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5 solutions to the Facebook birthday dilemma

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I wanted to have a little fun with today’s post and reflect back on something that was gnawing at me a bit this past weekend.

My wife had a birthday yesterday. Wasn’t a milestone birthday, but birthday’s are always a big deal in our house. And, they’re usually quite a big deal on Facebook, too, thanks to those friendly reminders.

However, it seems like an awful lot of people are going through the motions these days.

I look at people’s walls before I post my comment and I always see a lot of “Happy birthday!” or “Happy, happy, happy birthday!”.

Now, I’m not hear to call out those who leave these kind of comments on their friends’ birthdays. Heck, I’ve done it a few times myself. But, what I do want to raise is this: Are we getting lazy? Are we going through the motions when it comes to recognizing something as precious (OK, not everyone’s going to agree with me here) as a birthday?

Aren’t birthday’s a special occasion? Don’t our friends deserve more of our attention than a simple “Happy birthday” post on their wall?

Has Facebook made us lazier friends?

Facebook gives us insight into what our “friends” are doing 24/7/365. Great, right? I can see what everyone is up to at a moment’s glance. And, you’re right. It is fantastic. Except for one thing–it sometimes takes a lot of the personality and intimacy out of the relationship.

Starting with birthdays.

So, I know, you’re asking: “What am I supposed to do then? Ignore my friends’ birthdays on Facebook?” Of course not. I think we all have a number of relatively solid options at our disposal:

* Pick up the damn phone. I tried a new trick I completely lifted from Keith Ferrazzi earlier this year. I call my close friends on their birthday and sing “Happy birthday” to them. And, I mean I SING IT. It’s hideous. It’s horrible. Billy Joel I am not. But, people love it. Every time. It’s personal. It’s different. And it’s memorable.

* Write the longest “Happy birthday” message on their wall. Relay a personal story about your friend. Relive a great memory. Maybe even a birthday you shared together. The longer comment will stand out and your friend will definitely remember it.

* The birthday pop in. Obviously, this one only applies if said friend lives in town. And, I’d argue you probably only reserve this option for close friends, too. But, the pop-in has tremendous value. And, you get face time.

* Schedule lunch. The great thing about Facebook isn’t that it reminds you about your friensds’ birthdays the day before–it’s that Facebook reminds you of your friends’ birthdays weeks in advance. Remember, Facebook breaks birthdays down by “today/tomorrow/this week/this month.” Look at the “this month” list every once in a while and ask a few friends to lunch the week of their birthday. What’s better than breaking bread over a birthday celebration?

* Send them a book. I’m a big believer in sharing books as birthday gifts. Why not send your friend a book you recently read a way to recognize their birthday? Make sure to include a note in the book about why you liked it and why you thought your friend might like it. Again, if you personalize the gift, you will stand out. Every time. And your friend will always remember it.

What tips do you have for sharing the birthday love?

Note: Photo courtesy of Andrew Fristoe via FlickR Creative Commons.

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5 solutions to the Facebook birthday dilemma

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