How To Tell Someone What You Want For Your Birthday

Do you normally suggest what you want for your birthday? Some people don’t, they just cross their fingers hoping they will get what they desire. But that’s where we go wrong. People can’t read your mind; they will get you something you’ll wish they hadn’t bothered, you need to speak up.

When telling someone what you want for your birthday, choose the right moment, be direct and detailed, mention the item, size, color, and material. Show your friend pictures of some items you admire starting with the most preferred. Remember not to pester, only suggest, it’s the other person’s discretion to act or not. 

7 ways to tell someone what you want for your birthday

1. Choose the right moment

2. Be direct and detailed

3. Mention the item, size, color, and material

4. Hint using pictures or the item

5. Make a list and post it on social media

6. Ask your friend what they want and they will retaliate

7. Do not to pester

Go straight to the point

A friend desired to own a car, for several years she saved, but life issues kept derailing her plan. About a month before her birthday, she called her brother, her mentor, and her boyfriend. She told each of them how she has struggled to raise money for a car for several years and how the only thing she desired for her birthday was a car. In her own words, she told them. “My birthday is a month from now, the only gift that will warm my heart is a car. I have saved a bit and if you don’t mind, I would like you to join me in making this dream come true.”

See, this can be done. It depends on how cleverly you share the idea. As we speak, my friend is driving. 

Hint using pictures or the item

Online stores and window shopping can help you do this. As you scroll and admire gift items you admire, show your friend some of those items starting with your first preference. If they are not close by, take screenshots and forward them alongside a suggestive message. You can say “I was scrolling through Amazon and I landed on this. I’m totally in love with it. It goes straight to my bucket list!”

If the person you want to give a suggestion can be derailed for window-shopping, go with them to the mall. Explore different items then show them your favorite item. Try it on if possible and have them comment about it. Let them know how you deeply desire to have it. Who knows? You might just go home with it. Suggest using words like “this would make a perfect gift for my upcoming birthday, I love it” or “Should you ever think of buying anything, search no further.”

Tell your talkative friend

Everyone has that one chatty friend who can’t just keep anything to herself. Show her the list and pictures of your preferred gifts. Give her all the details; dramatize if you have to because this kind of friend thrives on detail. If you share common friends, mention names in passing. Don’t make it intentional.

Before you wake the following morning, chances are that the world will be having that list on their fingertips. Don’t mind the exaggeration though, this kind of friend must add flavor to your list. It’s their nature.

Make a list and post it on social media

I saw this on Facebook and I thought it was weird but what’s interesting is that the person posted later having received the same gifts they had listed. To make it interesting, the guy who posted is a local celebrity who could easily buy everything on that list in one instance. I must admit I was surprised. People really don’t mind getting gift suggestions; just don’t rub it on their faces.

There are several challenges with this. One, you must have a list and not just a list, a well-elaborated list. For example, you can’t list for example – a bag. You need to give a simple description, for example, a leather laptop’s backpack.

The second challenge is that you need to know which stores these gifts can be gotten from. Once you post a destination to visit, for instance, people don’t want to hustle looking for flight details, accommodation, and places for you to visit. They will quickly abandon that suggestion. Give details on available packages with your preferred tour company. Example; suggest a holiday package to Bangkok with the world ventures company.

The other challenge is that you may need to suggest the prices. Someone can easily spot a gift to get you based on their budget so suggesting the price makes it easier. This means you will need to do a bit of research on the current price range.

Lastly, give a bit of detail regarding color, size, and fabric. Now you are wondering, won’t it be too long? Not really, let me give you an example. “I will be thrilled to get a size 10 red cotton evening dress.” it’s that simple.

I must warn you though, don’t put a lot of expectation on this method; social media can work for you or against you. After all, we don’t know whether the celebrity bought the gifts for himself and put up a show.

Ask your friend what they want and they will retaliate

I once used this method and it worked. Chances are that it will work for you too. I asked my friend the top three gifts they would want for their birthday. I wasn’t intending to buy them all, but this is someone close so I needed to buy something eventually. They listed them in their order of preference and I picked the top one. My birthday was up-coming so I eased my way into telling them what I also wanted.

This is how I put it. “Those are great choices you have. I also love musical instruments but for this birthday since I’m getting married, I want something I will hang on the wall like a wall hanging or a clock so it becomes a constant reminder of my new status.” I find this a perfect method for people you closely relate, for instance, couples, best friends, or siblings.

Final note

As much as this looks easy, you need to choose the timing right, the tone and the right words to use. You don’t want to seem selfish or manipulative. Let the conversation be mostly casual.

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What to Do When Your Boyfriend Forgets Your Birthday


Am a graduate sociologist and a regular contributor to national publications such as the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Journal of Applied Social Science and the Annual Review of Sociology.

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