Celebrating the “I’m Not a Birthday Person” Person’s Birthday

It’s inevitable. Sometime in your life will you run into at least one person who is just not a birthday person – whether they don’t like the attention, they’ve had bad experiences, or they simply just don’t get the appeal. And that’s okay. There are still ways to help your friend feel special and appreciated in ways that will not overwhelm them.


It’s okay to not feel very attached to your birthday. Sometimes it’s the timing, sometimes it’s the past, sometimes it’s just the way it is. Having a friend who doesn’t want to celebrate their birthday is totally acceptable because, at the end of the day, it is still their day, and we have to respect it. Furthermore, it’s about making them feel comfortable. Even on a day they may not particularly like, crossing boundaries to try to get them to like it is not going to help them – it’ll probably make them feel worse.


Before I begin, if you’re close with them, feel free to ask why exactly they feel this way and try to empathize with their answer.


Here are a few different ways to help a person still feel special and appreciated while not overwhelming them:


1. Say “Happy Birthday!” in a totally casual way

If someone doesn’t like the attention, a short and sweet acknowledgement will do the trick. It doesn’t put too much pressure on them, but still let’s them know you are thinking of them.



2. Ask for a casual lunch or dinner

Asking for a small/quick lunch or dinner might ease the pressure of a big party for someone. It’s also inviting them out instead of leaving them to make the plans, if that’s what they don’t like. It’s a way to celebrate in a totally casual, everyday fashion.


3. If you know their favorite candy, get it 

Doing this let’s the person know that you are still thinking about them, but also doesn’t give them the pressure of receiving a big gift. It’s a small gesture that can go a long way.    



4. Don’t mention it

If they really don’t like their birthday, and are adamantly against it, don’t pressure the person into mentioning or celebrating it. The best birthday gift to them might just be to let it go, but still try to hang out with them so they’re not alone or forgotten.


5. Show them you care

While you don’t have to birthday-theme giving gestures, is a nice to show them that you care, anyway. A hug or two, a tiny present, a quick chat, a plan for later in the week, etc, as long as you don’t hound them about it. This is an easy way to still let yourself and the person have a happy moment, but it doesn’t have to be a forced birthday-moment.



6. Small words of encouragement

Sometimes all someone needs is to know that someone loves them and that they are doing great. Even if it might not be birthday-related, a small card, text, or talk might just make their (birth)day.    


No matter what, just love that friend and do what they want to do. Chances are, you will know exactly what the best course of action is. Listen to your friends, be kind and understanding, and don’t forget to tell them that you love them.