Fail to Fab: The Happy Birthday Date

By: Jess Downey, Copy Cutie

credit: Will Clayton (Flickr)Fail: Last year around my birthday I had started dating a new guy. It wasn’t official or too serious yet, but we’d already gone on a few dates before my big day. Since things were going pretty well (and we were obviously into each other), I invited him to my get together. His said he’d love to go if he didn’t have any plans that night, but he'd have to get back to me. Well, my party came and went and I never heard from him, and our affair ended soon after. But even though the relationship’s demise was from factors totally unrelated to the birthday scenario, his reaction to my invitation definitely made me question things.

Fab: It’s normal to want to invite your new someone to join your birthday festivities. And if you’ve been dating for a fair amount of time it’s perfectly acceptable to do so. Just keep in mind that your new boo could have other plans that night (since it’s unlikely he or she knows your DOB) or might feel a little uncomfortable meeting all of your BFFs early on (which is totally understandable).

If you’re the birthday gal or guy, invite your new honey in a casual way. It’s generally best if the topic comes up naturally in conversation. That way you can assure them that while you’d like for him or her to come, there’s no pressure. And if this person declines your invite, don’t take it personally or let it ruin the potential for something more.

On the flip side, if you’re the invitee, be mindful of the birthday guy or gal’s feelings. Don’t make up excuses or be harsh if you can’t make it. Just let them know gently and offer up an alternative celebration.

Either way, when things aren’t ultra-serious, it’s best steer clear of the mushy romantic stuff, so woo your date with lighthearted thoughtfulness. Offer to take your date to a restaurant you’ve heard him or her rave about, or cook favorite dishes at your place and pair ‘em with his or her booze of choice. As for gifts, the same rules apply. If she has a hobby, like writing, buy her a fancy notebook. If he’s music obsessed, make him a few fun playlists on Spotify. No need to go overboard! But no matter what you choose, make sure your gesture says you’re in like, rather than professing your undying love.

Remember: New relationships are tricky enough without throwing a birthday into the mix. Don’t ruin the potential by doing too much — or nothing at all.