The Happy Birthday Hierarchy
Yesterday was my birthday, and I received a number of sweet birthday wishes. In the age of social media and instant gratification, it can sometimes be difficult to assess how much to appreciate those wishes. So after I got the obligatory “thanks for the wonderful birthday messages, I am overwhelmed and humbled by your kindness,” I decided it was time to figure out once and for all how much each type of “kindness” actually means to me. What follows is the hierarchy of birthday wishes, ranked from best to worst:
1. Present buyers: These people clearly love me, and I know that these presents mean the most because I am able to quantify the exact amount of their love by googling the price of their gift.
2. Card Senders: These people do not need Facebook to remind them it’s my birthday because they use outdated reminder tools like Outlook calendar reminders or their minds. They are thoughtful enough to think of my birthday far enough in advance to send a card. Extra points for cards with a pun. This category is generally limited to old people and business contacts because those are the only people who still use the mail.
3. Callers: Even though they probably know I won’t answer the phone, they are taking the chance that I will and that their effort will result in a call of indeterminate length. A huge risk, so in my experience, this category is limited to family members.
4. Texters: Thanks to those friends that are thoughtful enough to send a personalized text rather than posting on my facebook wall. I appreciate that the effort is more personal than a facebook message, but I still wonder if they are just slightly embarrassed to be my facebook friend, and would like to keep their well wishes just between us.
5. Emailers: Similar to text messages, except I might not check it right away. Extra points if it is from a person and not an automatically generated spam email from my bank.
6. Facebook direct messagers: Thanks to the people that would be emailers or texters if they had a more direct form of contact information. Regardless, the extra effort is noted. Like texters and emailers, the direct messagers are certainly avoiding the more public forms of communication.
7. Tweeters: Would be higher on the list if anyone wished me a happy birthday in this manner.
8. Facebook wall posters who include a personal message: Just one little sentence that let’s me know you’re thinking about me goes a long way. ”I hope you have a great day” doesn’t count, it has to be more personal like, “Happy Birthday, Rob! Thanks for being so handsome!”
9. Generic facebook wall posters: Thanks to the people who wish everyone happy birthday in the same way every single day they see a birthday. You make me feel great about myself even though you probably won’t think about me again until this time next year when you receive a reminder. When someone else has a birthday, this is the category I always fall within.
10. The belated: Thanks for trying, but you’re dead to me as of 12:01 tomorrow.
11. Everyone else: I will never speak to you again, and if I notice it is your birthday and think, “Awww. I really hope that person has a great day and would like to send them a personalized card or present,” I will refuse to do so out of spite.
*WHOA! A late entry is a utellit message. I didn’t even know this existed, but then Rick Desai, who only exists on the internet, blew all my real friends away with a personal voice recorded message wishing me a joyous birthday. Everyone else has a lot to learn from this guy. But it’s still not as good as a present.