Friendship girlfriends with birthday cakeSo, it’s your BFF’s birthday, how do you make her special day SPECIAL?

My birthday was last week. Before social media, some friends would have sent a gift or card, or perhaps given me a call. But, now with Twitter and Facebook, we all receive timely birthday alerts on our friends, followers, fans and connections. So, dozens of friends, family and even casual connections bid me a happy birthday.

It was overwhelming, made me feel humbled and blessed, and made my birthday very happy! I heard from girlfriends with whom that I grew up to friends I’ve only met through social media. Friends and connections from all over the country took time out of their to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. I don’t know if you believe in feeling good ‘energy’ from others, but I was in the birthday karma zone with all the love and attention. (A Sally Fields moment, seriously!)

Social media totally enhanced my birthday happiness with so many connections and nice thoughts. But there’s also something to be said for living life ‘off-line’ and those special memories we make with our friends – IRL.

Along that line, I felt the birthday love from a few girlfriends who always inspire me to be a better friend. And, since we all can learn from each other, I wanted to share how they made my birthday special. Hopefully my gracious, giving girlfriends will inspire you when it’s time for your BFF to celebrate her next birthday.

TERRI – I’ve ‘bragged’ about my friend Terri over and over in Girlfriendology. There’s a great reason why – she’s an inspiring, thoughtful, generous girlfriend. She always teaches me how to be a better friend. And, even after living states away from each other for 11 years, I still consider her one of my cherished and close friends.

She always goes overboard with gifts – not that they’re the most expensive or rare, they’re just amazingly thoughtful and creative. This year, she definitely made me smile when I opened her card. Inside was a gift certificate for a restaurant/wine bar where my husband and I dined recently. She saw his Facebook update about our nice evening/meal. So, she called up the restaurant, ordered a gift certificate, had it shipped to her (again, states away from me), then sent it to me in a card in time for my birthday. So thoughtful! And, of course, I’ll feel like she’s almost with me when we redeem that certificate for a perfect evening – a perfect present from a great girlfriend!

BARB – My college roommate and I have gone through years (okay, decades) of friendship – from the single and dating years, to being in each others weddings, to moves that separated us by states and time zones, on to kids, pets, jobs, no jobs, etc. We, as we often joke, know each others secrets – but we don’t tell! She’s much more of a sister to me than a friend. We’ve been through fun and tough times – from perhaps a bit of ‘silliness’ in college, to the heartbreak of losing of our fathers and the challenge of assisting our aging mothers. We’re sisters. We’re friends. And we’re even much more.

Partly to celebrate my birthday and also as just an excuse to hang out together (something we do too rarely), Barb and I made plans to meet the day after my birthday at a local art show. Coming straight from Pilates, I was starving when I arrived. Always thinking ahead, Barb met me and announced that we had a picnic waiting in the car. (Yeah!) We climbed into her ‘mom van’ (-: and she announced that my birthday gifts, including the picnic, had a common theme: Her Favorite Things. Our lunch was her favorite type of apple and sandwich wrap, as well as some green tea – perfect! Then she gave me a perfect card (she always does!) and a gift bag. Maintaining the theme, I found the following inside: a gift certificate for Chipotle (her fave place to eat), Burt’s Bee’s lip balm (and she picked a great color for me!) and, the ultimate girlfriend gift, a bag of Dove dark chocolates – again, her favorites!

I love how Barb took time to have a theme and find fun things that she loves, knowing I would as well. (You’re allowed to ‘borrow’ that theme for your next girlfriend birthday gifts!) Her friendship is one of my favorite things!

CATH – My dear friend Cath lives about an hour away but we rarely see each other. Her being in town for a conference was coincidental but perfect. She took an evening off from the conference attendees to spend with me this week. She’s a very generous gift giver and this birthday was no exception. My gift bag included a beautiful scarf (love it!) wrapped around an orange (to go with the Girlfriendology flower!) leather jewelry travel case (so cute!). She had me look inside the leather case to find an exquisite silver bird necklace – wings widespread to the chain. Gorgeous and special like my friend Cath. (-:

As beautiful and generous as these gifts were, my favorite part of my birthday gift was the gift of her time. We had a wonderful dinner in a very nice restaurant where we laughed, shared, laughed some more and had time to catch up on our lives. We talked about our challenges – like following our passions, our relationships with different important people in our lives and the pressure and myth of living a life with balance. We shared our lives over courses of amazing food – and make some amazing memories of a very special birthday celebration.

These are just a few of the wonderful friends who made my birthday special. I’m a blessed girlfriend! I share these stories not to flaunt my wonderful friends, but to hopefully inspire you to make your friends’ birthdays as special as their friendship is to you.

How have you made a friend special for her birthday – or has a friend made your birthday especially wonderful? Share and inspire!

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