02/24/2012 10:59 am ET Updated Apr 25, 2012

The 8 Variations of "Happy Birthday" on Facebook

By Bethel Habte
University of Virginia

Reading Freud for a class called "Know Thyself" (yes, I am in my last semester of college, how did you know?) has inspired me to interpret the kinds of people behind the eight variations of birthday wall posts on Facebook. And, in good Freudian fashion, this is mostly complete guano.

1. Happy Birthday (Name)! = You're keeping up appearances. Also, you want your mother.

2. Happy Birthday, (Name)! = You're a grammar Nazi, too.

3. Happy Birthday!!! = You're a big fan, but you're still teetering that good acquaintance/friend divide. Eliminating an exclamation point could indicate a movement into acquaintance-ship for good.

4. Happy Birthday + (term of endearment) = You're hitting on them and hope they catch on after they're done gawking at their long list of ego boosting posts from people they haven't heard from in years. You add "don't be a stranger" but they will, in fact, still be a stranger.

5. Happy Birthday + (long spiel about your friendship) + (inside joke) + (<3) = You want their friends to KNOW you're friends with them. In other words, you're the dog to their tree/fire hydrant. Your friendship could be suffering distance, spatial or otherwise, and you should sleep on it to figure all that out for sure.

6. Happy Birthday + (insult) = You're actually their best friend.

7. Happy Birthday + (comment about how old they are) = You're a jerk. Or family. Or both.

8. Nothing = You're making a mental note to yourself to unfriend them later.

Is it just me or has Facebook ruined birthday wishes?