First World Problems: A Recipe for Revenge


Feb 4, 2016


Article Icon - First World ProblemsFirst World Problems is a weekly advice column for India’s first world population. Write to Judy (confidentially!) at contact@theswaddle.com if you’ve broken a nail, felt a little blue, yellow or green lately,
or had a strange encounter of the any-numbered kind.


PROBLEM: My husband didn’t plan anything for my 40th birthday. He seemed very sneaky leading up to it, purposefully doing things to make me think there was a surprise on the way, and the surprise was … there was no surprise. Not even a cake. His 40th is in another month — how do I get even?

Wait … what? I don’t care much for surprises, but this is just mean. Why would he deliberately lead you into thinking there’s a surprise — and then ignore you on your birthday? And all you want to do is get even on his 40th? What am I missing here? Is this some sort of twisted couple thing where you play really cruel pranks to turn each other on (#40ShadesOfLame)? No? Hmmm.

I’m terrible at conspiracy theories but … maybe he doesn’t want anyone to fuss over his 40th and he decided the best way to ensure that would be to ignore yours? It’s clearly working ’cause you’re upset enough to write to an advice column. In which case, you should totally go all out: Call everyone he knows – friends, co-workers, uncles, aunties, high school sweetheart, you get the drift — BUT, instead of yelling ‘surprise’ when he walks in, you say, “Baby, this is an intervention.” And then proceed to tell him how these twisted sex games (list a few random ones, a la E. L. James) have got to stop, while your family and friends nod smug-supportively. Keep cooking in medium heat until his face turns a golden-brown (or, err, pinkish-white). When sufficiently burnt, burst out laughing and allow him to cool before everyone yells ‘surprise.’ Best enjoyed with family and friends who are already in on the joke.

PROBLEM: There is a couple who really wants to be besties with my husband and me. They invite us to hang out almost every week. We probably accept every two or three times out of courtesy, but never offer an invitation in return — because we actually can’t stand them. We don’t want to be rude, but they’re not taking the hint. How to we get across that we don’t really want to be friends?

I don’t understand you. How do you even let something like this get this far? I mean, you’re two people. Was neither of you thinking when you gave them your real number? Or said yes to the first, second and “every two or three times” date? You are like that woman in Grey’s Anatomy who lets her very visible tumour grow for months until it gets so large it becomes this grotesque extra hip, of sorts, because she’s afraid of hospitals. And I don’t mean to terrify you or anything but that woman died in surgery. Because it was too. damn. late.

But maybe it’s not too late for you. You haven’t holidayed with them, have you? (’Cause then you might be in trouble.) But either way, the tumour has got to go. Stop being polite; politeness is not the same thing as kindness.  Learn to set boundaries and stick by them. Be firm. If you’re clear you don’t want to be friends, and they don’t seem to be getting your hints, just tell them or opt for rudeness. They’ll survive. It’s the kinder thing to do.


Written By Judy Balan

Judy Balan is a bestselling author and blogger popular for her quirky, often self-deprecatory humour. She is a self-proclaimed expert at American pop-culture with a sitcom/romcom quote for all of life’s situations. Judy believes that if she’s made you laugh, smile or even snort in the middle of a stressful day, her job here is done. Follow her at her website judybalan.com, on Twitter @judybalan, or on Facebook.


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