I have a love/hate relationship with surprises. I love to hate them.

Yes, yes. I know that surprises are part and parcel to the mystery writing/reading world. I mean, what’s a mystery without, well, some mystery? Even if it’s not a whodunnit, it should at least be a whydunnit or howdunnit. But, overall, I’m just not a fan of the unexpected.

If I’m going to be fair, there are good and bad surprises.


Winning the lottery

Finding a $20 in your jacket pocket

Remembering where you put your glasses

Falling in love

Actually liking a book/movie/TV show/whatnot that you were sure you wouldn’t

Surprising yourself with an unexpected victory

Realizing that you can do hard things


Pop quizzes

Being audited (just guessing)

Sleeping through your alarm

Running into your ex at your absolute worst (which is invariably when it happens)

Having security riffle through your bag to reveal your athlete’s foot cream and dependence on Twinkies

Sneaky spiders

Surprise parties

I know that last one can be as controversial as religion, politics, or whether we’re supposed to tuck our jeans into our boots. But I’m going to come right out and say that I don’t like them.

As kind and lovely as the intention, having been the victim–er–blessed recipient of surprise parties, I always feel a little put on the spot. I hate being the center of attention, and having people jump out can feel a little overwhelming. Plus, I feel incredibly guilty about all the time/effort/energy that went into the planning and execution. I’d much prefer a quiet evening with a small group. With or without the Twinkies.

Bottom line, my favorite surprises are those that happen in books. I like my plot twists on the page rather than in real life.

Dear friends, how do you feel about surprise parties? Do you have a story of a great (or not-so-great surprise?)

33 thoughts on “Surprise!

  1. Thanks for sharing, Kathy! Okay, I actually like suprises (er, good surprises–presents, generally).

    I’ve never been able to guess when I’ve been given a surprise party. It’s only happened twice in my life, both at restaurants…and I kept wondering why all my friends (and my boss at one of them) were gathered together and hiding behind menus. That being said, I actually prefer smaller celebrations over huge ones.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Chicks: I think the gauntlet has been thrown down for us to pull off a surprise party for Kathy! We are mystery mavens, after all!


    1. Thank goodness I am over 70 and do not ever have to go to Jury duty again. I have been summoned many times and almost always get picked. I have served on at least 5 + trials in Texas and ATL.

      Liked by 2 people

          1. This went in the wrong place for some reason. It was an answer on the surprise parties to your reply.

            Liked by 1 person

        1. One of the times that I was called in Brownsville, Texas was for a full week. I got picked on one jury and when that trial was over, we had to go back down to the jury pool, and I got chosen again on another trial. Luckily, this jury decided by that Friday to convict, or I would have had to stay through the next week until the trial ended. I was chosen in Harlingen, Texas, then when I lived in Grand Prairie, Texas and here in Atlanta, I was summoned about 5 times (but when I called in, I was told I did not have to show for 4 of those times) but did have to serve for a full week on one trial. And that was an hour drive to the courthouse or ride MARTA and walk several blocks to downtown. Great judge and court reporter here who were later murdered by an escaped convict going to trial in their courtroom. Maybe, I was cursed at birth. My father had jury duty and was fidgeting, and they asked why, and he said his daughter was about to be born, so they said,” What are you doing here? GO.” By the by, I’m reading Death by Bubble Tea and really like it.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a big fan of surprise parties. My wife planned one for my 40th birthday and on the day, I was in a lousy mood. Not a good combination for a surprise party. It all worked out, though. I think the alcohol at the party helped.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I only ever had one surprise party thrown for me (back in high school), and then some doofus told me about it in advance, so I had to spend the whole party pretending I’d been surprised, so as to not make my best friend who’d planned it all feel bad. But it was a super fun party! And yes, J.C., the alcohol did help. (We were “bad” high school students.)

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I am very, very easy to surprise. Trust me on that. If anyone (hint hint) would like to throw me a party, to celebrate really anything, I would be 100% delighted and grateful. And surprised.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My parents always gave me great birthday parties. My father managed movie theaters, so he would give me fantastic Saturday morning birthday parties. He would get a movie suitable for kids that would not be released for two months or more and so I got to invite everyone. They all loved to come and say they had seen that movie. One was “Pinocchio” and another was “G.I. Blues.” Fun. So, I have not had surprise parties given to me but have a neighbor and friend who never had a birthday party as she was born Dec. 26 and her mother never gave her one. So, I have invited her to lunch on two different years a year apart and invited other neighbors to meet us there and surprise her. The first time, the table had balloons that one friend brought, and she did not realize it until we got to the table. This year, we went into the restaurant, and she turned to me and said, “Look Sandy and Mary are eating lunch her also,” not realizing then it was for her. But she got gifts and loved both of them and I paid for all of the lunches, so that made everyone happy and surprised. Another bad surprise is opening your 403 B statement lately and see how much you have lost in retirement.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. They were and thank you. I still have friends from home that say those parties were the best and they remember them fondly.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I have helped plan a number of surprise parties, which is fun but also unnerving. I always feel a bit shady sneaking around and worried I’m going to give the surprise away. I only remember one surprise party for me. My sweet 16! A bunch of friends from church were invited (boys and girls). Everyone left and in a few minutes all the girls knocked on the back door, holding their sleeping bags! My mom totally pulled off a surprise slumber party!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love them when they’re not for me. The best surprise party though was one thrown for my sister by her choir. Her best friend took her to see Phantom of the Opera and then brought her to the restaurant where my sister thought it was only going to be her and her friend. They came up the stairs and when my sister saw the entire balcony filled with us, she literally fell to the floor with laughter.

    Liked by 1 person

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