Revisiting The Birthday Habit

I have been delinquent about posting regularly on my blog.  For shame…It’s not because I’m not writing, it’s because I am working on a piece I hope to be published for realz (aka externally).  Regardless, that’s a poor excuse to leave the blog dormant for a month.

My birthday is coming up so I think it’s a good time to revisit one of my favorite posts on wishing people happy birthday.  Over the past year, I’ve made an even more concerted effort to wish my friends well on their big day.  I try to be the first person to wish them a happy birthday and I’m willing to cheat in order to accomplish that.  (I send the a note a day early.)

It’s always been well received.  Just this past week I wished my friend Jamie a happy (early) birthday, and since we are birthday month buddies we decided to have a birthday breakfast together.

Anyway here’s my original post from last year:


One of the first things I do every morning is go onto Facebook to see who is celebrating a birthday. I loathe starting my day off with voyeuristic social media since it can be such a time suck.  It takes away from my priorities, but it’s important to me to wish friends happy birthday.

Happy-Birthday-Clip-Art-Snoopy-7You might think these birthday wishes are empty gestures, but I disagree. My birthday is coming up this week and it means a lot to me that so many people send well wishes on Facebook (hint, hint).

I like to keep my birthday celebration low key. Dinner with friends or family is the most involved I want it to be, definitely no parties. The last time I had a big to-do was the Big 3-0. I had to leave my own party early, not because I got too drunk, but because I got laryngitis and couldn’t talk for the next 4 days. How embarrassing…

While I don’t like being the center of attention at a party, I do appreciate having friends, old and new, acknowledging me on my birthday. Because of that, I try to pay that recognition forward whenever possible. Facebook makes it convenient and practically costless to do so. (I mean seriously, it takes 5 seconds. Why wouldn’t you wish a Facebook friend Happy birthday?!)

Facebook makes it so costless that some might consider the well wishes to be meaningless. You no longer need to remember your friends’ birthday because Facebook will just tell you.  I didn’t fully appreciate this until a couple of years ago.

I gave my friend Joe a call on his birthday. Joe and I hadn’t spoken in months. We’ve known each other since college and used to talk on a weekly basis. His birthday seemed like as good a time as any to catch up.

Joe mentioned that I was only friend to actually call him on his birthday. Everyone else just wished him well on Facebook. It meant a lot to him that I made the effort to call him.

This bittersweet experience made me realize I should go beyond the Facebook threshold whenever possible.

That means I now send a text to friends on their birthday, or if appropriate actually give them a call.  (As an aside, it seems more and more rare that I have phone-friends these days. Many are just text-friends. Isn’t it sad that talking on the phone seems creepy now?)

Happy birthday to Everyone!!!!
The Facebook Happy Birthday Slut. Happy birthday to Everyone!!!!

It’s even better if I can text/call the friend the day before her birthday. I think that definitely proves that I’m not just a Facebook Happy Birthday Slut who gives it up for everyone.  (Even though I do that too.)

My point is that it doesn’t take much to be a good friend. A little bit of recognition goes a long way. It only takes a small amount of thoughtfulness. Birthdays are a great reminder to do so.

When you think about it, these gestures shouldn’t be reserved for birthdays. It’s really easy to lose contact with a friend. You’re busy and forget to check in. When you finally realize that you should reach out, you don’t have a good excuse to do so.

But here is the thing; you don’t need a good excuse. She’s your friend and will be happy to hear from you regardless. Any reason will do. If you really need one use this corny meme:

unbirthday-card

It’s good for the other 364 days of the year.

So take the time.  Mark it in your calendar if you need a reminder.  Otherwise, there’s no shame in being a Facebook Happy Birthday Slut.

Thanks for reading.

Don

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