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Unsplash: Anita Pawliok

I wake up each morning to the sound of my Facebook pings and this day Mark Z and company are alerting me to announce the birthday of a super close friend.  Because she and I are SO tight (we text several times a day and send GIFs with the political satire of the moment.)  Yeah, you could say we’re pretty much BFFs. Umm, I haven’t actually seen her in months but we are super connected.  How do I know?  She can see what I’m doing and I can see what she’s doing 24/7. Cue the Instagram videos.   

She’s turning the corner this year with a milestone birthday, so I really need to let her know just how much she means to me.  And, so I send her a personalized message on Facebook; ” HBD”, embellished with balloons that float up and pop with a loud crack.  My audio and visual gift to her!

All her other friends show up for this special day by inundating her with their virtual birthday wishes.  Some even spend time and personalize the greeting:  “HBD!!!!!”, “HBD-have a great day”, “HBD- you rock.”   It’s truly heartfelt, but of course, this is a special year, calling for extraordinary measures.

Once she gets all these glorious nods for achieving passage to the next decade, she’ll add up the comments (important to know just how many people care).  For the guilt-ridden recipients of these Hallmark moments who feel obliged to respond, they will send an individualized note back to all:  “THX” or “TY.” And, for those less inclined or too busy for a one-on-one acknowledgment, a group hug may be headed your way: (insert emoji “thumbs up”)    

If you’re one of the lucky few, you may find a birthday card in your actual mailbox.  Your Mom may bake a cake from scratch and invite you over for a home-cooked meal.  Your bestie might even resist loading the Amazon shopping cart and head to a brick and mortar for that special gift selected just for you.   Cherish those people who are truly taking the time and return the favor when their day rolls around.

And, and one more thing.  Social channels are pretty accommodating.  In case you’ve missed a friend’s birthday and are a few days late, just add a letter and you’re good to go:  “HBBD.” After all, it’s the thought that counts!

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