do outings (especially full wknd outings) with friends as we get older, as people have to manage their families, work, stress and also own struggles. Learn to not take it personally when they can’t hang out or aren’t interested. Your friends could very well care about you, but have different priorities (doesn’t mean they don’t value you). Also, learn to give yourself the validation you need to feel worthy.

I’m getting conflicting hints from your post. How do you truly want to celebrate your birthday…do you want your friends to celebrate but afraid of ‘rejection’?

Pick an activity or place that would bring you joy, and if you care to be amongst friends, tell them “I decided to do a hike on x day to celebrate my birthday, join me if you’re free, no pressure. ” or “I am headed to a vineyard on x day to celebrate my birthday, join me if you’re free, no pressure. ” or “I am booking a spa day on x day to celebrate my birthday, join me if you’re free, no pressure.”

I used to have big group bday celebrations when I was in my 20s, I miss those times but had to accept that life changes. Now I focus on myself and things/experiences that make me happy. Go to a play, concert, different city to explore, book a restaurant, go to the spa, go in the nature, go shopping, learn something new, take the day off and relax, volunteer/give back, read an inspirational book. There are so many ways.


Treat yourself. I did a solo trip to Miami just because which was great


Spa day! With a few friends or solo.

I celebrate my birthday on my terms. I treat myself to things i want, eat the food i want, get spa treatments, all that. I usually only think about a group celebration if someone asks ‘what are we doing for your birthday.’

I don’t think that happened much after 25/26 with the caveat being big milestone birthdays like 30. I ran with a girl squad that was big into birthdays and planning events for each other. We all eventually learned that none of us loved the celebration/expectations to do that. It’s ALWAYS someone’s birthday.

Once we figured that out, things became more intimate. Those closest to each other might do something special for one another (my BFF in the group might have me over for dinner or pop by to say HBD!). For the most part, we all just text each other HBD within one week of the date, apologize for forgetting the actual day, and have a good laugh.

One of my two gal pals (who i lived with in my 20s) opened a group text with all the former roomies to say HBD and the rest of the thread was roasting the birthday girl for deleting her FB because we all look like a-holes now that she knows we don’t actually know her birthday. It was honestly the social highlight of my day and the birthday girl loved it as well. Went all in on us. It was perfect.

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