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Podcast #37: Birthday Etiquette for Adults

Do you need to buy your friend a present? Should you post on social media? Can you have a birthday trip? We answer all of your burning b-day questions.

Listen and subscribe to Adultescence podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Podcast #37: Birthday Politics

We all have that friend who acts like their birthday is the most important event of the year. Time stops on the anniversary of their birth and they expect the world to revolve around them for four, five, six days… maybe even the whole dang month. They sport a sash, plan an elaborate (and expensive) birthday gathering, and maybe even propose a birthday trip to Cancun. Or Greece. Why not both?

In this episode of the podcast, we dive into all things birthday-related. From gift giving to social media etiquette, we answer the question: is there a right or wrong way to celebrate your birthday? (Spoiler alert: yes. To both.)
Birthday Etiquette for Adults

Birthday Etiquette for Adults

In this episode, we answer all your burning birthday-related questions.

1. How long should birthday celebrations last?

Our humble opinion: keep it short and sweet. Your friends want to celebrate you, but you’re not Jesus, hun. You don’t get the whole month of December.

2. What types of birthday celebrations are acceptable as an adult?

At a certain point, throwing your own birthday party feels cringey. That being said, if you are just dying to have a reason to bring all your pals together at your home, you need to really *throw* that party. Supply the alcohol, the snacks, maybe even a party favor or two. Otherwise, stick with something like a group dinner.

3. Who should you invite to your birthday dinner?

Whoever you want to. For real. But, do consider this: if you invite the boyfriend, and the rest of the attendees are your gal-pals, it might be a little awk.

4. Should you expect people to post on social media for your birthday?

If your love language is social media, your friends probably know that. After all, you’re the one in the group always nagging everyone to “send that group pic!” So, if they post about you (knowing you’ll love it), great. But if not, don’t be too salty about it.
Birthday Etiquette for Adults - confetti

5. Should you pay for your friend’s birthday dinner?

You should not feel obligated to pay for your friend’s birthday dinner. Especially if you go out with them for their special day with a group that you wouldn’t normally hang out with – your presence at that event is present enough! But, if you’re feeling generous, or if you prefer to give experiences rather than material things, gifting a dinner is a nice gesture that will surely be welcomed.

6. When should you give your friend a birthday gift?

This all comes down to how close the two of you are. Besties? We’d venture to say yes (whether that gift is an experience like dinner or a physical thing). But don’t spend more than $25 to $50 on it when you’re in your twenties. And if your friend expects more than that? You might want to re-evaluate that relationship.

7. Can you have a birthday trip?

Our recommendation is that you shouldn’t have a trip solely for your birthday – unless you’re fronting the bill. It’s not fair to expect your friends to pay a lot of cash to go on a vacation that they have no say in.

However, if you’re planning a trip with a group of friends that happens to fall on your birthday – but everyone has a voice when it comes to the activities you do and the destination – go for it. Just don’t make it all about you once you get there.

For more, listen and subscribe to Adultescence podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

By Laura Davis

Laura was born at the beach in New Jersey, but she'd be the first to tell you her childhood was nothing like Jersey Shore. Sadly. When she's not writing, you can find her reading on her beloved Kindle, listening to true crime podcasts, or looking up adoptable cats.

Outside of her 9-5 as a writer, Laura is the owner of Looks by Laura, an online thrifted clothing boutique. She's the co-founder of Adultescence, a podcast and lifestyle website about navigating that challenging space between adolescence and adulthood. And she makes a mean eggplant parm.

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