We have long-time friends, a married couple. We don't see them very often, maybe four to five times a year.
Two of the opportunities to meet them are their birthday parties. During these "parties" 10-12 guests sit around a table, eat and drink and make small-talk.
My wife and I feel increasingly uncomfortable at these birthday parties, mostly because of the topics of conversation
The guests only talk about vacations (5 star hotels in Dubai), their houses in Sylt (a German island comparable to the Hamptons in the U.S.), locations in Paris where you can eat the best Périgord truffles and so on.
We also don't like the other guests (except our friends) very much and so we decided not to attend these parties anymore.
How can we politely refuse invitations to these birthday parties without offending our friends? We really like to meet them, but not at these events. We also don't like to lie to our friends and find some excuses.