What to Write: Birthday Wishes for Coworkers

Birthday Wishes for Coworkers

Birthday wishes for a boss, co-worker, colleague, client or subordinate are always appropriate to convey, especially in card form! But, that’s not to say that birthday wishes to coworkers and the rest can’t be a little tricky, right? So, let’s break them down, one business relationship at a time, and see if we can’t lessen the stress and put the “happy” back in “happy birthday.”

What to write in a birthday card for your boss. 
Even if you think the world of your boss, it’s still a professional relationship, so keep that in mind and take these cues as a starting point or approach for what to say to your boss in a birthday wish:

  • You deserve a wonderful birthday. Hope it’s fun!
  • Just a quick note to say Happy Birthday, and hope that the year ahead is a healthy and happy one!

What to write in a birthday card for your coworker or colleague.
Here, there’s kind of a sliding scale of friendliness when it comes to tone.

  • You deserve a wonderful birthday. Hope it’s fun!
  • Happy Birthday to one of the reasons it’s great to work here!
  • You make this place tolerable—and that’s not easy! Happy Birthday! (Let’s grab lunch/drinks soon!)
  • Happy Birthday to the world’s best coworker. Feel free to send a similar message to me on October 11th when it’s my birthday!

What to write in a birthday card for a client.
These, while not necessarily formal, will often take a more business-y approach, not too dissimilar to the boss messages:

  • Just a quick note to wish you a Happy Birthday. Here’s to a healthy
  • and prosperous year ahead!

What to write in a birthday card for someone who works for you.
This could include work subordinates or people who are in a service capacity in your life. Unlike how we wish the boss a happy birthday, but do not thank him/her, here, we may want to express gratitude:

  • Happy Birthday and thanks for all you do throughout the year.
  • Wishing you all the happiness you deserve. Have a wonderful birthday!

In short, you are acknowledging two things: the occasion and the relationship. Both are important. You’ll move that “sliding scale” from familiar to formal based on your history and level of connectedness to the receiver, and craft a message that’s appropriate and meaningful. Happy greeting!

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Brian P. Cleary is a senior writer-editor in the digital division of American Greetings. He started his life in greeting cards 35 years ago, and has written in verse and prose ranging from a prayer to a pun. He is also an author of 53 children’s books, selling more than 3 million copies.