Childless, and don’t like children’s parties? Don’t go

Carolyn Hax says if you don’t want to go to your friend’s kid’s birthday party, don’t go, but own it.

Dear Carolyn

DEAR CAROLYN: Our two friends whom we have been relatively close with for years have two small children. We have attended their baby showers, brought food over after baby was born and have gone to their children’s birthday parties once. We continue to get invited to their kids’ parties, but I have to be honest, I HATE going.

I don’t really like going to any child’s birthday party. However, these are kind of the worst. They invite so many people, and most people who attend are in a friend-group that we are not part of. We end up talking to no one, except our friends briefly.

I find it odd in general how often we as adults are invited to children’s birthday parties. I don’t recall ever having nonfamily adults at my parties growing up, and if we had kids I guess maybe it would make more sense to me. I like children related to me, but I’m not really a “kid” person. My husband thinks we should still go because they are our friends, but, is it OK to continue to decline the invites until they stop? Am I a jerk friend?

— K.

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DEAR K.: You are not a jerk friend if you say no to a party you don’t want to attend.

You are at risk of … taking on jerk-friend qualities, let’s say, if you concoct a bunch of ways to shift blame onto the hosts for somehow making you not want to attend their party.

Own your decision. You don’t enjoy these. “We send our regrets, but thanks for the invitation. Wish the peanut a happy birthday from us.”

Maybe I’m just getting old and uncrabby, but I’m feeling more sympathy for party-throwers these days, not less. We humans need to gather. Institutions don’t pull us in as they used to.

DEAR CAROLYN: I am wondering if you have any tips for how to wind up a conversation. I struggle, and tend to…

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