There’s something about people saying “Happy Birthday” that makes me feel “seen” — especially since I often feel invisible as an introvert.
Imagine this: you’re dining in a nice restaurant with friends and family, exchanging stories and conversations, and then you see a cake coming out. There are candles and cheers along with people singing “Happy Birthday” — all eyes are on you. This sounds like the perfect birthday celebration for an extrovert… but it’s actually mine. I’m an introvert who really likes their birthday. In fact, the more effort that goes into it, the better!
I’m aware that many introverts hate their birthday, and I can understand why. There have been times when I’ve hated it, too — big crowds, socializing, and a swarm of people coming up to me aren’t my favorite things either. I enjoy my personal space (most of the time).
But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the attention I get on my birthday from family, friends, friends of friends, and even strangers! It sounds weird, since I usually try to stay out of the spotlight. I’m not the kind of person who usually seeks attention; I’m perfectly content to be the quiet, reserved one in a group of people. But on some occasions, receiving attention is nice, and even welcomed. (I secretly love it!) That said, here are reasons why I actually like my birthday.
5 Reasons Why I Actually Like Getting Attention on My Birthday — Even as an Introvert
1. It’s my one special day — and I want to celebrate.
When you think about it, you only really get one day a year when everything can be made about you. It doesn’t make me self-absorbed to want to spend this day receiving extra attention — it’s quite the opposite actually.
Most days, I don’t get that much attention. And I get why. I’m almost always the quietest one in the room, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some people forget I’m even there. I’m not super talkative, I spend a lot of time alone, and I shy away from a lot of activities. So, when my birthday comes around, I want to celebrate it properly.
Presents and cards aren’t really important to me, but it’s the “Happy Birthday” and the general attention that I enjoy the most, even when it’s from people I don’t know well on social media. There’s something about it that makes me feel really “seen” — and that’s a nice thing in and of itself, especially when I feel invisible at times as an introvert.
2. Some attention is good for my self-esteem.
I get it — attention is usually an introvert’s worst nightmare; I often feel that way. But there’s a difference between good attention and bad attention. Bad attention, for me, is when I’m reading out loud and everyone stares at me until I finish. Or it’s being at a cash register, paying for something, and then dropping my change all over the floor and having people gawk at me as I fumble to pick it up. We’ve all been there.
Good attention, on the other hand, is something that I enjoy (most of the time). I grew up in a home where hugs, “I love you”s, and attention were limited. But even as an introvert, I craved attention. I wanted to be noticed! I suppose that’s the reason I don’t mind when people sing me “Happy Birthday” as they bring out a cake, or give me hugs, or wish me well. These are all really nice things that show me that I’m valued, loved, and appreciated.
I’m glad that I don’t have that kind of attention all year round, because it would be exhausting and it wouldn’t feel so special anymore. But for one day, I cherish it all.
3. It’s the perfect excuse to go out.
As an introvert, it can take some convincing to get me to leave the house and socialize or do an activity. I get overwhelmed and anxious quite easily, and I don’t like socializing too frequently because it leaves me drained. But I still frequently have moments when I want to get out of my comfort zone, talk to more people, and challenge myself. For me, my birthday gives me the perfect excuse to do just that.
I try to throw all caution to the wind and tell myself that this day only comes around once a year, so I might as well make the most of it by doing things that I don’t do very often. I also keep my birthday plans as introvert-friendly as possible to prevent me from getting too overwhelmed. I don’t have a big group of friends, so having a party is out of the question. My plans vary each year. Sometimes I’ll go out for a meal with friends and family, go bowling, or play a few games of crazy golf. If I’m feeling really confident, I’ll go out twice that day, once in the afternoon with family and again in the evening to meet a friend for drinks.
As much as I don’t mind staying home and watching a movie and getting takeout, it’s just not the same. I can do that any day, so it doesn’t really excite me. And the last thing I want on my birthday is to feel bored and disappointed.
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4. I like breaking down stereotypes.
Let’s face it, not all introverts are the same. But many people seem to think we are. Some introverts love going to parties, some don’t. Some like going out with a big group of friends, some don’t. And some people enjoy their birthday while others don’t.
None of us are exactly the same, and there’s something special about that. Instead of trying to pretend that I don’t want to go out or receive lots of attention on my birthday, I lean toward it instead. I let people know what my plans are and exactly what I want to do instead of letting other people decide for me. You see, most people would assume that I’d want to stay in or have a very quiet birthday, but that’s just not for me. By being honest with others, I get to have the most perfect birthday. And isn’t that what we all deserve?
5. It hasn’t always been this way, so I try to embrace it.
Not every birthday I’ve had has been a good one. I’ve had a handful of birthdays that I didn’t enjoy at all because I didn’t have a close-knit family surrounding me. I felt alone, which forced me to stay home and not celebrate it in the way I would have wanted to. I wish I could say that getting attention from myself and loving myself would have been enough, but at the time, I was desperate for some attention from others. I wanted to feel noticed and appreciated, but sadly, that wasn’t the case.
Everything changed when I met my partner nearly five years ago. I found someone who was
supportive and who understood me in ways that I never expected. Going out on dates and having days out showed me a whole other world that I’d been missing out on. I realized that I didn’t have to spend every birthday alone or hide myself away from the world — rather, I should make the most of it when I can!
I appreciate the attention I get now because I didn’t always have it (or notice it) back then. My birthday often brings me out of my shell a bit more than other days, and as the spotlight is on me, I get the chance to speak to more people than usual. This can be a blessing in disguise!
Just remember: As an introvert, there’s no right or wrong way to celebrate your birthday. If you love a quiet night in, then go for it. If you want to go out and have a big (or small) party, go for it! Everyone is different — you just have to do what’s best for you.