Too Tired to Party: What to Do When You're the Guest of Honor

Dear Ms. Demeanor

My boyfriend planned a surprise party for my birthday. I had a really busy week, working hard, and I was really exhausted. When he tried to persuade me to go out and celebrate, I said no. He blew up and told me about the party. Then he called me self-centered and ungrateful. What should I do?

-- iVillager Adrienne

Question:

Dear Adrienne:

Whenever I expect others to react to something the way I want them to, I get into trouble. Sounds like the same thing is true for you. Bringing off a surprise party takes a lot of work. The details seem endless, even without the pressure of a surprise. So when your boyfriend exploded, he was probably frustrated -- especially if in the past you've been sending him messages about not being attentive enough or spontaneous enough.

Meanwhile, you were wiped out from a difficult week, so both of you feel cheated out of the result you wanted. The only solution to this dilemma is to communicate clearly. I'd suggest you apologize for raining on his parade. That can sound like: "Now that I've had a good night's sleep, I realize all the trouble you went through to please me. You really were great to organize a party. Yet as tired as I was, all I wanted was to have you all to myself. I apologize for hurting your feelings and for seeming ungrateful. My explosion was thoughtless, and I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for me. I hope that we'll be able to laugh about this some day."

Ms. Demeanor

Answer:
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