expectation and reality, what is good?

We made a surprise birthday party to one of our friends.
He didn’t usually organize his birthday, so we did it for him this year.

Turns out it wasn’t a good choice because he wanted something different.
In fact we probably turned down all of his enthusiasm for this time.

What could have we done better?
We have probably (and I’m guessing) failed to realized that this birthday was very important for him, he wanted to do something bigger for him.
We thought we could do the best, but we didn’t.

I still wonder if in these cases it all went wrong because we were selfish, because shit happens, or because sometimes people don’t “get it”.
I still don’t have a clear answer on this

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