6 Ways To Avoid Celebrating Your Birthday

Our birthday comes around once a year. It’s a day that marks another year we have lived, another year we have experienced. Some of us see it as day to celebrate.

Some of us see it as a day to not celebrate, and last year I wrote about this in a post called 7 Reasons To Not Celebrate Your Birthday.



For those of us who have reason to not celebrate our birthday and don’t want a fuss on this day, we might not shout from the rooftops about turning a year older. We might even go to great lengths to avoid drawing attention to our birthday in a time where many think you should be entitled to some special treat.

Celebrating my birthday and having anywhere near a big birthday bash is not something up my alley. As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more reserved about celebrating my birthday, these days no more wanting a party (never had a party anyway) or some kind of celebration. In fact, I try to avoid any kind of birthday surprise someone might pull on me.

Here are some ways to avoid celebrating your birthday and avoid someone throwing you a surprise birthday party, and keeping your birthday on the down low.

1. Make your birthday just another day

Go about your birthday like any other day. For instance, if your birthday falls on a day where you usually go to work or school, then go to work or school and do what you’d usually do. Go about your daily routine, showing up and leaving on time, doing what you do each day.

The more you act like it is a normal day and don’t mention it is your birthday, the more your birthday comes across any other day, no celebration needed. It’s funny how many people seem to get excited at the mention of someone’s birthday, always so quick to wish the birthday person ‘Happy Birthday’ and being nice to the person (despite not knowing them too well). To some, birthdays are days to show you appreciate and care about others.

Blending your birthday into another normal day as you are out and about, it’s sort of like being a spy covering up any trail left behind.

Croissant (1)

Croissant (1)

2. Avoid making special plans

To keep your birthday quiet, try not to make any special birthday plans involving others. In the days leading up to your birthday (or month as some people like month long birthday celebrations), friends and family might invite you out to celebrate your special day.

Your nice friends and family might want to catch up with you on this day to wish you well over a meal and a few drinks. Or they might say they want to catch up with you on your birthday, take you out and then you find yourself front and centre of a very public, very crowded surprise birthday party. That can be overwhelming if you’re an introvert or have some kind of condition such as epilepsy or agoraphobia.

If you are really worried about the latter in the lead up to your birthday, maybe turn down invitations to go out – giving subtle hints you don’t want a fuss.

3. Hermit and shell

Staying in and having a quiet day on your birthday is a good way to stay out of the spotlight. For instance, you could spend the day alone. You could go somewhere by yourself, going on a nice hike or shopping trip. You could also turn off your phone to really have the day to yourself without anyone interrupting your day.

By spending the day with and only yourself like a hermit crab under its shell, chances are you’ll avoid having a surprise party being sprung on you. Once again you can be like a spy, going incognito to new levels not just blending into the background but disappearing completely for a day.

You could take the day off from work or school on your birthday and avoid confrontational birthday attention. However, if it’s out of character for you to take the day off work without reason, then people could suspect it’s your birthday and they might make a fuss the next day.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns

4. Avoid social media

So many social media platforms have the option for you to display your birthday publicly. If you want to keep the day a secret, don’t put your birthday out there online. Anyone can stumble upon your (public) Facebook and Twitter profile and see when you were born. Many years ago someone at my work saw my birthday on Facebook and on my birthday walked into work and announced ‘Happy Birthday!’. Then everyone followed with a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday!’ and ‘Do you want to celebrate?’ and also ‘What are you doing to celebrate?’.

Some years back I closed off my Facebook wall around my birthday. Not a fan of people wishing ‘Happy Birthday’ out of obligation just because it is your birthday. That said, there are sincerely thoughtful people out there who like wishing each other Happy Birthday this way – you might not think of them in years but they might actually think of you now and then.

5. Keep people guessing

Don’t mention your birthday or confirm it so as to keep it under wraps. When someone asks you when your birthday is, perhaps stare them right in the face, put on your best poker face and don’t give an answer. Stay silent and keep staring. They might then get the message you aren’t letting up.

Perhaps you can try making it fun and in response ask them to guess when your birthday is. One time someone wanted to know my birthday and managed to narrow it down to the correct month. So I got him to play the guessing game and you would think he would eventually get it. He didn’t.



6. Let others know you don’t want a fuss

The most direct way to avoid a fuss or celebration around your birthday is to say so. Be direct with others around you, out and about with it, insisting on no big scale birthday party and no ‘Happy Birthday’ singing. You could be even more direct and let family and friends know how you want to and are going to spend the day.

Each year my family are pretty keen on celebrating my birthday, buying a cake and singing me the song. After putting up with that for many years (even into adult years), I insisted no more song. Finally one year my family decided to drop the song but not the cake and continue to serve it up.

*  *  *

Not wanting to celebrate one’s birthday may not be the same as disliking and wanting to avoid it altogether. As I wrote previously in last year’s blog post, some people get stressed over their birthday as their birthday could be a reminder of unpleasant occasions, bring up questions about existential life crises or they don’t get the expectations of needing to do something to be happy on their birthday.



The notion of the ‘birthday effect’ has been proposed. Also known as the birthday blues, there has been research suggesting an individual’s likelihood of death seems to increase around their birthday. While some Swiss researchers from the University of Zurich suggests you are 14% more likely to die on your birthday than on any other day of the year, there is no conclusive evidence. Usually when it comes to birthday and celebrations, one is more likely to go out and have a good time, perhaps drive home after a few drinks or stay out late on the streets running into trouble or being trouble, plan an outrageous-sort-of-reckless vacation or maybe even worry about the future up until we feel stressed out.

In short, we might not mind our birthday (hey, just another day) but rather not celebrate it because we 1) don’t like celebrations and 2) don’t want a fuss or attention or 3) don’t want to burden others.

That said, we’re all social creatures by nature and it’s hard to live a life of just being alone. In 2016 a study on social animals (mice) found brains crave company after periods of isolation. Similarly researchers at McGill University Medical Centre in Montreal found isolated participants in a study felt restless and became highly emotional after spending time in sound-proof cubicles deprived of human contact. Also, prolonged periods of isolation and feeling loneliness affect mortality rates. So in a way it’s no surprise many people don’t mind celebrating or at the very least coming together for birthdays – it’s in most of us to want to be and be together.



So it can be hard to avoid friends and family who want to make a fuss as they care about you and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. And so it’s not always possible to avoid celebrating your birthday. Just like how life is out of control, how you spend your birthday can be out of your control. Someone could outsmart you and throw you the birthday surprise you least want and least expect…but also one to be remembered forever.

Do you try to avoid celebrating your birthday?


250 thoughts on “6 Ways To Avoid Celebrating Your Birthday

  1. I’m not big on celebrating my birthday. I usually like a quiet day. But others tend to ignore that and take me out anyway. I was thankful this year that I was taken out for quiet meals. 😊

    Love the photos of sweet treats.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So nice of others to ignore your wishes for a quiet one and to take you out anyway. I am guessing Henry doesn’t mind a fuss on his birthday. Maybe he even pesters you for a sweet treat on his birthday 😊


  2. I normally have a very low key birthday, but it was only this year that I decided to organise something with my friends. Otherwise, usually birthdays just feel like another day, but I definitely feel gratitude for each one of them 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh, I can understand the stress of being greeted by persons who barely know you.
    But I do want to be greeted by the persons I love and to celebrate with them. These days, being overwhelmed by greetings is rarely a problem as I am not in the work force or in many social situations. I also did not give Facebook my birth day. So only those who know me well remember to greet me. I have not too many greetings but the ones I get are from those who matter a lot to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is an amazing feeling to be greeted by the ones you love. It’s a feeling more than comfort, something better than that. Sounds like you are adept at keeping your birthday under wraps, Imelda. May you have many more quiet birthdays with those who matter to you, and enjoy every moment ❤


  4. I try desperately not to celebrate my birthday with anyone other than my husband and cat. Friends insist on intervening and it makes me sad/angry that I nearly always succumb to the unwanted invitation. Just call me curmudgeon…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You sure seem to not like celebrating your birthday! Actually each year I want to change my bday date on FB so that I don’t get bombarded with messages,… but I always forget! Lets see if this year I’ll remember lol. Other than that I do love to spend my birthday having a nice dinner with Mr H (and Miss E now!). xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, I really don’t like celebrating my birthday, especially going all out. But some years my birthday turned out unexpected and loud, and I did enjoy them 😀 Hope you have many more nice birthday dinners with family and friends 😀


      • I just like quiet birthday dinners with Mr H to be honest. I remember once turning away friends from my birthday dinner, I think they thought I was nuts but it doesn’t matter!


  6. I enjoy doing something on my birthday like eating dinner or lunch out.
    A nice picnic on the beach. But, I like those things with my husband only.
    It’s always something quiet and personal. I agree. As you get older, it seems
    silly to have huge family and friend parties. I do like to have and ice cream
    since I never indulge unless it’s my birthday.
    Great post, Mabel. I enjoyed the photographs of the various desserts.
    Isadora 😎

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sounds like you do like your birthdays quiet and personal, Isadora. Hope you and your husband have had and will continue to have many more lovely low-key birthdays to come. As we get older, the more we cherish the simple everyday moments and realise they are the best kind of moments. Maybe you will have some nice desserts soon 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for this list Mabel, maybe I’ll put it into practice when I get older if my feelings about my birthday changes (e.g., I become less inclined to celebrate.) A definite theme of the list seems to be taking actions to avoid the celebration of your birthday, like being more introverted that day or removing yourself and your birthday from social media. I wasn’t expecting this post to turn into what it did when you wrote about the death statistic, though that kept me on my toes and I appreciate you raising it! Hope you’re well and that you will celebrate or not celebrate your birthday and other days of the year as you see fit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You do bring up a good idea there, that feelings about our birthday changes, and it could change as we go through different phases in life. I also didn’t know about death statistics around birthdays and milestones until last year. I think quite a few of us feel more stressed leading up to these moments, feeling like we have to live up to expectations when we do not. Hope you are well Thomas.


  8. Mabel, I hope you had a lovely birthday, doing what you wanted even if you couldn’t ‘escape’ the cake from family! 😀 Your article presents some interesting thoughts on why people might not want to celebrate birthdays and how to avoid mass gatherings etc. All excellent suggestions! Personally, I love having family around for my birthday and for the ‘big’ ones having a party! Having lost close friends and family much younger than myself each year is a blessing and one I want to celebrate. Yet I strongly believe people should be allowed to mark the day of their birth as they wish and for this be respected by others. Hope all is well with you and you’re having a lovely weekend! 🌸🌺

    Liked by 2 people

    • It was an unusual birthday over here this year, but one that I enjoyed a lot. Seems like you don’t mind a party on your birthday, Annika. The more the merrier for you 😀 That is so true, people coming and going as the years go by, so having a get together each year on your birthday, and a loud birthday party at that, can be very special. Hope you are having a lovely weekend yourself ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. My son thinks exactly like this. He hates celebrating his birthday, although will consent to going out for a dinner. It is sad that he thinks others think the same, as he rarely acknowledges our birthdays. I do understand avoiding the limelight, and certainly don’t relish being the centre of attention, but I often can’t help feeling he doesn’t care much, if he can’t bring himself to acknowledge an important milestone in the family. I hope your day was just as you wanted it to be, Mabel.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post Mabel.I actually don’t mind celebrating my birthday but only in a small way with immediate family and very close friends. And as the years go by the numbers aren’t important anymore anyway. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mabel, did I miss your birthday? I’m so sorry! Happy Birthday! 🙂
    I too prefer relatively low key birthdays. I don’t mind celebrating, but usually with just some family and/or close friends.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Mabel I must tell you that Dave and I used to throw huge parties for big birthdays. I had a massive surprise party for him when he turned 30. When he turned 50 I managed to arrange to have three different friends arrive from different locations in the world as a surprise. It was so much work and I had to lie SO much! After that we moved to a very low key approach in celebrating birthdays. It’s funny as we age how things we once loved doing evolve and change. I used to love celebrating in a big way but not so much anymore. We do enjoy travel on our birthdays and since this is something we both enjoy it seems appropriate.
    You make some excellent points how people can inadvertently cause so much stress and anxiety for those who would prefer to have the day go unnoticed. Hoping your birthdays ahead are just the kind of days you hope for.
    By the way I am drooling over your photos of the baked goods. Gorgeous food photography.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. I never give out my real birthday online.

    A lot of these online magazines I read always block the screen after a few clicks and will not let me see more articles unless I create an account.

    When I have to create yet another account I always use the birth date July 7, 1977 …

    Also, on that day, I will walk into the Pokemon Center and all these balloons will fall and the Nurse will wish me a Happy Birthday. I’m thinking … “It’s not my birthday” …


    • Fair enough if you want to use a fake birthday when the online world asks for it. Just make sure you remember it but as you are using the same one, that’s easy. Haha, that is a nice way to celebrate your birthday even if it’s in the Pokemon world.


  14. You’ve obviously thought about this a lot. Ultimately it’s not rude not to divulge your birthday to others. So tell as few people as possible. After all, it’s your birthday, not theirs, and you can do what you want on it. No-one at my work knows when my birthday is, and I am often on leave when it comes around. 🙂

    PS Other basic rights not many people know about are the right not to answer the telephone and the right not to answer the doorbell. That’s another topic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘it’s not rude not to divulge your birthday to others. ‘ You said it. No reason why we need to tell the public your birthday. It is your day and you can do what you want. Well played on your birthday 🙂

      Oh yes, not answering the telephone and the doorbell are basic rights too – especially if they call or come around unannounced 😛


  15. Bday fell during pandemic. Nothing to celebrate. Have a chronic fatal disease. Bday just reminds me of the inevitable. More grim reaper and less birthday clown.


  16. I can usually deal with a dinner out or some cake and an excuse to buy something for the house. Other than that, I don’t want my birthday acknowledged in any way, by anyone. I hate being the center of attention, and birthday-related attention feels extremely performative and insincere to me. If I could erase the memory of my birthday from my family and my husband, I would.


    • Buying something for the house sounds like a thoughtful way to spend a birthday, Jaycie. After all home is a big part of your life. Maybe your husband and family will keep your birthday quiet and low-key in the years to come.


  17. I can’t stand my birthday and I dread any mention of it to me. My siblings have finally gotten the hint by now that messages sent regarding my birthday will be ignored, and my closest friends have never known when it is in the first place. The only people who I allow to say anything regarding my birthday are my wife and my mother. It kills my wife to do it because she loves birthdays and desperately wants to celebrate mine, but she mostly respects my wishes (she does keep buying me gifts even though I keep telling her not to get me anything) and doesn’t say anything to her family even though she badly wants to.


    • That is good your siblings and closest friends get the hint you don’t like your birthday acknowledged, Dan. Very considerate of them to respect your boundaries, and of your wife too. Celebrating birthdays really isn’t everyone’s thing, and some really do prefer birthdays to be low key or just another day – and nothing wrong with that at all.


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