How to thank people when they tell you happy birthday

Written by robin marx
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How to thank people when they tell you happy birthday
Thank your family and friends for making your birthday special. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Your birthday comes ones a year, and with it the ever-present greeting, "Happy Birthday." As the world becomes more and more connected through personal networking and online social media, you're likely to find yourself with an increasing number of such well-wishes every year. The proper way to respond to each is ultimately up to you, but there are a few rules of etiquette to follow to ensure that each person who wishes you a happy day is thanked for their care.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Happy Birthday in person. Whether it's a family member, friend, or a cashier who notices the birthdate on your driver's license, you can be assured many a "Happy Birthday" wished upon you. A simple "Thank you" in reply is all that's needed in these situations.

  2. 2

    Online. In the age of social media, birthdays are increasingly accompanied by a flood of profile postings, status updates, tweets, pokes, and any number of other electronic exchanges. Here you have a few options. You can reply directly to each "Happy Birthday" you receive, but this can be incredibly time consuming. It's perfectly acceptable to wait until the end of the day or the next morning, then post a public message via whichever networking sites you use saying "Thank you all for the birthday wishes." A brief mention of how you spent your day is optional, but can further personalise this response. You can also do a mix of these two options, responding directly to some of the more personal greetings you receive, then capping the day off with a general posting later.

  3. 3

    Birthday cards. Write a thank-you card. If you received a gift or a birthday card, send a thank-you note back. Use it to tell your well-wisher how you are going to use the gift, how you spent your birthday, or how special your relationship with them is to you. You can send your thank you note via traditional mail, e-card, or with social media message or post.

Tips and warnings

  • We encounter so many greetings and salutations day to day that it's easy to automatically respond to them all by saying "You too." Be careful not to respond this way when wished a happy birthday, unless it happens to be your well-wisher's birthday as well.

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