Friday, 10 April 2015

Dear Reader,

How do you feel about birthdays?

I'll confess I have something of a dilemma, as an introvert.  Whilst I recognise that the sentiment behind the idea of a birthday celebration may be altruistic, being the centre of attention, particularly when it is unwarranted or undeserved (what have I achieved that you feel the need to celebrate my existence so enthusiastically?) is something I utterly abhor.  (In case you're wondering, my wedding day was one of the worst days of my life on that front).  But how to explain this to others without sounding sour, or vain, or simply disgruntled?

Perhaps the most jarring part for me is the strange and wonderful tradition of being sung at in public. I recently confronted this issue when I was asked if the school could sing 'Happy Birthday' to me in assembly.  My reply was "by all means, if you wish, but I don't really like it...but if it makes you happy.." Evidently this was seen as nothing more than modest behaviour; I simply needed persuasion that it was, in fact, in my best interest to have a roomful of people open their throats to me in such fine style. I found it most alarming -  I always do.  It is not that I need to be warmed up to the idea, or, like some coy young lady, feel the need to refuse before I capitulate (and we all know what happens in a society where that is the norm).  It is that I don't enjoy it nor find it necessary.

This puts me at something of a disadvantage in company when such an occasion occurs.  If the person being sung at really does enjoy and welcome it, I'm happy to join in - but there is very little way to tell.  If they are squirming uncomfortably, it's possible to refrain, but having been an introvert all my life I know how easy it is to pretend you are appreciating something for the appearance of conforming, when inside you are wishing it was over.  I want to send out the message that it's ok to not have the dratted thing bellowed in one's face, and it's a question that perhaps should be asked, with no offence taken if the answer is negative.  Fellow introverts, do get in touch if you have something to say on the matter.

If, however,  you have accidentally stumbled onto this page when researching the fascinating Birthday Problem, please click here for a thorough analysis.

No comments:

Post a Comment