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I have been working for a company for more than five years. It is a fairly small company with less than ten employees.

Yesterday, I overheard one of my colleagues discussing about a surprise party they are going to throw on my birthday. I really felt honored and it made me proud to work for such a company which wants to make my day special.

BUT I am a big disbeliever of celebrating birthdays (Do not ask me why) and I do not want my birthday celebrated anywhere. Neither I want someone wishing me on my birthday. Having said all that,

how do I politely tell the management to avoid party of any kind on my birthday?

  • Related, if not duplicate: interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/1730/… – Vylix Oct 14 '17 at 19:38
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because IPS is a place where you can get some advice on how to handle a tricky situation. It's not a place where you come just to hear what you already chose and, from your comments, it seems like your mind was already made up: not showing up. – OldPadawan Oct 16 '17 at 6:57
15

Seems like people hasn't known about your belief before. If they had known before, they will respect you by leaving you alone that day (well, perhaps with extra, but subtle, kindness, although they won't mention it because your birthday).

Make your (dis)belief in birthdays known before the date.

You can try directly approaching one of the organizer

Hey, guys, xx is what you call 'my birthday'. Just for your information, I don't believe in birthdays and don't celebrate any, so please do not congratulate me or throw any party for me.

You can choose to mention you've known about the surprise party, and thanking them for that.

tl;dr Make your disbelief in birthday known to those in your circle(s), if you do not wish to be congratulated on that day.


If by any chance your birthday is already too close to cancel the surprise party, try to offer to delay (or fasten) the party, so it's not a birthday party, but just a regular party. Choose between appreciating their preparation, or your principle.

I only ask you to consider that they've going so far to prepare a party for you.

  • No, I am choosing to disappear on that day. I do not have the courage to tell them about it. They are losers if they are planning to celebrate on the day where I do not show up. It is not my fault. Or is it? – VadaCurry Oct 14 '17 at 19:50
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    Tell them your views on birthday, preferably before they prepare the party. It is not nice to let the preparation go to waste after all the good will of them! – Vylix Oct 14 '17 at 20:40
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    @VadaCurry Your colleagues are trying to be nice, referring to them as losers is rather unpleasant and arrogant. – Revetahw Oct 14 '17 at 21:56
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    @VadaCurry Your question was "how do I politely tell the management to avoid party of any kind on my birthday?" If you have no intention of talking to them, why bother to ask the question? – apaul Oct 15 '17 at 0:38
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    @VadaCurry With an attitude like that, I am impressed they are planning anything at all or even tolerate being in the same room as you. Be gracious and stay humble. Concentrate on how this news makes you feel "honored" and on your day of birth exemplify that feeling rather than your disdain of birthdays. It's not always about you, people want an excuse to socialize. – MonkeyZeus Oct 16 '17 at 17:05
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Just say:

Hey, can we talk? I might have overheard you were throwing a surprise party. Can you do me a favor and not organize one. I don't believe in birthdays for this and this reason. Thanks. (Polite and to the point)

Or at lunch start a conversation like this:

Did you know, I think this and this about birthdays, because this and this. What do you guys think?

  • @joelHarkes No, I am choosing to disappear on that day. Sorry! I do not have the courage to tell them about it. They are losers if they are planning to celebrate on the day where I do not show up. It is not my fault! – VadaCurry Oct 14 '17 at 19:51
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    @VadaCurry Being afraid of what you believe and hiding it is going to be the worst option here. Either colleagues find out and will be disappointed they put effort in it and you avoid it instead of saying beforehand or they will rethrow the party another day (or next year). – Joel Harkes Oct 14 '17 at 19:54
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    @VadaCurry what makes you think they won't just move the celebration to the next (or previous) day, if they've got everything prepped already? – Erik Oct 14 '17 at 21:21
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    @VadaCurry don't be surprised if they have a party ready for the day you come back. – Erik Oct 14 '17 at 21:26
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    @VadaCurry On one hand you say, "I don't have the courage to tell them" and on the other you call them losers? – Dhruv Saxena Oct 15 '17 at 2:05
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I would talk politely and candidly with the organizers. Express that you are honored, but, for personal reasons you would rather not discuss, you prefer to observe your own birthday as a purely private matter. You might say,

I would rather not observe my birthday here. I love working here and I respect my teammates and I am honored that you wish to observe my birthday. But, really, I would rather not, for deep-seated personal reasons. Thank you for understanding. This means a lot to me. In fact, maybe the best birthday gift you can give me is to disregard my birthday.

=)

Good luck. I feel much the same way about my own birthday.

  • FYI, we generally prefer to put long quotes inside a block quote (you can make one by starting the line with a >, e.g. > this is a quote). Signatures are also discouraged since we want to focus on your answer and your name is already right below. Minor nitpicks aside, I think this is a good answer (especially considering it's your first). Good job, welcome to the site, hope to see you here more often, and +1 from me. =) – Everly Foxton Oct 15 '17 at 2:09
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It's a difficult situation... I think if your colleagues hadn't done anything yet (in terms of preparation for the birthday) then you should tell them that you don't want to celebrate your birthday. But if they already had done a big job then it can be an upset for them, and I would recommend you to celebrate your birthday(But not too much fun), and next year a few months before your birthday tell your colleagues that you don't want to celebrate it.

Apparently, you have very good colleagues ♥.

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You know what I'm someone like you who doesn't believe in birthdays, so I generally deactivate my social accounts a day before but since in your case your colleagues already have it coming, you could tell them that you'd be taking a leave on your b'day since you have planned a picnic with your closed ones,that way,there will be no surprise party surprising you, rather you could surprise them by visiting your office quoting "Hey pals,yea my friend got really sick, we had to cancel our trip to this place.." that way there will be no party and worst case you'd have to treat them in the lunch break and thats normal (hey it's once a year so why not)

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    This is terrible? you can't keep this up every year? And if you would go on picnic or take a day of you are technically still celebrating your birthday. Although you might see it as hiding away/avoiding people. – Joel Harkes Oct 15 '17 at 5:20
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    Though telling you're gonna take a leave on that day is enough to cancel the party, I don't think you should lie. – Vylix Oct 15 '17 at 5:52

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