Birthday parties

Birthday parties

Listen to a conversation about birthday parties between three friends to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Marco: The big four-oh, Charles!

Dora: Oh!! It's your 40th!

Marco: Are you planning a party?

Charles: Nah, I never celebrate birthdays. I don't see why this one should be any different.

Dora: Why not?

Charles: First, you know me, I can't be bothered with the hassle. It's my birthday but I'm supposed to do all the hard work – contacting people, finding a venue, organising food, worrying who will show up. No, thanks.

Marco: Ah, someone's angling for a surprise party, eh, Dora? 

Charles: Marco, stop! Even worse. Having to pretend to be delighted 50 people just sprang up in your living room when you thought you were coming home to put your feet up. Probably having a heart attack at the shock.

Dora: Note to self: never to organise you a surprise party. OK then!

Marco: You've got to do something, though, Charles. It's your 40th.

Charles: Why? What's so great about getting old?

Dora: Er … still being here to have your birthday?

Marco: Yeah, 'Ageing is better than the alternative', as they say.

Dora: Yeah, and it's true – so why not celebrate?

Charles: You guys can have parties for your 40ths if you like. I just don't go in for that kind of self-indulgent attention-seeking.

Dora: Wow, that's a bit harsh! I had a huge bash for my 30th. And you came. And enjoyed yourself if I recall. Are you trying to say I was just doing it for attention?

Charles: Not exactly … but … well … at least a small part of you must have been.

Dora: Remind me not to invite you to my 40th then, so you won't have to put up with my huge ego while I feed you and provide free drinks all night because I thought we were friends. 

Charles: I meant, er, I mean, not all attention-seeking is bad. It's just not my style is all.

Dora: Whereas it is mine?

Marco: Anyway ...

Charles: I didn't say that!

Dora: Er, yes, yes, you did. You said celebrating birthdays is self-indulgent and ...

Marco: Guys, guys! Who knew birthdays was such a touchy subject? Speaking of which, I have to sort out my nine-year-old’s party the weekend after next.

Charles: Now, that's a party I'd love to organise.

Marco: Really? It's a nightmare. It's not like when we were kids. Now you have to take them all rock-climbing or hire a make-up artist to come and teach them how to look like a zombie or a film star. And there'd be trouble if someone else in school had the same kind of party and your kid gets accused of copying. That fear you said about no one turning up? It's a million times worse when you're scared your kid is going to have no one turn up.

Charles: Is there that much pressure?

Marco: Yeah, it's crazy. Last year, I got it right with a cinema trip. Simple, but always a winner. But we can't do the same thing again apparently. It says it in my 'Official Laws for 9-Year-Olds' book.

Charles: That's a pity. I've got so many fond memories of birthday parties as a kid. Party food and games and watching cartoons until your parents arrived.

Marco: Trust me, your parents were stressing out!

Dora: At the risk of restarting the argument, when do you think you stopped enjoying birthdays then?

Charles: I dunno really … somewhere around moving away from home and getting a job and being a grown-up. I don't mean birthdays are immature. I mean, it takes a while to make new friends and so birthdays just become more low-key and it's drinks with a couple of friends or dinner or something. And I just got out of the habit, I guess. Maybe I just need to have a kids-style party like we used to have! Play musical chairs and eat pineapple and cheese on sticks and all that.

Dora: Very retro. I bet people would love that.

Marco: Yeah, they would. Well, I would anyway. And maybe it'll catch on with my kids and it'll start a new party trend.

Charles: You've got me thinking … it's not a terrible idea. Maybe I will have a party this year!


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Submitted by Imamczadvancee… on Thu, 25/01/2024 - 02:27


i was never celebrate my birthday since when i was child, Why? Because at that moment the condition is bad and yeah i have to understand it.

Submitted by edgar Leyva on Thu, 18/01/2024 - 20:20


I celebrate my birthday because is important to celebrate another year of life.

Submitted by Susanchen on Thu, 16/11/2023 - 13:11


Recently, my attitude towards celebrating birthdays has changed. In the past, I didn't like birthdays because I didn't consider it a special day. I even thought it would be a hassle to make all those preparations. However, in recent years, celebrating birthdays has become a big deal for me, when I can really enjoy myself from my anxious daily life. For example, I would make a list one week before my birthday of places I want to go, food I want to taste, and gifts I want to receive. More importantly, I would have a satisfying dinner with my parents or have a small gathering with relatives. In short, I like to celebrate birthdays as a way to make myself happy.

Profile picture for user Ramiro Solana

Submitted by Ramiro Solana on Tue, 03/10/2023 - 23:16


I am 53 years old and I have always loved celebrating my birthdays. I like to enjoy and share those happy moments with my friends and family because I believe that life is made of those types of moments. Therefore, whenever I could I tried to surprise my guests, for example, with new and unusual (for us) activities such as karaoke or an exhibition of my paintings at home, or by serving strange food such as Peruvian, Arabic or Mexican. Okay, they weren't that new and different but I assure you that they like them a lot!
Believe it or not, despite everything said, I couldn't celebrate my 50th birthday because at that time I had just started a new job and couldn't find enough time to make arrangements. I had promised myself I would have a big party for my 51st, but it turned out to be the year of the pandemic! Other reasons made it impossible to do so for the next few years… I hope it's not because I'm getting old and bitter! Not at all, it just happens that sometimes things get complicated. But I'm not giving up and finally one day I will have my big party!

Submitted by Anamyszka on Mon, 18/09/2023 - 08:07


At this point I'm obligated to celebrate my birthday. I recently had a party I didn't want to have, but my mother said I'll get over it and have a party. She organized everything, ordered all the things I didn't want and invited all the family members. Then yelled at me fo ruining 'her party' because I didn't want to sleep over at their house. The best thing about the party was that I got new socks. The older I get the more I want to dissapear for my birthday, buy flight tickets somewhere and just leave.

Submitted by Roisingg on Wed, 09/08/2023 - 11:35


Even after I grew up I still celebrated my birthday but not with my family anymore just with my friends and in a small gathering, I feel this is better and much more fun.

Submitted by Shinatoben_shonen on Thu, 27/10/2022 - 16:07


When I turned 16, I stopped doing birthday parties because I felt that it became very repetitive and a thing for little kids. I just stoped celebrating my birthdays, but I still go every summer to my parents´ house to celebrate my birthday, normally just for seeing them and my brothers, because three years ago I moved to another city.

Submitted by Ehsan on Fri, 07/10/2022 - 20:33


no, unfortunately I live in a social where we don't birthday when we are old.

Submitted by Brian O'Donnell on Tue, 23/08/2022 - 14:18


I didn't use to celebrate birthdays when I was a kid because my childhood was bleak and gloomy. I have celebrated my birthdays since 22. I eat taste food and get pleasant gifts.

Submitted by alexiamontes2004 on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 01:54


Do you celebrate your birthday?
If I celebrate it, it is one of my favorite dates. I really like to organize my birthday parties.