You Say It’s Your Birthday (I’ve Got a Gift for You!)

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 | 86 comments

Many times over the past 15 years of my professional life, I have dreaded my birthday.

It wasn’t the getting-a-year-older thing. It was the let’s-all-gather-in-the-conference-room-for-cake-and-forced-fun thing. Or at least, in most offices I worked in, it usually felt like forced fun to me.

It got to the point where if my birthday fell on a weekday, I’d choose to take that day as a personal day, just to avoid the attention. I appreciated the intention, but it just wasn’t my thing.

Now that I’m an entrepreneur and am flying solo (getting by with a LOT of help from my friends), a very small part of me misses the birthday forced fun.

Well, to be honest, I mostly miss the cake.

So if you’re an introvert and you dread the whole office party thing, you can a) take the day off, b) focus on the yummy cake or c) hide. (JOKE) If you’re the one planning the party for an introverted birthday boy or girl, keep it short, simple and casual. No declarations, just a few decorations. And for heavens sake, don’t sing “Happy Birthday” as a group, or if you go out for a staff lunch, don’t ask the wait staff at the restaurant to sing it (pleeeeaaaase).

And if you’re like me, working away alone in a quiet office on your birthday, smile and enjoy the calm. Head down to one of those fancy cupcake shops and splurge on a treat. Tell your favorite barista it’s your birthday and maybe your coffee will be on the house. Acknowledge and celebrate your fabulousness in whatever way feels satisfying to you.

This year, in honor of my 41st birthday (Woohoo! What a great age!) on Sept 16, I’m celebrating  by giving YOU a gift.

Everyone who comments on this post or tweets/retweets about it will be entered into a drawing to win one of three copies of my book, Insight: Reflections on the Gifts of Being an Introvert.” The three lucky winners can opt to receive their copy as either a paperback or Kindle edition. How cool is that!?

Here’s how I’ll make it easy for you to celebrate my birthday with me:

1) COMMENT. In the comment section below, share how you feel about your birthday, forced fun, your best birthday or your worst. Share a favorite quote, give us a weather report or who you think will win the 2012 World Series. It really doesn’t matter… just have fun and keep it clean (and I will request, no politics… just don’t want to go there. Thank you :-) ).

2) TWEET. Here’s an example:

Celebrate @introvertcoach’s birthday! RT 4 a chance 2 win her book! Winners announced 9/17/12 www.tiny.cc/insightonamazon #insightgiveaway

This link makes it easy to tweet –>  http://clicktotweet.com/Svdf2  [If you make up your own tweet, include the #insightgiveaway hashtag so I can find you!]

Anyone who comments or tweets no later than 11:59pm PST on Sept 16 will be entered into the drawing. Your name will only be entered once, so please don’t spam the comments (I know you won’t) or risk being banned on Twitter for too many of the same tweets.

On Sept 17, I’ll post a short video of the actual drawing and share the link to it here and via social media.

Pretty simple! Please join me in the fun and celebration… with each comment or tweet, I’ll just imagine you’ve brought me a yummy piece of birthday cake (with that really awesome artery-clogging icing that is three parts Crisco, two parts sugar).

PS: Of course, you’re also welcome to share this post on Facebook. I cannot, however, make liking or sharing on FB a condition of entry into the drawing (daggone rules!). If you tag me or The Introvert Entrepreneur, though, I’ll try to keep my eye out and add your name to the hat (shhhh).

 

84 comments
stuff
stuff

I found this while searching for resources on introversion in the workplace. Overall, I found it helpful... but the irony of tweeting a post about introversion? Twitter is one of the worst things for an introvert. After about a minute or two I have to turn it off or I find myself shouting at it WILL YOU JUST SHUT UP. Too much information too fast. Twitter is the perfect way to overwhelm an introvert.

 gift ideas
gift ideas

In First belated Happy Birthday Beth...
I want some fewer from you. In coming month one of my best buddy's birthday and i want some gift ideas from you. would you help me what should i gift to my friend please share your views.


GregShehan
GregShehan

I hope you enjoyed your birthday, Beth!  :) 

My birthday is on April fools day.  I of course get asked a lot of questions about that when people find out.  I think for some reason, being born on that day makes people think I'm going to seem a lot more outgoing.  Oh well.  :) 

Debbie OBrien
Debbie OBrien

A belated Happy Birthday Beth!!! Hope you had a wonderful day and have a fantastic year!

Gina Fox
Gina Fox

I think part of the problem with parties and being an introvert is feeling I have to participate full out like all the extroverts. I have learned that I can stay introverted and just be there with the people - and I'm okay... as long as I don't have to shoot the sh*t, and can stroll off when I want to. I can do that with family. I can do that at my own parties (it's my party and I'll introvert if I want to...) but it's almost impossible to do at other people's parties! :)

emilyzc
emilyzc

This is the first time I've been to your site and coincidentally today, 9/16, is also my birthday. I was actually feeling kind of sad today because there was a complete lack of festivities about my birthday this year and I turned 35. Somehow 35 felt a little more significant than previous numbers. I've been at home with a cold taking care of my toddler all day while my husband worked a 12 hr shift and nobody called except my mother. I was feeling pretty crappy. However, reading your post reminded me of all the birthdays I just wanted to hide and not have anyone notice it was my birthday, especially coworkers, and so I'm going to spend the remainder of today savoring the quiet. Thanks for the perspective!

CindyLee
CindyLee

Happy Birthday!

 My favorite birthday was when I was 19 years old and away at college. No one knew it was my birthday. A college friend and I went to visit her mother. We watched Gone With the Wind while her Mom fussed over us making us  hot chocolate from scratch and cinnamon toast. It was blissful!

KChafin
KChafin

I am not particularly disturbed when my birthday slides by relatively unnoticed. A special meal with family is nice, but I certainly do not want a bunch of attention drawn to it.  Yikes. 

ChanelMurphy
ChanelMurphy

Happy Birthday to you!!!

My coworkers forgot my birthday this year and didn't seem to care that they did when I reminded them about it.  While I am not into the whole office party thing either, it is at least nice to have my birthday acknowledged. 

JamesNeumeister
JamesNeumeister

My birthday is on Tuesday, 2 days from now, and because I am also an entrepreneur I get to work all day and don't have to think of something special to do.

Jason_Keen
Jason_Keen

Hi Beth! I've been a  quiet follower of yours since before you had such an awesome following. You've inspired me a lot. Thanks! I'll soon be celebrating 2 of my birthdays: My 40th biological birthday and my 5th "new person" birthday. As an introverted highly sensitive person, life was often too overwhelming for me and I had a long history of using substances to numb the intensity out of life. After a divorce about 6 years ago, I hit rock bottom with my life, and suddenly "woke up". My priorities all rearranged and I discovered a lot about who I really am. Since then, I've treated my birthdays quite differently. I used to gather a few friends and party - not too different from how I spent most weekends. Now I usually gather a few of the most important people in my life and cook them all a nice dinner. Sometimes it'll be outside, like at the beach for a barbecue. As someone who used to take my own life and the presence of my loved ones for granted, I now have a deep connection to my desire for celebrating what really matters in my life: love and honoring the Real Me. Happy Birthday!

LorSilverthorne
LorSilverthorne

Happy birthday!  We are the same age.  :)    I like my birthdays quiet and spent with my huband, son, and/or best friend, going out to a nice peaceful lunch and maybe having some cake, or a cupcake from this awesome cupcake place I know. 

The Introvert Entrepreneur
The Introvert Entrepreneur

Thanks, Greg! Heading to an outdoor wildlife park I've never been to - hoping to see some beautiful creatures. :-) Have a great Sunday!

Greg Shehan
Greg Shehan

Happy Birthday Beth! Have a great day!

Ginfox
Ginfox

Happy Birthday, Beth! I love your post, and can totally relate! My favorite birthdays are spent at the beach with a few laid back family members... eating my favorite birthday dinner (BBQ Ribs), and having my favorite cake - usually cheesecake, chocolate cake, tres leches cake, or homemade carrot cake - the kind with real cream cheese frosting. I'm a September baby too, so at the beach, we watch the sunset and then build a huge bonfire, where we toast marshmallows and the family chatters about family stuff!  Anyway, love your FB posts and you, and I wish your new year will be filled with all your best dreams come true! 

SheilaStarkey13
SheilaStarkey13

Happy  Birthday, Beth! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book. My favorite birthdays are those that are planned by a family member with lots of thought about me and not too much hoopla. These are the birthdays I remember most.

TeppoLuoma
TeppoLuoma

I like to celebrate my birthdays with small group of my friends: in Finland we have this thing called saunailta (Sauna Evening) where we go somewhere to drink couple of beers, play some games, some in-depth conversations and of course take a sauna bath. This kind of events are my favorite as introvert. :)

SueShore
SueShore

Happy day, Beth - any day! I am not on birthdays, for some reason they area reason for someone else's party. A good dinner with a friend is enough, or even just a phone call from my mom.

bagrust
bagrust

sssssh happy birthday sssssh

JuliHarvey
JuliHarvey

I like to celebrate my birthday at a nice, dark, quiet and very good restaurant--one preferably without its own variation of a birthday song!  Happy birthday to you, Beth, and thanks for all the information you pass along to Team Introvert!

squeak99
squeak99

I like to spend my birthday with friends, not colleagues because not all colleagues are friends.  I take a personal day so I don't have to deal with people.  Introverts, be strong, celebrate your day your way :-)  Have a wonderful birthday.

Monica Andersen
Monica Andersen

Happy Birthday Beth!!! Once again, your post echoed my feelings exactly. When I worked in an office I would cringe at the thought of having to go down to the office meeting room to celebrate yet another birthday (there were 150 of us.....) and make dreaded small talk - the whole thing, so artificial... cringe, cringe... And like you I always took my bday as a vacation day... Have a great one Beth!!!

Chibi Jeebs
Chibi Jeebs

I worked at a big-box retail store many moons ago: we always got our birthdays off with pay - best gift ever! :)

Katherine Burck
Katherine Burck

Happy Birthday! Hope you have enough company to enjoy it but no more. I'm an introvert who does like my turn at the company birthday celebration. :-)

Judy Dunn
Judy Dunn

All the best from me and Bob, Beth. Hope you have a spectacular birthday!

ChrisCorreia
ChrisCorreia

Beth, I never was terribly uncomfortable with the office gatherings, but then they were never quite my favorite occasions, either. Too, I was never in particularly big offices.

My public birthdays now are noted and celebrated by my students and black belts/instructors (I operate a martial arts studio), and in graciously and good naturedly accepting their recognition, I know that I show them appreciation and give them some real joy or satisfaction. So, I don't mind. It's fun.

Happy birthday! Forty-one is a special age; it's moving into the whole, big second half (or more) of your life!

peggyshaw
peggyshaw

I identify with your post, Beth. Any kind of group attention like the b'day party can be challenging. I love the idea of going out and splurging on a special cupcake for yourself; I will sometimes buy myself a bouquet of pink sweetheart roses. Thanks for reminding us that there are others out there who feel as we do.

betsytalbot
betsytalbot

Happy birthday! I usually celebrate my birthday for the entire month by making plans one-on-one with all my friends. It's like a drawn out birthday party where I can talk to each guest individually and rest up in between. It's the perfect solution for an introvert – and I didn't even know I was an introvert when I was doing it all those years.

Have a great birthday, Beth! (And no need to put me in the drawing - I already have your book. :))

vlbatcfcl
vlbatcfcl

@GregShehan I had a manager whose birthday was April 1. She _always_ took that day off from work.

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@emilyzc Welcome, Emily! And it's nice to share a birthday with you :-). I so appreciate the story you share here. Isn't it interesting to live in that push-pull of "notice!" and "don't look!" that we can feel on our birthdays. I hope you felt noticed just by virtue of finding this post, and @vlbatcfcl's lovely reply. Wishing you a wonderful birthday (we're Sept babies, not just Sept 16, right!?)... I hope you enjoyed your peace and quiet :-)

vlbatcfcl
vlbatcfcl

@emilyzc We'll send you a bunch happy introverted birthday wishes. Feel Better Soon!

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@Jason_Keen Jason, what a lovely story of transformation you've shared here. Thank you! I love that you celebrate two birthdays. You remind us that it's so important to acknowledge the passages of our lives, those times when we wake up to something new and feel like a different person (even though we are the same person, we've often become MORE of what was good and loving within us). Thank you for being here quietly over the years and for choosing to chime in now with your inspiring message :-)

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@LorSilverthorne Isn't 41 fabulous?! I love it already :-). Your birthdays sound lovely - spent with the people you love most.

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@Ginfox Oh yes, the beach! Isn't it great that our birthdays happen in a month when we can still go to the beach! Your celebration sounds wonderful - perfection, actually. Thanks for your kind words and wishes, and I hope your Sept. birthday was or is filled with joy and love :-)

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@TeppoLuoma Oooo, I like the Finland saunailta! Sounds perfect :-) I went to a sauna/spa yesterday with a good friend, and it was a marvelous way to unwind and visit. 

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@SueShore Yes, I think that the "someone else's party" is true for work - certainly not always or exclusively, but I'm sure it's at least a small part of the motivation!

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@JuliHarvey You're welcome! Yes, restaurants that just bring free dessert without singing torture are the best ;-)

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@squeak99 Nice! Yes, we should spend the day how WE want, not how others want for us. Thanks for that! :-)

emilyzc
emilyzc

@BethBuelow @emilyzc @vlbatcfcl I did enjoy the peace and quiet in the end. Thank you! I hope you enjoyed your birthday too! I think that when we are raised in an extroverted culture where there aren't really alternatives to the revelry, that a part of us may always feel the need to be noticed on our "special day" because that's the norm.  I'm trying to raise my little introverted 3 year old to realize that there are many ways to celebrate one's birthday other than a big party and it can be up to you to choose. For a toddler that could mean a special hike with Grandpa or a day at the museum. I'm trying to find ways to teach him that it's ok to be different in the midst of an extroverted culture that revels in the "hey everyone look at me!" holiday. It's up to you to make it what you want. Interestingly, traditionally in China, birthdays are for celebrating one's parents not oneself. A different perspective.

BethBuelow
BethBuelow moderator

@emilyzc I like the Chinese tradition! I've always wished my mom "Happy Mother's Day" and Dad "Happy Father's Day" on my birthday, because it seems like it's much more appropriate and personal than some arbitrary day in May or June. :-) 

 PS: Lucky 3-yr-old to have a mom like you!