Today is my birthday!
I didn’t really know how to mark the occasion this year—it’s been a really tough year personally, professionally, adverbially. A lot of things going on and a lot of doubt on my mind, but since starting to revamp this blog with a whole lot more attitude, personality and who-gives-a-fucks, I thought I should mark the day somehow.
Then the Facebook messages started flooding in. The happy birthdays and HBD!s, the random photos and messages from people who haven’t spoken to me once in the past 365 days. It’s all a bit bizarre. It’s nice. Like, really, really nice. But it’s also bizarre.
Anyone who has traveled over their birthday, or lived abroad, is going to be familiar with this Facebook birthday experience. They start flooding in the day before your birthday, usually a few hours before midnight and it goes through at least your entire day. We’re in a more globalized world and friends are scattered everywhere. And tbh it’s that Facebook alert that triggers the vast majority of us to wish one another HAPPY BIRTHDAY. Facebook memes love to poke fun at this idea—that none of us really remember birthdays anymore, only alerting us of even our closest friends’ birthdays thanks to the friendly Facebook reminder.
But, like so much of Facebook (thanks to the gazillions of users), there are a whole lotta ways to effectively wish your friends (or strangers) a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY. There are good ways and bad ways, and stupid ways and self-serving ways. It’s all very confusing, so I’ve laid it all out for you here.
The 10 Types of Facebook Birthday Greetings 🎂
Quick and Easy!
No question—the most popular way to wish a friend (or stranger) on Facebook a happy birthday, is the very simple and straightforward Facebook wall post: Happy birthday! There are a lot of variations on this one, with assorted versions of capital or lowercase letters. But it absolutely must include at least one exclamation mark; the more, the merrier!!!**
And for those wanting to prove that they’re slightly less mechanic with their well-wishes, there’s even the possibility to add in a name—again, capitalization not required, but if you’re smart, you’ll know how to use a comma. Here’s what this Facebook greeting looks like:
- happy birthday!
- Happy birthday!
- Happy Birthday!
- happy birthday adam!
- Happy birthday Adam!
- Happy Birthday, Adam!!!
**Note: if there is no exclamation mark, this person is probably soulless and wishes you dead.
Nothing stops the countless people (and strangers) who might sing happy birthday to you on your special day. Not the fact that it’s a mindless, dull melody. Not the fact that it’s sort of still copyrighted. And not even the fact that the only place some people might be able to sing it to you is in a typed out verison through a Facebook wall post. The sing-song Facebook birthday greeting might look like any of these:
- haaaaaapppy birthday!
- happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear aaaaaaaaaadaaaaammm, happy birthday to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The favorite of the lazy (hi!), these Facebook birthday greetings are the quickest and easiest—and typically reserved for those friends that you’d rather keep at an arm’s length away. This type of greeting is also best for people you don’t really know that well, but you’d still like to show a little of yourself on their special day. It’s also the mark of someone who is trying to stand out and appear different or alternative, but really: we’re living in the time of Facebook and there’s nothing really alternative or different about sending a Facebook birthday greeting. It might look something like this (in order of their edginess):
- happy bday!
Thank you internet! The emoji keyboard is without question the best keyboard. New MacBookPros come equipped with full emoji keyboard support, and even Oxford Dictionary named the 😂 crying face emoji the word of the year for 2015! 😂
Because the vast majority of us are using Facebook on our phones (on the toilet, in the elevator, in the car, at work, during a movie), we’re much more prone to use emojis in our Facebook posts—and to my delight, in our Facebook birthday greetings.
From my own extensive research, it’s the party popper emoji used most often, but birthday cakes, balloons and various smiley faces appear, too. 🎉🎂 These are used most often in conjunction with the quick and easy Facebook birthday greetings, the abbreviated ones, or the drawn out sing-song ones.
The bane of Facebook! I don’t know when this dates to, but at some point some online marketer said, “Wouldn’t it be a cool way to get some quick and pointless web traffic and social links by creating a page on our website and then posting a link on every single person’s wall whenever it’s their birthday?” These people are the worst of the worst. It’s flat-out spam and I wouldn’t even dignify the greeting with a lackadaisical like. Essentially, they’re just sharing a link to their business website that essentially says exactly what they would say in a greeting. It’s heartless and stupid.
Anyone who travels will recognize this Facebook birthday greeting immediately! These are cute because it’s a way to make either the greeter or the greetee appear worldly, cultured and well-traveled. It can work two ways: either the greeter wishes a happy birthday from X! or, if you’re a serious traveler, they might wish you an “happy birthday wherever in the world you are!
It’s funny, because these greetings are set up to inspire envy, but they so rarely do—I find them warm, friendly and casual. Though it is a bit silly and kind of uninspiring to say “have a happy birthday wherever you are” as if you’re so unimportant to the person that they don’t even care where you are. Wait, maybe it’s also a greeting from those people who dont’ even care WHO you are?! Ugh, travelers are the worst.
Again, it’s a Facebook birthday greeting reserved for the most well-traveled of us. Those of us with friends from around the world are going to receive countless birthday greetings…in foreign languages. It’s cute and it’s fun and it’s exciting to click that “translate” button on Facebook.
The Mom Greeting
Okay, this is the best Facebook birthday greeting. But it’s got to be done well! And, you guessed it—it most often comes from your very own mom. It could be a paragraph or two about how warm and sweet you are, how proud of you your mom is, or maybe just a flashback memory from your childhood. But—and this is important—the Mom Greeting always comes with a photo. And usually an old, grainy, Throwback Thursday-style photo.
The Mom Greeting can go either way—embarassing or sweet—so it’s best to make sure your Facebook privacy settings are set to keep tagged photos from showing up automatically.
Anti-Birthday Birthday Greeting
Personally, I don’t really understand this type, but hey, there’s a place for all of us here. These are the anti-birthday birthday greetings, usually acknowldeging in some way that this is your birthday without really saying it. The greetings will be fun and friendly—and almost always with an exclamation mark or two, but they’re still pretty basic. It’ll usually be something just like “have a great day!”
I’m not really sure where this method of Facebook birthday greeting originates, but it’s certainly different. Rather than post a public message to your wall, these people are the ones that are either (a) too ashamed to admit they know you / like you, (b) selfish and require their own personal reply, or (c) too special to be relegated to a wall and they know it.
While I admire these users for their tenacity, I think there are a few etiquette requirements with this method. First, you should send more than a basic birthday greeting. If you’re just sending a basic “happy birthday” via private message, you’re wasting my time and yours. Do it publicly like everyone else. So, send something personal—an heartfelt message, a voice message, a dick pic, I don’t care…it’s just got to be original and authentic.’
Second, when you receive a reply (and there should always be a reply—everyone hates unanswered Facebook messages), you better be willing and able to keep a conversation. This is not just a one-night-stand, hit-and-run birthday greeting. You’ve asked for my attention in private and I’m giving it to you. Respond in kind!
• • •
Birthdays are as much days for ourselves, as they are for our family and friends. And, importantly, they’re a way to reconnect with loved ones—it’s important to remember that. So while a lot of my commentary above is light-hearted and poking fun at various Facebook users, I do love you. Now, if you haven’t already: wish me a goddamned happy birthday!