The Meaningless Facebook Birthday Greetings

I had my 34th birthday recently, and as with the past several years, I had many great friends drop me birthday wishes both on Facebook and in private. Some of these friends I’ve not met for over 5 years but I treasure each and every birthday greeting, especially those sent to me in private. I used to have 100-over greetings on Facebook and it has fallen to about 80 this year. However, the number of private messages have increased. Many of my friends have opted to go through the more troublesome and yet more personal private message, and I am grateful for them taking the trouble to do so. No need to show the world (i.e. Facebook) how many friends care.

Sending a greeting on Facebook is really easy, and you don’t really have to put much thought into one, but I thought, at least they took the trouble to send. However, I see some greetings from acquaintances who aren’t even barely acquaintances, and I wonder about their agenda to send me the messages.

I’m sorry but I do feel some people have got agendas.

Last June, a former colleague and a friend, 2 years my junior passed away after battling against a rare type of cancer known as clear-cell sarcoma of the soft tissue. It was one of the most heartbreaking funerals I’ve attended. The girl, K, was due to get married in April but discovered the cancer just before the wedding, which eventually didn’t happen. By June, she left this world, not having had her wedding. At the funeral, she laid peacefully in the coffin wearing her wedding dress.

Before the funeral, one of K’s closest friends posted on K’s Facebook timeline to inform her friends about her departure and the funeral date. A few other friends also shared their sadness on K’s Facebook timeline.

Last month was supposed to be K’s 32nd birthday, and I was taken aback by messages from her “friends” who posted messages like:

I can’t believe you are 32 years old! Such a beautiful woman you grew up to be! Happy Birthday!

You’re finally 32!

Happy Birthday! Are you enjoying yourself?

Happy Birthday! Hope you’ll have an even greater year!

What is supposed to be well-intended birthday greetings suddenly took a turn and displayed how little these people cared about K. Facebook probably reminded them to wish K a happy birthday and they did without actually noticing the almost year-old post about her passing which is still at the top of her timeline.

This made me think, how many of the greetings I received are people whom I can count on; who actually care about me.

Maybe next year, one day before my birthday, I’ll post a notice on Facebook asking people not to send me greetings on Facebook timeline, and THEN I’ll learn who the people are who don’t really care.


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