It is the birthday of one of my colleagues and I learned about it at almost the end of the day via LinkedIn.

As the colleague is in my working team, he must be aware that I forgot.

What is the correct work etiquette in this situation? Just wish him out of the blue or ignore it since we only know each other at work?

  • 4
    Does your team or your company normally celebrate birthdays in the office?
    – user34587
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 13:57
  • Well usually the guy has to take things from the bakery the morning for breakfast at the company and colleagues are doing funny things to the colleague's desk but it seems that no one knew it was his birthday
    – sh5164
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 13:58
  • 1
    just a personal tip, when i forget a birthday, i usually wait for an "assist" and then say "was your birthday?HB, sorry i did not remember it, still not be able to remember what i ate yesterday", this way the fault is sort of minimized and always found that social links were not broken
    – Anon
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 14:07
  • 1
    @Anon We've got a pro over here
    – sh5164
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 14:09
  • 1
    I would be really surprised if anyone in my office knew when my birthday is and a bit uncomfortable is they celebrated it. Except in one or two cases, they are my coworkers, not my friends. I'd be angry if someone messed up my desk.
    – bluegreen
    Commented May 31, 2017 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


I would say it's unlikely to be a problem, in fact it's entirely possible that they aren't the sort of person who makes a big deal out of their birthday (I can relate - at both my current and previous job I never even mentioned it).

Unless they are some sort of massive prima donna type I expect you'll be fine just casually mentioning it in the morning

Morning X, realised last night that it was your birthday yesterday so Happy Birthday for yesterday! did you do anything nice?

If they are the prima donna type then frankly that's their problem!

  • Also, they get to be "special" for two days instead of just one; they might appreciate your wishes even more than if you had done it on their birthday.
    – Sqar
    Commented Jun 1, 2017 at 13:32

I have a tough time remembering my children's birthdays. For years I kept mixing up March 21 with March 23.

People forget. People understand forgetting. Aside from taking steps with a device so you won't forget in the future, you be honest and admit that you forgot and do what it takes to rectify it.

You're human. You forget. Everyone does. As long as you're honest about it, you should be fine.

  • O no, your poor children:(
    – guest
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 16:29

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