I Broke Up With My Friend Because She Forgot to Wish Me Happy Birthday.
This week, I stumbled on a post on Instagram about a man who broke up with his girlfriend for an odd reason — she didn't wish him a happy birthday online.
I chuckled when I saw the post because of the recent happenings in my life.
Ít was my birthday in July, and a dear friend somehow forgot to wish me a happy birthday.
She was online.
She viewed my status.
She also found the time to wish two other friends happy birthdays on Instagram and Facebook. For several days, she remained active online. It was disturbing, and after some time, I restricted her on Instagram and ticked the red button on WhatsApp, so she couldn’t view my status. After some time, she did the same for me and left the group we both belonged to.
How We Do Birthdays in 2021
The group is a group I created as a community for young mothers in Lagos. She doesn’t live in Lagos anymore. So, I guess it’s fine to exit the group, even though at least a third of the women in the group are in the diaspora. It still made sense to exit if it no longer served her. So I didn’t ask why she left. And no one noticed the number was her own. You see, everyone there thinks she is my absolute bestie. Thank God.
In September, she called. I was driving when the call came through that day, and I couldn’t talk. I sent a message on WhatsApp and thought little about it. When we spoke, she said she believed I was avoiding her call.
A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone with another friend and sought her perspective on my reaction to not receiving a birthday message from one of my best friends. She told me it best to confront my friend about my feelings. I promised to give it some thought, but I didn’t. I felt weird, like it was base to call and say “Hey, why didn’t you wish me a happy birthday?”
I also felt that I had no right to demand it from her, even though I was undeniably hurt. It feels like I had no case. So I let it go, putting it off until much later. To some, it may seem trifling that a woman in her 30s would be bothered by a birthday message.
She called me again a few days ago. “You fashi me abi”. That is the Nigerian way of saying I miss you or I’m upset with you for not reaching out. I responded by saying she fashi’d me first.
There was some silence, then I said to her “ you hurt me by not saying happy birthday, why”.
“Oh, Chineze, I forgot.” She said
“But you said you were posting other people's pictures on that day”. I quipped. Every word I said made me feel like I was laying myself bare. Naked. And I didn't like the feeling.
“I honestly don't remember what I did on that day. I 've been so stressed lately.”
My husband was in the room with me, and I could tell by the way he rolled his eyes that he felt it was perhaps silly to be upset about birthday wishes.
I find it hard to believe she forgot my birthday. Our birthdays are mere days apart, and she viewed my status on WhatsApp and stories on Instagram all day!
We did some catching up, and before the call ended, she said, “I know this wouldn’t happen again, but next time, please let me know I hurt you by forgetting your birthday.”
Analysing My Feelings
Did she hurt me?
I don’t think there is a way I would explain my feelings without feeling like I was petty for wanting a social media shout out from a friend. I remember celebrating her birthday loudly this year, and for her to be online and somehow forget to say the words “happy birthday, Chineze” stung. Maybe it’s been a crazy day and all the quotes online finally got to me. I am now over-analyzing friendships.
Why did this one silence mean so much? Why was I ready to throw away almost 20 years of friendship because of something that could well have been unintentional?
I think it just shows how social media has permeated our lives. We used to live quite close to each other, and it was easy to see each other often. But now she lives a 29-hour flight away from me. I don’t even know if I’ll see her again, even if we live to be 200 years old. The only bridge between distances is a video call.
The ways we connect now have changed. I needed that shout out, odd as it may seem.
And even though we spoke about it, I don’t think we addressed why I felt betrayed. Why did I feel she did it on purpose, she didn’t forget? Why does it even matter?
She insisted several times on that call that she had forgotten, but because I know her too well, I know there was no way she would have forgotten for days and days.
She didn’t forget. Perhaps she felt it didn’t matter, that I wouldn’t notice, that I should know she had great love for me.
I still have an inner dialogue about why I cut off from her, why I didn’t address the issue immediately.
But not every issue needs to be addressed. You don’t expect a woman in her 30s, who should have more important things to worry about, to be whining about a birthday message.
When the call ended, I kept thinking about it, and wondering if something has broken between us irreparably. Perhaps I am crazy? And it doesn't even matter?
Maybe I shouldn’t have told her the reason for my silence, because it somehow made me feel worse, not better, that I talked about the issue at all.
I don't hold a grudge, and I don't talk about things. I move on.
Yesterday, I viewed her brother’s Instagram post about bitterness and forgiveness, and I wondered if he was referring to me.
Again, not everything needs addressing.
This concludes my rant.