I have a pretty close family on both sides (mother's and father's), but there are 4 family members (who are living together (aunt, uncle and 2 cousins (girl and boy)) who are never going to anyone's birthday, usually they just go to a theme park or go on a vacation.

should I go to their birthday?

  • 3
    This question seems to be primarily opinion-based. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:25
  • I think this question needs more information. Is it a birthday party or some other birthday event that they are inviting you to? Do you usually invite them to help you celebrate your birthday?
    – airfishey
    Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:28
  • it's a birthday party (pretty common in the netherlands) and I always invite them to the party @airfishey Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:30
  • @AnneDaunted even if it is opinion-based, I want other people's opinion, then it's easier for me to decide if I should go Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:36
  • 3
    But that's off-topic on IPS.SE. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:37

2 Answers 2


Social tip: You never have to do anything

It is quite common that people see invitations as demands rather than just...inviting them. Its also pretty common for them to be seen as a quid pro quo "You come to mine, I come to yours" sort of deal.

Your aunt and uncle don't see things that way (else they would be coming to your parties) and, as such, you needn't feel obliged to go to theirs. Their invitation is just that, an invitation, not a demand or obligation.

So, do you want to go?

  • I both want to, and don't want to. Also I don't see it as a demand, but when they don't go to your birthday for a long time, and making excuses for not going (Oh I already planned something (same as the 3 years before that)). I kinda lose respect for them (mainly because of the excuses), but they are still family Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 17:48
  • 4
    @Termatinator Try not to consider the two as linked, there are all sorts of reasons they might not come to yours that could have nothing to do with the fact it is your party. Could be. We don't know. Its best not to speculate and, if you would enjoy the party, just go - whether they come to yours or not doesn't have to be a factor in you enjoying yourself at their party. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 18:06

In addition to writing the excellent earlier answer, @Lio Elbammalf made this very pertinent comment to OP:

Try not to consider the two as linked, there are all sorts of reasons they might not come to yours that could have nothing to do with the fact it is your party.

That is exactly correct. I am not very sociable myself and in my hometown in India our family is usually invited not for routine birthday parties but only to relatively formal events like weddings; moving into a new house; 1st birthday of a relative's child; or ritual 'celebration' of an old person's life either at their 60th, 70th or 80th birthday or a specified number of days after their death.

I may or may not attend and usually keep away because I am very introverted and get quickly exhausted by social interactions -- but what is never a reason for going or not going is the consideration whether they accepted our previous invitation.

Feel under no personal or social obligation either to attend the party or to keep away. Go if you want to and you think you will enjoy the event. you need not go if you don't want to!

Once you are invited you can legitimately attend any function even if they didn't attend yours. Equally you must be relaxed and not care if somebody misunderstands your not going.

You can learn not to feel social guilt for failing to attend someone's party, nor take social revenge by deliberately keeping away in such situations. It is also easy to follow typical etiquette for not attending such an event. In our region it is customary to contact the person over the phone beforehand, explain why we won't be coming (even if it's clearly a made-up reason), and wish them well.

However, your attending their birthday party may help strengthen family bonds with those relatives and remind them how they have neglected your parties, and hopefully they will attend next time!

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