I Is Facebook a Substitute for a Phonecall on a Birthday These Days?

Updated on July 27, 2011
A.K. asks from Kingwood, TX
36 answers

Because nobody seems to call me or my family any more on birthdays - to me, it is not a substitute, but a cop out.
And I am not talking about aquaintance type friends here, I am talking about my father facebooking me happy birthday to my duaghter (his only grandaughter)
It was my husbands birthday today, and he has been facebooked happy birthday by my father, my stepmother, his brother, his nephew... only his parents actually called.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Yes, I without fail call my dad, stepmother, sister and everyone on their birthday.

Featured Answers

S.M.

answers from Kansas City on

Facebook is AWESOME! Before facebook I didn't get any calls anyway. Now people say happy birthday :)

5 moms found this helpful

E.B.

answers from Seattle on

Yes it is...I personally dont mind it though. I am a little socially awkward because I am so shy. So it is nice to get the Happy birthday wishes and not have them directed at me in person...Where I feel anxious and not as grateful!!

Does that make it the better way to do it...or the more heart felt...no. But I also am kept up on others birthdays I dont follow on my calendar..which is kinda fun and nice.

3 moms found this helpful
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T.F.

answers from San Francisco on

I only use it to wish Happy Birthday to someone I may not have otherwise or in addition to a phone call. Personally I don't mind if someone just uses Facebook unless it is someone like my Husband ;-).

2 moms found this helpful

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S.F.

answers from Reno on

I'd much rather get a facebook message, text or email for my birthday than a phone call. But, that's just me. My job requires that I talk all day (I'm a teacher) and the dead last thing I want to do on my birthday is have the same conversation with parents, grandparents, in-laws, what-have-you. In my case, that would be at least 13 phone calls in the five hours between getting home from school and bed. At least with facebook, I can respond or revisit all their loving messages at my leisure.

But, I'm also of the opinion that any communication is a gift, not a requirement. I find the notion that someone MUST call me on my birthday arrogant and selfish. If it's a required communication, is it really sincere? I don't think so. But, that's just my opinion.

That said, my mom is very traditional and if I don't call for her birthday and the major holidays, then I'm in the proverbial dog house. It doesn't matter to her that she's not home to receive these calls. She expects them on her answering machine so I do it because it makes her happy. It sounds like you're very traditional. Good for you. Make sure the whole family and your friends know of your requirement so they can choose (or not choose) to make you happy, too.

Good luck.

4 moms found this helpful
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D.B.

answers from Charlotte on

Allison, call your family in advance and ASK them to call your daughter on her birthday in addition to FB'ing her. Tell her that the FB wishes are nice, but having voices on the phone makes her feel like they love her.

I don't know if it will happen for your birthday, but I bet they will do it for your daughter. Write it in your calendar for next year a few days beforehand.

All my best,
Dawn

3 moms found this helpful
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J.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

My friends will tell you I'm not good with the phone. I always screen my calls and if I'm busy, knackered, or just don't feel like it, I won't answer. They must HATE me for this! I've even been known to not answer international calls. (i would hate me too if i liked phone-talking!). Facebook and emailing on the other hand give me an avenue of communication that I can access at my own leisure and convenience, so I'm for it. I do think, however, that if someone is particularly close to you (like my mom), then a phone call is a must, at the very least.

2 moms found this helpful

G.T.

answers from Washington DC on

My family and friends are all pretty much E friendly. Lots more texting these day and a lot less calling. Just the sign of the times. I get a lot more greetings for bday's and holidays now than ever before due to internet and text communications. Our lives are so busy, written sentiment on the phone or the computer is fine with me. Being able to tell someone something or hear from someone at your leisure is very less stressful to me.
Phone calls these days are inconvenient and can be an annoyance.

2 moms found this helpful
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R.J.

answers from Seattle on

The people who've always called still call.

The people who I once upon a time would have gone out to celebrate with, but now don't (either because of geography or time), and who never called, now FB.

I personally love and adore that we (once again) have various ways of 'calling'.

Not too long ago 'Calls" were done IN PERSON. Letters were penned. Cards were sent. Calls were 'house calls', 'social calls', etc. Etiquette was that one sent a calling card by messenger (so that they wouldn't actually be interrupting the friends/family they wished to visit and they could respond as was convenient to them instead of dropping everything, then the recipient responded with "well come" (translating to "yes a good time", or regrets, and if the person was welcome they then showed up. Then the telephone became popular and people started calling on the phone (with no advance warning, and no arranging convenient times) rather than calling in person.

My grandparents complained that people no longer called to visit, nor put announcements in the post, but phoned instead. My parents complained people no longer wrote letters. Many of my contemporaries complain about FB / Texting/ email.

To my way of thinking: the current generation is falling back to 15th-19th century manners.

Announcements are posted again (on FB)
Calling cards are sent (via text... which doesn't interrupt the other party)
Letters are written (emails and blogs)

Phoning... which *demands* the recipients immediate action is falling by the wayside. IMHO... THANK GOODNESS. 90% of the time when people phone me without arranging a time ahead of time that I'll be free... I'm busy. Hands in soapy water, out on a stroll, with another person, eating a meal, having sex, running errands, playing with kids in the grass. Because of texting & facebook I'm not being constantly interrupted any longer, but can instead set aside a time that is convenient for ME in order to go through my messages and return them. The same is true of other people. It's such a RELIEF to be able to go about my business. Most of my friends feel similarly. The "DROP EVERYTHING THE PHONE IS RINGING" period of about 50 years is finally passing us by.

2 moms found this helpful
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J.K.

answers from Kansas City on

well I think it is OK for friends to do this, but family should pick up the phone and call!!

2 moms found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

I always acknowledge birthdays when prompted by facebook for all my "friends". But for close friends or family, i usually send texts & emails acknowledging their special day! I also give or send cards to some people, sometimes the cards may not get mailed til their birthday, but I try to make sure they are remembered. Close friends and family also get a phone call for their special days.

1 mom found this helpful
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E.W.

answers from New York on

Friends I don't talk to on a regular basis- yes I FB. But good friends and definitely family I call! I also facebook them, but am sure to either call before or after I FB them. And really- depending on the person- I even send a card in addition to those.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.P.

answers from New York on

I will never replace a FB post with a phone call on someone's birthday, especially family and close friends (nor will I text instead). I really don't like that this is becoming common. I think it's pretty thoughtless as well!

This year my family called me on my birthday AND made their FB statuses "Happy birthday to my sister/daughter/niece, etc" for the day, which was actually very sweet. However, my husband's family (for whom I literally do everying) posted on my FB and didn't call. Candidly, I was really hurt. For the love, my BIL lived with me for over a year AND I paid all of his bills and he can't find 2 minutes to call and say "Happy Birthday!". I guess not. My husband was hurt that they didn't call me too, but it seems like people are just "too busy" to connect in person anymore.

Sad. As for my little family... phone calls, hand-written thank yous and "real" birthday cards will continue b/c who doesn't like to have their phone ring and open cards on their special day!

1 mom found this helpful
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L.M.

answers from New York on

IMO it is not, nor should it ever be a substitute. If you care about a person, pick up the phone.

1 mom found this helpful
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P.B.

answers from Houston on

With some people, getting a facebook HB is MORE than they'd get otherwise, so I'd say it was a good thing. How old is your daughter? Was she happy with it? My Dad can't hear so talking to him on the phone is a pain and my kids get bored with that right away, so they'd be MORE than happy to have him greet them on facebook. I had number 53 this year and I bet I got 30 phone calls, 50 texts and a string of facebook well wishes. The phone calls kept me on the phone ALL day - I didn't get anything else done!! I have to say though that it was very unusual and I did enjoy it - but would have been okay with only a call from my parents and the rest texts or facebook - it would have given some time to do something else!!!! Guess it all depends on how YOU feel about it. I let the small stuff slide....my "thermometer" is, will it REALLY matter tomorrow? If the answer is NO - let it GO!!!

1 mom found this helpful

M.D.

answers from Washington DC on

Absolutely not! A phone call from your family and close friends is still expected I think. I wish everyone on FB a happy birthday, but my close friends and family I still call. I also still put it on their FB pages also :).

1 mom found this helpful

C.C.

answers from Visalia on

I myself hate calling, i get all tongue tied and words dont come out right. so i love this e-communication of text, e-mails and FB. also if I get a happy birthday call from a relative that i hardly ever converse or ever see the call feels like its not genuine, imo.

1 mom found this helpful
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C.W.

answers from Santa Barbara on

I am a very minimal FB user but do use it do wish a happy birthday to friends...real friends not hundreds of random FB "friends". Family (that I speak to) always will get a card and a call.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.K.

answers from Phoenix on

I FB birthdays but always try to send a card. I call my mom and siblings and grandmother but otherwise, it's facebook. =D

1 mom found this helpful
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E.S.

answers from Jacksonville on

I've noticed that happening a lot recently too. I always call family and close friends.

1 mom found this helpful
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J.T.

answers from Victoria on

times are changing. teach you kids to call if thats the type of manners you want them to have. but also teach them to be happy with what ever type of happy birthday wish they receive! i am sure decades ago ppl were complaining that a telephone call was not a proper birthday wish they should have sent a card!!! :D

1 mom found this helpful

C.W.

answers from Las Vegas on

No I'd get mad if my best friends didn't call me on my birthday and just facebook'd me. It's not a substitute and family/close friends should call.

1 mom found this helpful
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M.L.

answers from Colorado Springs on

Lots of people FB me on my birthday. Hey, I'll take anything I can get. People also send me e-cards instead of snail mail cards (or phone calls).

I think it's pretty common these days. But for my closer relatives and friends, I might FB, but would also send a real snail mail card as well.

1 mom found this helpful
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K.M.

answers from Denver on

I think it has become pretty common place. I think that is true even for families. In my family most all of my husband's family has facebook pages including siblings in their 50s and neices and nephews in their 20s. On my side of the family just one of my brothers is rarely on facebook and the rest are not. I do think it is silly to ask others to pass on the well wishes to a person who does not have a page of their own but it happens. Maybe talk to your family about it and why it matters to you and your daughter. They may not understand why this is inconsiderate unless you point it out

1 mom found this helpful
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A..

answers from Kansas City on

Don't you just love facebook?!!

1 mom found this helpful
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A.J.

answers from Killeen on

I agree completely with Janie L!! I'm the same exact way! But I do call my immediate family and my husbands immediate family on special days =)

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C.L.

answers from Dallas on

NO! There are certain levels of friendship that don't require a phone call (acquaintances) but a phone call is much more thoughtful and sends a way better message to the people you care about. If you have time to sit around on Facebook, you have time to call and say "Happy Birthday".

C.F.

answers from Portland on

I just had a birthday.
I got Happy Birthdays from all my friends, my mom, my brother, my kid, my husband, my cousins, my sisters-in law, ...

everyone.
I did not receive a phone call or a card.

Those things cost money, and at least I still know they were thinking of me, and really isn't it the thought that counts?

I never give cards or calls anymore, I do emails and Facebook.

So does everyone I know, except of course for my daughter, she get a card, party, and presents.

It is the modern age, shrug.

M.C.

answers from Pocatello on

I don't usually call... but I usually send a personalized e-card AND a facebook message to all of my family.

BUT, it depends on the family... in our family it is considered OK to not call, because we chat a lot online and it is sort of "our etiquette"... I get an ecard from my grandparents and my mom... and it is what I expect. We all agree that postage for a card is an unnecessary expense unless you are sending an actual gift- when a nice e-card can be free and just as sweet and thoughtful. We are the type of family that doesn't tend to spend money for the sake of spending money. For us, a short phone call is a waste (if you are only going to say "happy birthday, hows the weather? hi! love you... bye!" and a long conversation (especially if it is long distance) can be expensive fast! Invitations, thank yous, and family updates often all occur online.

I DO have some family members that I call. People who don't go online a lot or prefer the old fashioned way, get it. Like I said before, it just depends on a family and how they "work".

By the way... If someone sends me a gift I send them a letter over email and I try to give them a call if I can. I say more than JUST "thanks"- because I know they went out of their way for me. My family members don't care whether I waste the paper and postage or if they get a typed message... it is the amount of effort I put in to send them a thought out and sincere note of appreciation that counts.

So there is my take!

-M.

S.A.

answers from Chicago on

I have found this to be the case. I don't like it, but it seems to be the way things are now.

L.A.

answers from Austin on

No, we still call family as well as posting it on facebook.
I think that is strange that they did not call him.

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J.P.

answers from Houston on

I like to take responsibility for these kinds of things in a relationship.
If I get a message, be it text or email, and would rather have a phone
call, I pick up the phone and call them (on MY birthday). They
eventually get the message. But if they don't, I repeat, repeat, repeat.
I would also get their recipient (your daughter) of such media "good wishes" to get on the phone and call them back. Could always say "It is so much fun to hear the voices of loved ones on my birthday. It is my favorite gift."
If you want more, you give more. Don't let a lack of communication of
your needs guide your future relationships.
I like Jackie T's response about phone calls vs. birthday cards back in the
old days.

L.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Parents/grandparents get an actual call. The kids generally have birthday parties, so that's that. All else get texts/FB posts. I HATE talking on the phone!! (They ALL get cards)

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G.W.

answers from Washington DC on

I feel hurt today since my only child, my daughter did not call or send me a birthday card. I am of the generation that likes to send and receive cards and calls to clos-e relatives.

Most of the answers here seem to say that a facebook birthday greeting is enough. Well, that may be true for your facebook friends, but not for close family meembers

Today, many people are forgetting that electronic mail, social networking, and similar digital media DO NOT conver emotion or feelings. When the best you can do is an electronic message you are showing a lack of care for another person in your life.

We are losing the heart of families, neighborhoods, schools, and the nation by relying on electronic media for our communications with other people. Maybe this will only be recognized in fifty or a hundred years from now, when historians look into why our society and culture collapsed.

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G.G.

answers from Austin on

NO! It is no substitution! I had a close friend FB me on my birthday, and honestly, it bothered me. I don't think it's okay! Are people so busy these days that they can't pick up the phone for 5 minutes? Especially from family. Family will never be tight (as most of us desire) if we resort to FB for communication.

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L.S.

answers from San Diego on

I'm only 36, but I'm not into facebook, texting, email, etc... replacing phone calls or mail. I prefer a quick happy birthday on the phone, a card coming in the mail, meeting face to face to celebrate, etc....
All this technology has made everyone so distant. Yes I know some have reconnected with relatives who live far away, but I know for a lot of us, facebook and sending a text seems the easy route. I love getting a card, letter, friend singing me happy birthday on my answering machine, etc...I was on facebook and deleted my account. If we aren't close enough to call or send a letter, then I'm not interested in posting on a facebook page. Just seems fake to me. So I do not think facebook should be a substitute.

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R.M.

answers from Topeka on

Do you call them for their birthday? Do you send a card? What kind of relationship do you have with them during the rest of the year? I don't know that I would think it would be appropriate for my children to wish me a Happy Birthday via facebook but I would not be shocked if my sister in laws did...in fact I would be flattered that they REMEMBERED my birthday at all. We just don't have the type of touchy feely relationship that means exchanging cards or calls on birthdays and such. We enjoy each others' company when we are together but other than that we tend to just live our own lives. It bothered me for a long time ( My husband and I have been married almost 42 years) but then I came to accept that was just the way his side of the family was. My inlaws will send my husband a birthday card most years...and will send us an anniversary card ( we were married on my MIL's birthday so it is sort of hard for her to forget...lol) but I can count on one hand the number of birthday cards or christmas cards that I, or any of my 3 grown daughters have received from them over the years. It is just the way they are and I am not going to change them by being hurt or upset.

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