4 Tips to Make Forgetting Birthdays Better

My big brother’s birthday is tomorrow. His gift should already have arrived. I am writing about him in this blog. I am clearly aware that the big day is January 28th. He’s my brother. How could I forget?

Only one year I did. Almost. I only remembered that I had not yet called in to wish him “Happy Birthday” as midnight encroached. I was, as you can easily imagine considering the fact that I blog about birthdays, absolutely mortified. Who knows what various work and life timing had interfered with my calling earlier in the day — surely, I meant to. Yet, I’d forgotten. And now it was too late to call…

So, my brother woke up the next day to a flurry of late night communications from me via email and on his work voice mail. When I reached him in person the next day to apologize in earnest he laughed heartily. He’d fully enjoyed my self-flagellation in my several “appalled at myself” messages — as any one would revel in the rare repentance of a sibling.

Thinking about this shameful slip-up years later, it occurred to me that I ought to offer some helpful tips to make forgetting a birthday go better. Learning from experience is part of how we grow, right?

4 Tips to Make Forgetting a Birthday Better

  1. Apologize. Pretending it didn’t happen is not going to make up for the oversight. Instead, be upfront about your mistake and your regrets that you didn’t fully fete the friend, family member, or colleague celebrating his or her special day.
  2. Employ humor. Wander down the card aisles and you’ll see many options for “belated birthday” greetings. You’ll be hard pressed, though, to find one that is sappy about the gaffe. Instead, these cards tend to be hilariously penitent while still reminding the celebrant how much you love and appreciate them.
  3. Get creative. There is actually a thorough wikiHow devoted to this topic. Among its creative suggestions are:
    • make a jigsaw puzzle apology
    • offer I’m sorry coupons
    • develop a scavenger hunt
    • go on the air to apologize (for those of use who have a radio show or the patience to dial and dial again until the radio station takes our call).
  4. Be there in person. Sharing your time with the birthday individual, even after the fact, can quickly turn the tide. After all, if you take the person for coffee (and cake) or a birthday lunch, you’re likely to spend more time together than you might have on the actual day.

In looking online to see what people are saying about this topic, I also came across a lot of hilarious memes that the person whose birthday is forgotten can use. I’ll share those with you in another blog next month….that is, unless I forget.


The Politics of Birthdays

I am going to have to start suspecting anyone who wants to know my birthday!

So, I’ve written about advertisers wanting to know our birthdays to better target us. Plus, twitter wants to know your birthday now, too, so that it can — yes — give the information to advertisers. But now politicos are getting in on the action too!

I was intrigued by a headline announcing presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton was asking her supporters for their birthdates. On her site, under the headline, “Who doesn’t love birthdays?” we’re told “Hillary always remembers a birthday.” We’re then promised a “personal note” on our special day if we provide an email address, zipcode, and date of birth.

That’s the thing, points out the New York Times’ Derek Willis. With a date of birth along with zip code, Clinton’s campaign can better target its campaign communications. “The date she’s even more interested in is Nov. 8, 2016. Election Day.”

I noted the date of birth form asks for the year of birth. We don’t really need to know how old someone is to send them a birthday greeting, yet it will help Clinton’s team in determining what messages to send and when.

You know what, though? I’m still interested in what Clinton will say in a “personal” email on my birthday. So, I signed up. Of course, once I did the campaign asked me for $. I’ll wait to see what she says on my birthday before deciding to make any contribution!

Political birthdays

Photo credit: SEIU International / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA