Finding the words to wish someone a happy birthday can be difficult, at least if you don’t want to write a “generic” greeting. Looking past the standard offerings in the birthday card aisle can help you create memorable messages, that are worthy of being revisited. Use your creativity and knowledge of the recipient to choose your final wording.
Aim for pleasant responses. Birthdays are times for fond reminiscing, not anger over past hurts or misfortunes. Keep this in mind to avoid opening old wounds or creating new relationship rifts. For example, mentioning deaths, divorces and money troubles aren't advisable. Remember that “pleasant” is a subjective term and can range from evoking wild laughter to inducing heartfelt tears.
Ensure your message is both relationship and age-appropriate so the recipient or any additional readers don’t deem your message as tasteless. Avoid creating messages that will make older relatives blush or that will challenge the nature of your professional relationship with a coworker. Make birthday wishes for younger children into rhymes, while saving more complex word play for adult recipients.
Keep your message short. Birthday wishes aren’t the place to ask about life changes or to detail your private adventures. This applies even if you’ve been out of touch with the recipient. Save longer greetings for private letters and emails to ensure your birthday wishes are actually read.
Tailor a relevant message. Including “inside jokes” or information about the recipient’s favorite hobby can make your wishes more meaningful, as can including career references or alluding to favorite television shows. For example, throwing in medical terminology into a birthday wish for a cardiologist can send her into “cardiac arrest” when she reads your sentiments.
Think before you write. Perform “trial-runs” prior to picking up the birthday card to avoid illegible handwriting and bad grammar. Although you don’t have to be an elegant wordsmith to write suitable birthday wishes, your writing should be thoughtful and coherent. Presenting a haphazardly written birthday message to a friend can make you seem uncaring and ill prepared.