Pavithra was my benchmate for most of the nine years we spent together in Sri Aurobindo Memorial School. After we graduated, for a few years, we had a simple way of keeping in touch. Our birthdays are some four months apart, so we would just call each other on the other’s birthdays. And end up talking for a very long time, catching up on our lives, the lives of others and so on. For the period when it was working it worked really well.
I’m sure that this is an algorithm that several other people adopt. Though instruments such as blogs, twitter and facebook make it easier for people to keep in touch, sometimes when you aren’t that close to the other person you do need a reason to call (though once you call you’ll end up talking for long). And a good reason to call someone is to wish them happy birthday.
The problem with this, however, is one of correlation. The problem with algorithms such as the above is that they are too popular, and since they are too popular their value goes down.
To put it in simpler words, the problem with calling someone on their birthday is that they are likely to have been talking to several other people over the phone on the same day and so fatigue might have set in. The birthday boy/girl would have already spent so much time on the phone he/she wouldn’t want to talk for too long. And this decreases the value of the biennisal conversation.
I think I’m going to modify my strategy going forward. Everytime it’s someone’s birthday and and I think of calling, I’ll probably choose a date at random in the near future and make a note of that in my calendar. And then talk to them on that day. Since it is not their birthday, they are much less likely to have been flooded with phone calls that day so can talk to me for much longer. And having been deprived of the attention they suddenly received on their birthday, the senti value of this delayed phone call may make them feel better.
Maybe you should do this too. Call people on non-obvious days. I’m sure this will add value to both you and the person you are wishing.