Don’t Even THINK About Wishing Me a Happy Birthday on Facebook

happy birthday


Real friends don’t wish Michael Stusser happy birthday on Facebook.


I have a birthday coming up. A big one. (I don’t want to talk about it). But don’t. Seriously. Don’t even fucking think about wishing me a Happy Birthday on my Facebook page.

Have you no shame? Have you not a moment to hit the green button on your iPhone? Hell, Siri will not only dial my phone number for you, she’ll let you know it’s my birthday in the first place!

Are you so harried you can’t grab a card? (Yes, Hallmark is making a mint. But what are you gonna do—make your own fucking card?) Would it kill you to put pen to paper? I know, none of us are sure how much stamps cost. I think it’s forty six cents. (Or did they raise it?) Just slap a few on and get that thing in the mail!

I mean, how long have you known me? A long time. Even if we’re just active Facebook friends, we’ve been updating each other almost daily for three or four years now! That’s a lot of sharing. (And liking and poking and perhaps even private messaging.)

Whaddaya say you buy me a drink?! And if we don’t live in the same city, you can grab lunch next time we’re in the same place. (I’m going to know where you are, because I’ll see pics and posts and tweets and Instagrams of you there.)

digital madnessSeriously. Don’t even fucking think about wishing me a Happy Birthday on Facebook. First, you do that for everyone – we all do – without even thinking. I’m special. And second, it’s annoying as fuck for the person who is having a birthday to have to thank all the thoughtless flea-brains who absent-mindedly wrote Happy B-Day! (Sometimes I don’t even bother typing it out, and instead just “Like” somebody else’s birthday wish, making it a one-click gesture! I’m not personalizing this! Who do you think you are? My Mother!?) I’ve noticed lately people no longer individually thank their friends for birthday wishes, and instead address them all in a single post:

“Thanks so much to all of you who made my day so special by wishing me a Happy Birthday (and forcing me spend the day checking how many notifications I had)!” Lame. #lame. EpicFailLameWish.

I’m not trying to be greedy, but I do think this is an opportunity for genuine separation, for lack of a better word. It’s fine to have Friends on Facebook who aren’t your real friends, and these people shouldn’t be inputting letters into a little box on my birthday when they could be scrolling or texting or god-forbid making eye contact with someone in the near vicinity. Nobody expects you to send your Twitter followers birthday salutations. (Besides, who the hell is @tvrobot anyway?) I mean, that ad exec I exchanged business cards with at the Cancer Alliance auction is working on some innovative stuff – but I’m not posting Happy Birthday on his wall, and I’m definitely not sending him a present; guy would think I was hitting on him.

I’m addressing this to my real world friends; you know who you are. Marty – Good Lord, we work together practically ever day! (Now that I think if it, have your wife get me something; you don’t have a clue.) My sister, obviously. (Though this year, make the cake gluten free. And white chocolate. Please.) Star Anna – I didn’t commit to a relationship status to make myself feel better! Physical presents (or favors) are in order! Greg – you’re loaded – just fire it off from your Amazon Prime account. (I’d even accept one of those gift card’s on Facebook from you, but it can’t be from Starbucks or some shit…)

As for the rest of you, do us both a favor and skip the digital birthday wishes this year; we’ve both got better things to do with our time. And, at some point, if you want to step it up a notch and snail mail a card, or buy me those really cool cocktail coasters you know I like, that’d be great. It’ll mean something. Which is exactly the point.

About Michael Stusser

Michael A. Stusser is a journalist and filmmaker. His award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri is playing film festivals across the country. Stusser runs TechTimeout campaigns in high schools across the country, asking teenagers to give up their digital devices (for a little while) in order to find balance, and perhaps even make eye-contact with their parents.


  1. quit whining, congratulations on being born

  2. There is always the option of not having your birthday publicly visible.

    My birthday is not officially listed on my profile. If I feel like getting attention for my birthday, I’ll post a status saying “Today’s my birthday. Pay attention to me!”…………which is exactly what I did last year. Yay, digital/text approximation of love!


  3. I am so not into the Facebook Happy birthday thing. It’s too easy and practically meaningless.
    Personally, I’ll take an email or a phone call (preferred) and be happier. Save money on the card.
    Anyway, I am completely with you on the Facebook birthday card thing.

  4. Don’t be a baby. There’s nothing wrong with a Facebook happy birthday. If you really want to see your friends, then plan a get together. You’re just pushing your friends away.

  5. How about not telling others how to use their Facebook page. If you dont want people to wish you happy birthday then shut your page down. You have way too much time on your hands if this is the kind of ahit you worry about.

  6. Michale, there’s no need to worry that I might wish you a Happy Birthday in any fucking way. You sound like a real asshole!!

  7. I recently just had a birthday, and while I actually don’t mind the Facebook posts from acquaintances, I personally texted those good friends who posted and didn’t text or call and reminded them that instead of the one obligatory birthday drink, they now owe me two.

    I also really enjoy the people who wish you happy birthday on Facebook but won’t return a hi when you run into them in person.

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