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Take Birthday Wishes Off Auto Pilot to Build Better Relationships

Happy Birthday sticky note

I just experienced this, receiving over 400 birthday messages. I felt a lot of warmth in the notes and appreciated all the birthday love. It felt fabulous to reconnect with people I hadn’t spoken to or heard from in a while.

When I am extending a birthday wishes I can’t help but wonder how many messages simply get blurred together into a stream of identical wishes that seemed to be written on auto pilot.

With this in mind, if you want your birthday post to have more of an impact — making the recipient feel special and helping to deepen your relationship with them — you have to put some consideration into it. To send a wish that registers in a more meaningful way, keep the following in mind: 

  1. Take a moment to contribute at least one or two sentences beyond the basic “Happy birthday!” Express a hope for their day or check in with how they’re doing. If they acknowledge your message, keep the conversation going.

  2. Shake it up and embrace variety. Don’t write the same message over and over again to every person.

  3. If you are connected on multiple platforms, realize that sending one birthday wish in one place is enough. Sending wishes across multiple platforms can in fact feel overwhelming and there’s no reason to do so — unless you’re trying to impress other connections rather than the person having the birthday.

If you’re the one celebrating and receiving those birthday wishes, accept them gracefully and use the opportunity as a chance to continue building respectful relationships. I responded to every message I received on social media with a few words of thanks that helped me connect personally with my contacts and friends, just as I would if they had responded on a day other than my birthday.

Social media can be a valuable way to keep in touch with a wide variety of people and share in their milestones. If you want to build your relationships, though, you need to be conscious of how you use it. With some awareness and effort, you have the opportunity to develop real connections that are more than just one more number in a friend list


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