How Do I Respond to Happy Birthday Emails?

Posted On: December 10, 2015

How to answer or respond to birthday wishes

Just like in India, it’s common for American colleagues or clients to wish each other Happy Birthday. Office birthday parties are common in both India and the US, as well. Working on distributed, global and offshore teams, many birthday, holiday and other wishes may be communicated by email. So, how can you answer these emails? That is what this post is about to explore! 

Respond to Birthday Wishes: Dos and Don’ts 

A big no-no is not to respond. We always feel good when people remember us. If we were meeting face to face, they would see our acknowledgement, even if the only response we had was a blush or a smile. But, over the email (or phone!) silence is akin to ignoring the other person. Some feelings may get hurt if their kind gestures are not acknowledged. So, let’s see a few examples on how to reply to messages wishing you a Happy Birthday! 

E-mail from Onsite: 


We heard your birthday is this weekend. As we won’t be having a call until next week, I thought I’d drop you a line to say Happy Birthday!! Wishing you a wonderful day and year ahead! Have fun! Can’t wait to hear about your celebrations! 


Happy birthday to me!
Jennifer Kumar, blog owner,
celebrating her birthday at Taj Vivanta
(in Bangalore, near ITPL).

Idea to respond #1:


Hello. I received your birthday wishes. Thank you! Yes, this year I hope to go out with my family to Taj Vivanta for lunch. That is a five star hotel in Kochi with a really good Sunday brunch! Wish you also have a good weekend. 

Talk with you in the next call.

Another way to answer: 


I was just about to leave for the weekend and opened your mail.At first I thought maybe you had some urgent task you wanted me to do for the project, but when I read your birthday wishes, I was both relieved and happy. I did not know you knew it was my birthday. Your wishes made my day! Thank you for sending it to me. I hope you have a good weekend. 


Cultural No-No (Taboo) 
Beware, while Americans are comfortable answering the question, “When is your birthday?” do not expect them to tell you their birthdate – as in age! Americans are not so open talking about their age at work. While it’s better not to ask someone their birthdate or age, if they bring it up, then they are more comfortable to talk about it. 

Acknowledging or responding to Holiday Greetings Emails with Business Colleagues 

Author, Jennifer Kumar, provides interactive sessions for offshore teams on building small talk with US and other Western onsite colleagues. Learn more about the Small Talk Training or our signature program on Managing Client Expectations or contact us today! 

Copyright Authentic Journeys. Do not reprint in entirety. Refer to this article with up to not more than 3 sentences with a link back to this blog. This blog can be shared on your blog with a link without a quote as well. Get in touch with us to do a link share.

Photo credits:
Birthday Card- Jennifer Kumar (A card the blog owner actually received from a friend in the year 1999!!
Eating cake – Krishna Kumar (photo of blog owner enjoying birthday cake in Taj Vivanta in Bangalore)

Original post day: 12/15, updated 5/2020



Related Posts