About four or five years ago, our world started to change dramatically when Facebook birthdays became an annual mega-event.
I realized my birthday would never be the same because of Facebook birthdays.
It was about four or five years ago when Facebook started announcing birthdays in a big way. Before that, you could find peoples’ birthdays on Facebook, but you had to look. You had to search. Finding a person’s birthday took a little effort.
Then, Facebook changed all of that. They made it really easy to find peoples’ birthdays. In fact, they stated shoving Birthdays in our faces. Birthdays became impossible to ignore. It was at that moment in time, that your Facebook timeline became an explosion of Birthday wishes – like it or not.
So what can you do about all the Birthday well-wishers who bombard your Facebook wall? Embrace it? Ignore it? Attempt to hide it?
Hiding it seems too complicated and too much effort for me. So the only options left for me is to either embrace it or ignore it.
The last few years I estimate I received 75+, 100+, and then 200+ birthday greetings last year. The numbers have kept getting larger and larger. This year I received 276 public messages and another dozen-plus private messages.
For some reason, despite more messages than ever, this year didn’t feel as overwhelming as the past few years.
Maybe I’m simply getting used to it?
Or maybe I’m embracing it as opposed to being confused and overwhelmed by it?
My routine the past several years has been to respond to all the birthday wishes. Minimally, I acknowledge their post with a ‘like’ and write ‘thank you’ and include their name. More often than not, I thank them AND send a little greeting with encouragement or inquiry about their life.
Why do I choose to take the time to thank every person individually?
My reason is simple: It makes me feel good. And it’s a gift of connection.
Each message takes a minimal amount of effort.
One reason this year was easier is because I knew most of the people. In years past, I would have to look up the person and figure out who they were. How did I know them? What was my connection? For whatever reason, the majority of the well-wishers were people I at least recognized. There were a few (less than 10%) that I wasn’t sure… but rather than take the time to look them up I simply wrote, “Thank you”.
Here is what is weird.
A few days before my birthday I thought, “Maybe I’ll just ignore the individual responses and simply write a ‘group’ thank you to everyone?’” … yeah right … that was my thinking a few days out … that is NOT how my reality evolved.
The evening before my birthday I received a few wishes. Then a few more. Those early messages were from real friends. Real people. Real people who cared.
I responded to one. Then another… that was it – my plan for a group thank you was shattered.
I ended up answering all 276 greetings personally. Why? Because it makes me feel good. I want to embrace the connection with people who gave me the gift of connection.
Who was I kidding when I thought I’d simply write a ‘group’ thank you?
In the future, my birthday may occur at a time that I’m too overwhelmed with other commitments to respond personally. In that case, I’ll have no option but to respond by a group thank you. But something tells me that I’ll most likely make myself available on my birthday so I can continue to connect with all of the kind people who graciously choose to personally connect with me.