Always feel awkward during office birthday parties? Here are some coping tips.

by Joe Budde Jr.


We could all go out and follow some generic advice (generic = terrible) about how to throw a birthday party for a coworker. Or we could break every etiquette rule about how to buy a gift for a coworker. But I am not into that.

I want to help you make the most of your office birthday party, because if yours are like mine have been, they really need some work. And for something that happens at least once a month like in my office, it’s just too often to ignore.

How Do I Fix an Office Birthday Party Fiasco?

It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. If you are in what feels like an awkward situation, or approach one thinking it will be awkward, then it will be. Its time to change your attitude.

  1. In lieu of standing around waiting for someone to be the first one to go pick a cookie or a piece of cake off the table, pick up the cookies/cake and pass them out. It’ll help change everyone else’s attitude.
  2. Have an action plan for the dreaded song. I look at people in the eyes when singing “Happy Birthday”—even if I’m the birthday boy. It lets everyone know that I am appreciative of their less-than-stellar vocal abilities.

So, those are a few things I do to end the terribleness that is an office birthday party. If you are still a Debbie Downer on office birthdays, I suggest that you celebrate all your office birthdays on one day a year. Think about it: way less calories, and way less of the awkward effort you put towards choosing what to do while people sing “Happy Birthday” to you.

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