My birthday's approaching. It's not a milestone age or anything, but my friends and teammates (people I socialize, work or talk with every day, at meals, practice and study sessions) found out about it and have told me they'll rig up a birthday celebration of some sort. I really appreciate the gesture, but I'm not a huge party person. I'd much rather have a smaller celebration with just a few close friends. My objection isn't due to a lack of time; it's just that I don't like large social gatherings.
Unfortunately, many of the people who want to plan the party aren't in that close friend group, and I'm worried that they might be offended if I exclude them. I've already attempted to tell them that I don't want a party (at all!). This morning, I said
Hey, guys, I really appreciate your offer, but I don't want a big celebration for my birthday.
The responses were along the lines of
You don't relax enough! Don't worry, we won't do anything too big. Some chuckles
I wanted to say
Thanks, but I just want to have a get-together with some close friends. I'm sorry, but that's all I'm doing.
but I couldn't manage to be forceful enough. I was too afraid of offending them, and so I sort of rolled over.
Here are my goals for communication in a future in-person response (hopefully within the next day or so):
- I want to make it clear that I don't want a large celebration.
- They need to know that I don't dislike them; I simply would rather spend time with close friends.
- I still appreciate the gesture.
- I don't want to offend them.
- I'd like to be assertive.
How can I accomplish these goals in conversation? Ideally, I'd like to be the one to start talking, to come off as more assertive.
Culturally, I'm a teenage college student at a small school in the United States. The group of would-be party planners number about 12, and they're all my age or a little older. I know that they care about me, but I think they've gotten a little caught-up in their excitement.