As far as I can tell there are at least five categories of birthday greetings/greeters on Facebook. The first birthday salutation, which I call the “bare basics birthday greeting” is the most rudimentary of the lot. It is a simple and unvarnished, “Happy Birthday.” It’s almost transferable in its anonymity except for the fact that it’s written on your wall, on your birthday. It doesn’t take a tremendous amount of thought, but it’s still lovely that someone took a moment out of his/her day to say happy birthday to you.
The next level of greeting is, “Happy Birthday, Helene (substitute your name here).” This type of post is a step up from the bare basics birthday greeting because the use of your name clearly indicates that this greeter has definitely thought about you as they had to figure out your name before posting.
Next up is what we’ll call the “additional sentence” poster. These posts say, “Happy birthday (your name)” and then an additional sentence follows that salutation. The follow-up sentence generally says, “Have a nice day.” or “Have a great day.” or “I hope it’s a good one.” Now these posters deserve a bit more praise than category one and two posters because they have gone the extra mile in wishing upon you not only a happy birthday but also a great or happy day.
As an aside, I think this is the perfect spot to mention a subcategory of the “additional sentence” poster, those who wish you a “Happy, happy birthday or just “Happy day” or Happy, happy, happy.” It seems to me that these posters also deserve a tad more credit because they took the time to wish you that extra modicum of happiness.
At the top of the birthday greeter’s pyramid are those of your friends who mention something that is personal to you, post a picture with you in it, mention that they love you or use an exclamation point or any other punctuation in their post. I call these posters the “whole enchilada” posters. You should expect this type of greeting from people with whom you have an intimate relationship, but be forgiving of those close to you who struggle with this kind of Facebook intimacy especially if they are over 45. Kids these days seem to have endless pictures of their friends and are rarely self-conscious about expressions of love. They are also free with the use of superlatives so that every friend is the best and the prettiest. We older folks just are not as good with that kind of thing.
Let’s not even get to the etiquette of how to appropriately respond to Facebook birthday greetings. My 18-year-old son says there is a simple rule, everyone or no one. In my case if you have jumped the gun and began the day by liking the first few posts individually, you can really get yourself into heaps of trouble because when the greetings start pouring in you just can’t continue “liking” them all.
So my answer is a large thank you to everyone because I truly, truly loved each and every greeting. From the bare basics posters to the whole enchilada posters-I love you all and appreciate your good wishes.
Oh, and one more thing, if you forgot to post, no worries, there’s always next year.