I, for one, am not one of those avid Facebook users that actually pays attention to those notifications I get about when people's birthdays are. I glance over to the right of my screen every so often and see that its someone's birthday and I think to myself, "That's nice." And that essentially ends my involvement with people's birthdays on Facebook. Is it a useful reminder as to when people's birthdays actually are? Absolutely, but if I actually spent the time tracking everyone's birthday on FB and sending out those little one liners that say nothing more than "Happy Birthday", I feel like I would have no life left. But that is the least part of what makes me never wish someone a happy birthday on FB. My sentiments are there, however, if I don't know a person well enough to know when their birthday is without Facebook, then I don't feel its necessary to wish them a Happy Birthday online. It may seem somewhat selfish, but its not as if I don't care about those people, I would just rather have my birthday wishes mean something more than just a single line typed on my computer, a cheap and easy way out if you will. Whenever I see those birthday wishes floating down my news feed, I wonder how well those wishing others a happy birthday actually know them. When was the last time that they actually saw the person they are wishing a happy birthday? How much do they actually know about their lives? (Its obviously quite a bit now due to FB and its ability to spread the nuanced minutia that perpetuates most people's feeds) When do they plan on seeing that person next? Maybe I am the oddball here (which I will readily admit to any day), but why should I wish someone a happy birthday if I haven't seen them since I graduated grammar school, oh, 17 years ago? Don't get me wrong, I know that its a nice gesture to reach out to others and wish them a happy birthday, but I just see a FB birthday wish as a tad bit trivial and short sighted. After all, we probably didn't know it was that person's birthday until we actually logged onto FB any given day and saw that it was their birthday.
My other issue with wishing people a Happy Birthday on Facebook has to deal with a more personal, mental dilemma. If I start wishing certain people a happy birthday on FB, at what point do I get to stop wishing people a HB on FB? (From here on out, Happy Birthday will be abbreviated by HB). To me, there is no clearly defined line at which point I can say, "I don't know that person well enough to wish them a HB." The degrees to which I know people on FB vary greatly from almost not at all to very well. And for the most part, the ones I know very well aren't as active on FB so to me it seems even more trivial that I begin wishing them a HB online. The people that I would actually wish a HB are those whose phone numbers I actually have and if I saw fit, could actually call them, have a short conversation with them, and express my sentiments in real life, not in some pseudo fabricated life online. I also get the feeling, whether it is valid or not, that some people might feel slighted if I start wishing some people a HB on FB, but not everyone. I know that it shouldn't matter and that people shouldn't harbor ill will towards others just because they didn't receive a birthday wish on FB, but one can never truly tell. It seems that FB has a whole different set of rules that varies from those we hold true in the real world, and I for one, will not dedicate my time to figuring them out. I know that I am probably way over thinking the issues, but what else can I do when I see a birthday wish float down my news feed and I ponder whether or not I should hop on the train and share my sentiments with that person, even if I don't really know them. In the end, I never hop that train and let it coast me by, perfectly content with the fact that I never wish anyone a HB on FB and that no time is a good time to start. By now I am sure that most people reading this consider me a HB scrooge, but really, I am not. I enjoy birthday's, especially my own, I have just never been one to glamorize them or place them on a pedestal as these all important events that should hold sway over everything else.
Even when it comes to my own birthday, I appreciate all the HB wishes I receive, but there is no part of me that actually expects to receive them. To me, its just another day that signifies another year gone by in my life. If I actually paid attention to my birthday, I might have to start acting my age and I sure don't want to do that. If I live in a sort of perpetual oblivion as to hold old I am, or at least down play my birthday, then perhaps I can act a little younger and pretend that I am not getting too old. Yes, I know that I am still approximately only a third of the way through my life, but hey, I have to start preparing myself now for what I will have to do when I get older to pretend I am younger. (If that made sense at all). In any case, for me, the FB HB sentiments will not begin at any time. I will continue on my current trend, not wishing anyone a HB on FB and at the same time, not feeling guilty about it at all. If someone would really like me to wish them a HB, send me your phone number and I will call you; provided I remember when your birthday is. (On a side note, I am horrible at remember when anyone's birthday is and I always have). Even if I have someone's phone number, there is no guarantee that I will actually call them and wish them a HB. Such is my HB way of life. I have no regrets over it and I probably never will. If someone feels slighted, I am sorry, but its just who I am. In any case, my birthday is in a few weeks so make sure you wish me a HB on FB! (Just joking, I never expect them, and I don't plan on starting to expect them now.)