Happy Birthday, Facebook style.

I stopped wishing people Happy Birthday on FB a few months ago. I know. Gasp.

Before you run screaming and unfriend me because I might not wish you on your birthday, please bear with me. You might just end up agreeing with me.

My thinking, at the time, was that, if I don’t have your telephone number or if we don’t chat online regularly, we’re probably not really great friends, so I would refrain from posting a potentially meaningless message on your FB wall.* I, horror of all horrors, would pick up the phone, call someone and have an actual conversation with them, especially if it’s someone I haven’t spoken to in a while. I mean, mostly you become FB friends with people because you actually like them IRL or have had meaningful conversations with them online, yes? And yes, we all have the odd weird person we’re too scared to unfriend, because of some form of politics, but, generally speaking, I would hope we all like the majority of people we are connected to.

Facebook birthdays make me anxious. It may just be my Emsie Schoeman PTSD speaking, but I used to feel terrible not replying to every single wish. Which I didn’t really have time for because BIRTHDAY and WINE and ACTUAL REAL LIFE FRIENDS I WANT TO TALK TO. And COOKING, whilst doing the aforementioned 2 things. I may or may not also have issues with my birthday as it’s on 1 January and most people forget anyway.

Why do we feel obliged to wish someone happy birthday JUST because Facebook said so? Why do we feel, somehow, validated when people write those 2 magic words on our walls? What happened to: I’m just going to pick up the phone and call them. Have we become *that* lazy?

I would, personally, rather receive 5 meaningful birthday wishes than 100 messages that were sent just because FB reminded you that it was my birthday and you feel obliged to quickly bang out a Happy Birthday! or HB. Which, incidentally, makes me want to scream when I see it on other people’s walls. But that’s just me. How is writing “HB” even acceptable and not even vaguely passive-aggressive? Don’t let me catch any of you doing that shit.

Anyway, it turned out to be such an awesome decision, as I’ve caught up with so many people lately and had actual, meaningful, conversations that I would not have had if I had simply posted HB on their FB wall. Heaven forbid.

Imagine my delight at finding this post containing the below image. At least now I know that I’m not the only crazy person out there. Also, be careful: just to keep it more real, I may just pitch on your doorstep with an actual gift.

Consider yourself warned.birthdays_greetings












* this is my year of authenticity, of meaningful relationships. It’s a long, complicated story.

Ps. I was totally going to retire my blog earlier this week, for various reasons I didn’t have the time or energy to blog about. This post started out as a FB post that just got completely out of hand, so hey. Here we are.


8 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Facebook style.”

  1. Hi Tanya,

    I recently came across your blog while searching some “helpfull” information about Twins. Early July we found out that I was pregnant (which was shocking enough) only to find out earlier this month, that not only am I pregnant, but we are having Twins!!

    Anyway…long story short I am really glad I found this blog. Not only do my feel better about my “rantings”, but I realy enjoy the humour that comes with each new topic.
    So I am really chuffed that you didn’t decide to stop the blog.

    Regarding FB, I was so over the forced comments etc., that I haven’t actually been on FB in about 2 years! I know. Shock! I just got tired of only hearing from certain people once a year on my Birthday or on the various holidays, that I decided to disconnect and see how many of my “close” friends and family would go the extra mile to pick up the phone, pop me a mail or pitch up on my doorstep on my Birthday…or just because.

    It’s been an interesting social experiment. It’s not that I dislike FB, I might even register again at some stage. It’s just that next time, I’ll be more “picky” about who I choose to be friends with…

    Have a good one!

    1. Hi Fiona, thank you for your lovely comments! All the best with your twin pregnancy, please pop in anytime you need advice or just need someone to tell you that it will really, really be ok in the end.

  2. I told someone just yesterday that the only thing I used Facebook for is birthday reminders. Does it actually have another purpose? I agree with you about the birthday messages (HBD – the horror!) but I’ve become even more socially awkward since I discovered the internet that I avoid phone calls like the PLAGUE! (I NEVER know what to SAY). Great post xx

  3. I found it yay!!

    I so agree – I get so annoyed when FAMILY member’s think it’s ok to write on my wall for my birthday. Or my son’s or husband( who has actually deleted Facebook now, for various reasons).
    Pick up the phone! Send a text! Make an effort!

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