Birthday Etiquette – How to Not Screw up Your Partners Big Day

Hello lovelies,

I was inspired to write this post today because it was my birthday this week and as a woman I think it’s finally time to just let guys in on the not so secret, secret birthday etiquette that seems to elude them. 

In their defence, it eludes them because likely you have never sat your guy down and fully communicated what you need and expect from them on this day. Frankly they don’t stand a chance until we do.

Ladies, your guy unfortunately isn’t a mind reader and they aren’t us either. You’ve probably read or heard of, men are from Mars and women are from Venus….that’s not a joke you know. We really are on different planets most of the time. It’s time to throw your guy a bone.

Us gals, it seems, for the most part….generalising a little here……love to plan events, celebrate in style and think of all the little details whether that is birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, leaving parties, weddings – heck we have got it covered with a squeal of delight and little brass bells on it.

Guys are just not (again for the majority) in that wheel house. Like seriously ladies – it’s the cleaning fairy that picks up the dirty socks, cleans up the cat puke and keeps the fridge full all year round right !!?? and don’t even get me started on the other things you ladies get done in a day. Lol. What you should know though is that your guy loves you and truly feels cared for. He just hasn’t been shown (for the most part) that this is what we want in back return. We ‘put up with’ the grind of trying to do it all and hope that we will rewarded with something outside of the norm on the one day we were born and put on this earth. The special day. Our very own day.

Boys that might seem overdramatic to you but you really should be taking notes by now. I want to encourage you to take this seriously because if you are in a new relationship – this could make or break it.

I think we (the gals, that is) hope that an epiphany will happen one day and all of a sudden they (the guys) will know what is required on them on your birthday but I am telling you they won’t – they aren’t us and no….really they can’t work it out on their own as much as you might hope. (Again generalizing but if you are in a long term relationship….. has the cold shoulder or the moaning to your girlfriends about his inability to put you first for one day of the year changed anything – likely no)

We really aren’t doing ourself any favors by being so secretive or vague. Instead of just spelling it out, we remain hopeful and your guy is set up for doom and damnation.

How many times have you had a disappointed birthday because you had too much hope and too many expectations but your other half really didn’t have a freaking clue ? and then to make matters worse you either downplayed it and secretly loathed and fumed or you cried and ranted leaving them wondering why their partner is a crazy possessed woman. Cue man standing scratching his head wondering what the hell he did. While you silently think….it’s not what you did do ….it’s what you didn’t.

So ladies, this article is partly for you and partly for your guy. Unfortunately hints and telepathy don’t work for your men. They are simple and logical whereas we are complex and magical.

If you expect things to be different you are going to have to do your part here. They are not going to sit there and think…. well on my birthday my wife/ partner/ girlfriend got me a cake, gifts, took me away etc and therefore I need to do something for her. He isn’t going to think those things unless you guide him.

Most guys don’t actually give a shit about their birthday because ladies we make it like their birthday every freaking day. They have it that good.

You may even have to write it down for them to refer to year after year. Like a birthday cheat sheet. My suggestion is ‘have the talk’ and I mean clear communication of wants, desires and expectations. Then it’s all out there. He’s on his own then. If you have truly explained your needs, you should not have to remind or nag him on the run up to the big day.

I have seen women tell their partner that they don’t want gifts or a big deal made over their day and then get frustrated when that’s exactly what they got. Don’t play games and don’t be coy. Just ask!

I’m going to make it easy on you boys. I’m going to cover expectations and make suggestions so the thinking part is covered. 

20 birthday tips to get you started

  • Your woman wants to feel loved and special all day long. Not for an hour in the evening. Literally from the minute her pretty eyelids flutter open until she lays her head back on the said pillow and falls back asleep that night.
  • It is the thought that counts. Seriously she wants you to be different today. The way she is treated, your words and your actions.
  • It doesn’t have to cost money. It’s the little things that mean the most. Your woman spends most of her days trying to make your life nice and easier so on her birthday she wants to see that you have tried to think about her and put her first.
  • This day is not about you and your feelings at all. EVER. It’s all about her.
  • Don’t try and justify or rationalize with a woman on her birthday. Just don’t. It’s her day not yours. 
  • You might have grown up not caring about birthdays but that is not the same for girls. We adore birthdays and as an adult we often feel like we want to go back to those early days where we can be the centre of attention. We got all that attention simply for being a girl. So when we become women who do everything for everyone else, we want that attention for one whole day. That’s our birthday if that wasn’t clear.
  •  I read a post about treating this day like Mother’s Day – yeah do that. If your partner isn’t a mother yet that’s ok, you likely have a mum or a grandmother. Does your mama have a happy face on if you forget her on that day ?
  •  Don’t think of ideas on the day – do some planning in advance. She doesn’t want to feel like an after thought. For extra brownie points drop comments leading up to the day about how excited you are or words to that effect.
  • She doesn’t want to have to make all the plans for her own birthday. In fact some gals want to make none of the plans at all. She might tell you it’s ok but it’s really not. Unless she tells you quite adamantly not to make plans because she wants to plan something – like I said us ladies won’t always make sense especially on our birthday so don’t rationalize it, then the plans are up to you.
  • She wants you to be romantic. If you aren’t sure what that means google it, ask your mum, your sister, a friend …. Just don’t ask your gym buddies. Most guys are not romantic, we get it but we hope that for this one day you will be. Romance is huge for us ladies and telling her flowers are so cliché is not going to cut it. Unless she is allergic to every flower on earth…then flowers are always a good start.
  • Get a cake. Any cake is better than no cake. Even a cupcake with a candle would work. It’s the thought and after that you are graded. If you want extra brownie points then get her her favourite cake. If you aren’t sure what her favorite is (no judgement here….I know some guys who have been married for 20 years and don’t know their own wife’s eye colour) then ask a friend, close relation or even the lady in the cake shop what she would like….it truly is better than you half assing this or guessing. DON’T leave it to the last moment unless you have a really good cake store nearby that will allow you to show up and have no planning, buy her an amazing cake and have happy birthday beautiful in icing on top. That’s a good shop to have in your back pocket. If you want to save money or be extra romantic make your own cake. Even if you burn the crap out of it or it isn’t cooked in the middle she will love the effort you went through. Most importantly definitely don’t let her have to buy her own cake when she asks you on the actual day if there is cake and you said no. Her tight lipped smile telling you it is alright is a lie. Even if she is on a diet and tells you she doesn’t want cake – she wants cake or a substitute for cake.
  • Be the first to wish her a happy birthday in the morning as she wakes up and tell her at least 3 things you love about her. She wants to here from you before her mum calls and sings happy birthday down the phone with her dad half singing in the background because your mum is jabbing him in the ribs.
  • Do not forget her birthday EVER. It will count against you forever and if you haven’t been together long – it might be the end. Yes boys it is that big of a deal.
  • Think of the things that makes you super excited in life and then that’s how excited she wants you to be all day about her birthday. Fake it until you make it.
  • She will likely never tell you how she is really feeling if you fuck up. If you forget completely or don’t do anything she will never forget. You will be the butt of the who’s birthday was worse conversations that women have over bottles of wine to commiserate each other. The plus side boys is that if you get it right, you will be getting extra privileges for the rest of the year and be the envy with all the ladies your gal hangs with. We really are not that demanding so a little effort goes a really long way. She just wants to see that you tried for the sake of her.
  • Boys your lady, if she dated before you, has either had more shitty experiences so anything you do will be held in high esteem or she will have had one of those rare guys who gets birthdays – if that’s the case ……. well actually she probably would still be with him….. so scrap that. Just see this as a competition against all men. 
  • Get advice from everyone and anyone especially those who know your woman. Ask for ideas and take notes. No doubt if you asked her best for ideas she would be happy to help and eventually your partner will hear of the lengths you went to to make her day special. Yep boys, extra brownie points. Remember its your thoughts and actions that really count here.
  • Everything is better with wine. Start with wine and end with wine. Unless she doesn’t like wine….there are a few…..then start with something else she loves. Chai, matcha, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, beer ???
  • If you are unclear about your lady’s expectations for her birthday – be brave and with plenty of time to plan (ie don’t ask her on the day or a few days before) ask her to clearly explain what will make her happy. We don’t expect you to be mind readers and we aren’t always great at communicating our needs – so ask
  • I have met guys that get so stressed over birthdays that they just pretend to forget. Do not forget. Do not pretend to forget. Anything is always better than nothing.

Ideas of things to do – and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune

1/ Breakfast in bed. Don’t sweat it. Even a cup of tea and a bowl of cereal on a tray with a red rose would likely blow her socks off. Perhaps brunch at her favorite spot. Don’t ask her where she wants to go and if you aren’t sure ask one of her friends. Your woman wants you to do the thinking today.

2/Plan a picnic if the weather is nice. A bottle of wine and a sandwich will do or pick up a deli made package or ready made sushi at the supermarket. It really is the surprise and the thought that counts.  

3/ Spa day – this could be you and her, her on her own especially if you have kids or a day with her friends. You need her and yes she needs you but it’s a proven fact that women need their girl community for their mental wellness. Don’t have the funds for a spa day then make one happen.  Buy a face mask, run her a bath with Epsom salts and a beautifully smelling essential oil like serenity and give her a foot massage.

4/ Do you have kids ? – if so today you look after them and let her have some time away. Give her the day off the kids and the chores, that includes feeding the cat, making meals for said kids and looking after anyone but herself today.
5/ Whisk her away for the night or the weekend.
6/ Get her a card or even better make one. She doesn’t care about your art skills, this is all about her knowing what lengths you will go to for her.
7/ If you have kids make sure you have had them make cards for her too. Having kids is a joy but blooming tiring so don’t expect your kids to remember her day. It’s your job to rally the troops.

8/ If in doubt flowers, wine and chocolate are a good place to start.

9/ If she likes the outdoors, plan a nice hike and make sure you have snacks and food ….. taking her on a gruelling 8 hour trek with no food might not be the best idea.

10/ Take a cooking class together or an art class or a yoga class – something where you can connect and have fun together.

I hope that helped a little and you are welcome!! The name of the game is communication.

We have a lot of expertise over at Mandala Essentials in all things to make the lady in your life feel loved – more relaxing essential oils than you can count and delicious pampering products as well as the know how on how to gift and use them.

So if you are reading this gals….send this to your guy and if you are a guy reading this – we have you covered!!

Check out our fav 10 birthday gifts.


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