On your birthday people may try to sing Happy Birthday to you. You could be in a restaurant, at the family dinner table or crammed into a boardroom with indifferent colleagues.
Wherever you are, it’s guaranteed to be awkward.
While people sing at you, you must look a complicated combination of humbled, demure, grateful and festive even though you know that Stacey from Payroll barely knows your name. It’s a high pressure situation. And where do you look?! Into Stacey’s eyes? Into the distance? At the cheap cake? Longingly at the fire exit?
Most of us will shuffle, smile, blush, stare at the floor and wish we had pockets.
This is why it’s important to have a Happy Birthday plan of attack. In order to mitigate the awkwardness of the situation you can employ these tactics.
- Take control of the song (don’t let the song control you). Fill your lungs and let out a long foghorn-like ‘Haaaaaaaaaaaapppy…’ and look expectantly around the room.
- Do conductor hands and lead the group. Indicate who needs to put more fortissimo into their singing.
- Prepare to put more energy into lines 3 and 4 “Happy BIRTHday dear Dennis, HAAAPY birthday to you” where the notes are high and people’s voices thin out.
- When the final note rings out, leave a short break then unleash six rounds of ‘For he/she’s a jolly good fellow.’
- Shout ‘Encore!’ and ignore the subsequent silence.
Happy Birthday to you, squash tomatoes and stew. Bread and butter in the gutter, Happy Birthday to you.