If your boo is about to be another year older and wiser, you may already be thinking about how to make their next birthday the best one yet. Maybe you've already scored reservations at their favorite pho place, special-ordered the perfect present for them weeks ago, or did some spy work to find out their favorite cake. Yet, no matter how long you've been seeing someone, it's natural to wonder: Should you Instagram for your partner's birthday?
If your partner isn't much of an "internet person" or if they hate to get their photo taken, finding the perfect internet HBD post isn't always easy. And while it may seem like everyone and their mothers (read: especially their mothers) use the internet to send a big "HBD" — what's right for you and your boo may look different than what's right for other couples.
"I think it depends a lot on your partner," licensed marriage and family therapist, Nicole Richardson, tells Elite Daily. "If your partner is a frequent poster, this could be a really thoughtful move. If, however, your partner is really private, posting on social media can feel icky to them." If your partner loves a good #selfie or otherwise likes to use Instagram, sending a little birthday love can be like a perfect (and free!) extra gift. But if your boo prefers to stay out of the spotlight, the added attention on their special day may not feel super welcome.
Unlike a sweet birthday text, or even — dare I say — a physical, paper card, a social media post is a public affair. "Posting something for your partner on any social media platform is essentially an 'announcement' — you want to make sure you're both on the same page when it comes to partnership," Susan Winter, bestselling author and relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. If you and your partner enjoy sharing aspects of your personal life on the web, a birthday post can be a sweet way to celebrate with all of your followers. If you like to keep the gushy stuff between the two of you, a public message may be a little misconstrued by your partner.
If you're in a new relationship, you may be wondering how long you need to be dating before it's appropriate to Instagram something *for* your partner, like a birthday post, rather than a shot where your partner is blinking but your outfit is amazing and you're standing somewhere cool. According to Richardson, there's no one timeline that's OK to throw up a birthday post.
"I don’t think there is a 'perfect' or magical amount of time to wait before posting — If you are in a committed relationship, then posting is within the realm of appropriate things you can do," Richardson says. "It is wise to ask if you have never posted a photo of them or of the two of you in the past. If this is the first post, it’s good to check in with them." If you've never posted your boo, a birthday may be the perfect time to start. Still, asking for their comfort level being featured on your feed before posting can help keep the "happy" in "Happy Birthday!"
According to Richardson, if you and your partner haven't told friends and family about your relationship, it may help to hold off on the posting. You and your boo may want to spend the day eating cake and celebrating, not describing your relationship to your great aunt that you haven't seen in 14 years.
Winter echoes the sentiment that checking in with your partner IRL before hitting post is super important. "If you're not absolutely certain they'd be okay with your posting a birthday Instagram, then ask," Winter says. "Know your partner's taste, and choose a picture you think they'd like." If your boo is a little self conscious about their new haircut or if you know they hate how they look in all the pictures you took on vacation last spring, pick a photo that you know they like. If you're up for it, it's also OK to ask your boo what photo they would feel comfortable with you using, letting them choose a pic, or using a pic that they've already posted (even if it feels a little off brand for you). A birthday post is meant to send out a little celebration and make your boo feel loved, so letting them decide how they are depicted can make all the difference.
If you're debating about Instagramming for your partner's birthday, the best thing to do is talk to them about it IRL. If your boo is an Instagram-fiend, a birthday post may be the perfect little gift. If the internet makes your partner uncomfortable, you may want to stick to a paper card. Although your feed is your own, checking in with your partner's comfort level before posting can make them feel super supported, especially on their B-Day. From Kanye-style flowers and piano players, to Blake Lively-style B-Day voting — there's no one way to say HBD to a partner, on or off the 'gram.