“Do you want to pitch in for her present?”
Just one simple question. It only requires a yes or no answer. And yet it’s so much more loaded. At least, for me it is.
One of my friends’ birthday is coming up and our friend group has always had this thing where we would all pitch in to buy someone a present. That way it wouldn’t cost us – poor students – too much and we were still able to give our friends something. It seems like such a wonderful idea and, don’t get me wrong, at its core it is – until someone gets left out.
A few months ago, back in February, someone else asked me the same question for a different friend’s birthday. And because I care about this person, of course I said yes. I don’t necessarily mind having said yes, but there is something that’s bothering me: I keep getting the question, but I’m not receiving any presents myself.
I know I’m at a risk of sounding very selfish here, and I also realise that buying people birthday presents is in no way “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”. It would, however, be nice to feel a little bit more appreciated. My birthday has come and gone and all I received from my friends were happy birthday wishes through social media. Which is obviously nice in itself, but not if you know that apparently everyone else is worthy of presents – except you.
And it’s not about the money. Not at all. It’s about the implication of not receiving any birthday presents from my friends – “we don’t care enough about you”. It’s also definitely not about material things. My friends could literally give me a single pen and I’d already feel a lot different about this whole situation. I’m not asking anyone to go all out or to spend tons of money – all I’m asking is a bit of consideration.
What makes it worse is that they seem to be rubbing it in by always asking me the question for other people’s birthdays, but not doing anything for mine. Almost like “hey, everyone else is important enough to do this for – just not you”.
I might be attaching too much importance to something as trivial as birthday presents, but I can’t ignore the fact that I feel hurt because of this. No one thought to ask around our friend group whether anyone would want to pitch in for a present for my birthday. Or worse yet – someone asked around, but no one was interested enough and so they dropped it. I don’t know what the reason is, and I probably never will. But just the implication that none of my friends care enough to want to pitch in for a present is painful enough.
Have you ever felt left out? What did you do to address it? Let me know in the comments down below, as I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.