Field Notes and Ideas on the Art of Good Birthday Wishes

There are enough sappy greeting cards out in the world, so it’s important you know how to do birthday and sympathy wishes right.

Writing out “happy birthday” may be better than nothing, but it doesn’t do much or say much to the person receiving it. A “happy birthday” requires no thought and little interest in the recipient. Instead, show attention to detail and genuine care to delighting the recipient stands out.

These are a few musings and experience-driven insights about how to communicate birthday wishes well:

  • Mention a favorite memory from the past year –  e.g.” It was so much fun hiking the cliffs of Dover with you this year!” Put your relationship to your recipient into concretes by throwing back to the good times.
  • Express gratitude for a specific action  – e.g. “Thank you for including me in your train part collection trips this year – it was a real pleasure.”  Your happy birthday note should in some ways follow the rules of good “thank you” notes. Be specific.
  • Express admiration for a specific trait  e.g. “I’m so happy someone with your courage and love is out there in the world.” This is their birthday – tell them why you are happy they exist.
  • Frame the future – e.g. “I’m hoping that you finally get to go skydiving in the year ahead!” Beyond just wishing a happy birthday, wish luck in the year ahead. Be as concrete as you can.

Taken together (and given specifically), these elements can quickly convey a committed care for the birthday guy/gal.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.