I always looked forward to my wife’s birthday, it was so nice to see her receive the special attention she so much deserves.  Cards and presents from oversees, little ‘thank you’ gifts, phone texts, ‘What’s App’ messages and photos and, of course, whatever the postman brings on the day. However the last couple of years I see that these things bring with them a level of stress that was never there before.

There was a time when someone sent you a birthday card and a day or so later you would call them to say ‘thank you’, or wait until you next saw them or even perhaps write them an email or a letter. But today one is expected to reply to every incoming message the moment it comes in. Some well-wishers even texted my wife to ask her if she had received their card!

Now, please don’t get me wrong, it would be very sad if the incoming messages stopped but we need to allow the recipient time to enjoy them, especially if they are spending time with family and friends – it’s not nice for one’s guests either seeing the birthday girl constantly having to break away from the conversation to communicate with someone not in the room.

For me, it’s simply no wonder that the younger generation are feeling under more pressure than ever – if having to constantly react to every incoming message they receive is their new normal.

Psychological studies show us that we are in the age of instant gratification. When we do something for someone, we expect an instant ‘thank you’ in return. It’s a kind of constant ‘Am I good’?

I wonder, what’s wrong with just saying “Happy Birthday Jane” with no strings attached; no reply message expected?  I am not saying that we shouldn’t thank well-wishers but just not on our birthdays – birthdays should be for incoming traffic only, unless the recipient desires otherwise!

Have a good week,

Harley