The Hard Facts: It’s Your Birthday? Mine Too!

“The Birthday Problem asks how many people you need to have at a party so that there is a better-than-even chance that two of them will share the same birthday. Most people think the answer is 183, the smallest whole number larger than 365/2. In fact, you need just 23.” (NPR, “The Math Guy: The Birthday Problem” March 19, 2005)


Yes, it is my birthday. Yay! I am all of 28. I find this tidbit of research—that in a room of 23 people there’s a more than 50% chance two will share a bday—kind of awesome. A good nugget to have in your back pocket. I know from my research that this doesn’t mean the chances are better than even that someone reading this has my birthday—the chances that a random two people in the 23 will share a birthday are much greater than the odds that someone in that group will share your specific birthday—but I happen to know that one person reading this does, in fact, have the same special day as I (Happy Birthday Mom!).

However, if it is your birthday, please email me and tell me what you’d like, because I’m about to do the same.

What do I want for my birthday? So glad you asked. I feel like you readers out there have become my friends. From your comments and emails, or just your willingness to click back over to this corner of the blogosphere every now and then, I feel like we’ve forged a special bond. Like we could be BFFs perhaps. And since friends do nice things for each other on their birthdays (and because I’m not too proud to ask for help) I’m just going to put it out there.

If you would like to give me a birthday present, here’s what I would love more than anything else: For you to tell two (or more, if you are so inclined) friends—or, really, two people who might be interested—about this blog.

Maybe you have two BFFs who live in other cities, and you want to say “This blog makes me think of how much I miss you.” Or maybe your BFFs live next door, and you can send this with a note: “This crazy lady’s escapades make me grateful I have you.” Or maybe you know two people fascinated with social psychology. Or obsessed with Neil Patrick Harris and Friends and Glee.

Since I started this blog, the most exciting thing has been to watch readership grow and, more importantly, the dialogue expand. I love reading the comments and the replies to comments and then replying to the replyers. Suddenly I’m part of a much bigger conversation.  It’s pretty mind-boggling, really.

So that’s it. I won’t be bombarding you with requests like this often. But I feel like on your birthday, you get a free pass. So, if you’re so inclined, that’s my birthday wish.

Do you feel weird asking for things on your birthday? Are you the yell-it-from the-rooftops or keep-it-top-secret birthday type? Clearly you know where I fall. But hey, that’s what friends are for, right?


Filed under The Hard Facts

48 responses to “The Hard Facts: It’s Your Birthday? Mine Too!

  1. I just found your blog a few days ago & I have to say, I’m surprised that you’re not much ‘bigger’ than you are. Does that make sense? Forgive me if it doesn’t-its early & I recently gave up coffee for good…I love your writing style & the concept of your blog really struck a chord with me. I’ve moved around constanty in the past few years & I totally get how hard it cane be to a good friend in a new place…Have a great birthday, and I’ll be sure to tell a few people about your blog. After all, you should truly be huge.

  2. AmyK


    I’m a rooftop yeller, but I don’t want presents. I just want lots and lots of “happy birthday”s. A whole day of people remarking how nice it is that I was born? That’s the stuff! I would wear a sign if I could get away with it 🙂

    I love birthdays so much, I keep track of all the birthdays in my office and make sure everyone gets recognized. A resident at the retirement community where I work manages to send a personalized card to every resident AND employee. That’s, like, 700 or 800 people. How sweet is that?!


  3. Happy Birthday, Rachel! May your 28th year be your bestest yet.

  4. Happy birthday! I hope it involves lots of cake and lots of new readers. Thanks for sharing your escapades with us!

  5. Zach

    Happy Bday! Great post and enjoy the day. And the card you posted is a perfect analog for our friendship–kidding matthew.

  6. Happy Birthday to you (and your mom)! I learned that statistic sometime in high school, and I’ve thus far met 2 people with my exact birthday. Mine’s in a couple of weeks – is that close enough? 🙂

    Hope you have a good day and a great year! I’d be happy to pass your blog on!

  7. Happy Happy Birthday Rachel! When I am talking about blogs, I always mention yours. I look forward to reading it every morning with my cup of brew. Have a fabulous day.

  8. Happy Birthday, Rachel! May the sun shine bright on your day (or at least on this afternoon as this morning already seems to be shot!). Though I might not tell someone about your blog today, I do spread the word when appropriate. Don’t you worry.

    Personally, I don’t really talk about my birthday. I mean, I’m not shy about it, nor am I depressed about it. But, I don’t need gifts. Friendship is the best way to celebrate my special day.

  9. Anonymous


    Just curious – do you have a facebook page? (for the blog, not for yourself) That might be a way to increase readership… as your readers “like” your page, their friends will see this, etc. Just a thought to potentially exponentially increase your +2 people for every current reader.

    Great blog!

  10. Nicole Larsen

    1- Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you!! Happy Birthday to Rachel! Happy Birthday to you!!! I wish for you today, sunshine and a glass of wine with good company. 🙂 – or maybe a Cinco de Mayo-themed Pina Colada?

    2- I’m SO jealous of you at 28! I just turned 30 and I feel like I’ve accomplished so little (hence my avid readership of embracethedetour), and here you are, all “famous” blogger and soon-to-be published author. AH! Can’t wait ’til it comes out. 🙂

    3- *frowny face* at the little graphic in the beginning. The friend of a friend who I know like more than the original friend is my situation. Only I’m the original friend that brings all the friends together, and then end up fading away from me. Sad. (But I’m not mad, maybe we can have a post about that someday. Friend-networking is a great way to meet friends, but sometimes difficult to navigate…)

    4- Hope you enjoy some more followers, already recommended your blog to a few today, inc MY mom. 🙂

    Now get the heck off the computer and enjoy your day! PLEASE try not to fall down the stairs, however desperate you find yourself for friends. Leave THAT kind of bday celebration to ME. hehe

    • Ha! “famous” should indeed be in quotation marks… But thank you so much. I appreciate it! (I think falling down the stairs makes for a memorable day…)

      • Oh, and about the graphic. It does indeed warrant a blog post! So many people find themselves in that situation (me included)…. but it made me laugh so I had to go with it…

  11. First off – Happy Birthday! 🙂

    Secondly – so random that you mentioned the ‘birthday problem’ because I just read about that last week when I posted about how 2 of my exboyfriends have the exact same birthday – even the same year. I have had 3 significant boyfriends, so the fact that 2 of the 3 had the same birthday is pretty statistically significant – and a total omen in my opinion! 😉

    I am so glad I stumbled across your blog! You raise such great, thought provoking questions! 🙂

    And how cool that you share a birthday with your mom!!!

  12. JenD

    Happy B-day, Rachel!! Twenty-eight indeed is great!!

  13. Happy Birthday, Rachel! (And Rachel’s mom). I did a post about your blog on my blog last week (…I’m always glad to tell people about you!

    I hope you will have a lovely cake, big or small…mmm, what flavor? Frosting? Ice cream? Oh crap, I just drooled on my keyboard. Cheers!

  14. Happy Birthday! Raising a virtual margarita in a toast to your big day … =>

  15. Happy Birthday Rachel!

    I am the very lucky friend of JenD ~ someone who’s awesome inside and out, loyal beyond measure and really funny too. She shared your blog site with some women she values for your birthday, and I’m grateful she did. What a beautiful gift you offer each and every day.

    My birthday’s in May (the odds are probably greater that THAT would happen though) – and my daughter’s birthday is tomorrow (though she was due in late April, and none of that information is relevant to anything except that it feels good to be here so I can’t stop myself from typing).

    May this year be filled with magical and meaningful moments! Blessed be …

  16. JenD

    Apparently, I get along really well with those born in May! And also, I’ve made some of the best real-life friends online (as you can see). Too bad they’re scattered throughout the US and Canada…


    • I suspect if we were all in one location we’d cause some form of spontaneous combustion ~ or earth-shaking event that would turn the continent against us and force us underground. Though our physical bodies are scattered, (hmmm, that didn’t come out right), our energy transcends time and place.

      Thanks for leading me here Jen! I’m off to let a few more fabulous women know that Rachel’s created a really fun place to hang out!

      • JenD

        Fabulous! Also, I think you might be right about the earth shaking and stuff…which wouldn’t be good considering the fragile state of our planet! I think whenever a random bunch of women from all different backgrounds can come together in a positive way (and still be themselves), it’s definitely cause for celebration.

        Rachel, this is sort of the opposite side of that “women’s group coin” from yesterday’s post. I think that ideal group really does exist, it’s just currently still unfolding on the internet.

  17. Lynda


    Happy Birthday love. My cousin’s BDay is today, too. We’re celebrating tomorrow with Sangria! Hope you have a great celebration, as well.

    And, every time I introduce myself these days, I often talk about my own blog and writing, so you and your website always comes up as the many other great writers (with brilliant ideas out). I’ve emailed your site to some friends already, too.

    We all love it. 🙂


  18. Donna

    Happy Birthday Rachel! And Rachel’s Mom!

    We just finished celebrating two birthdays within our office with homemade carrot cake in the conference room. We have a small office so the OM and I take turns baking cakes for each person’s birthday. May is a big month with four b-days so we combined two today, and will combine the other two in a couple weeks. Cake is always accompanied by a Shoebox birthday card signed by all.

    On a personal note, on my Mom’s side of the family we love birthdays! Sometime in July one of us will send out an email wish list request which we all add our birthday and Christmas wishes to and circulate. It works for us because our entire group (me, my husband, my daughter, mom, step-dad, all three sisters, and my nephew) all have our birthdays between August 2 and November 26th. With the circulating email we can buy and send an update to everyone else, covertly go in together on bigger ticket items, and shop early for Christmas. Then since we are reasonably close geographically (within 2 hrs travel) we group the birthdays together and have two or three group celebrations with family dinner, cake, and presents. It’s a blast.

    • JenD

      That’s such a great idea…takes all the guesswork out of gift giving! Problem with my tribe is that no one wants to admit they want anything! Gah! It’s very frustrating.

      • Donna

        Jen – my Mom is the only one who won’t admit to wanting anything. We always find a way around that though. 🙂

    • Donna

      PS – My Mom and my youngest sister share the same birthday too!

  19. Ana

    Happy Birthday & Cinco de Mayo! What a fun birthday, with pinatas & margaritas and everything!!!
    and Yeah for May birthdays!!!
    I had never met anyone with my birthday (though I have several friends born the day before or after) until very recently (it was a friend’s brother’s wife whose name I forgot and I’ll prob never see again!)

  20. Happy Birthday! It was my roommates birthday yesterday and my birthday last week, so at least there are a lot of Taurus’ in the house.

    I teach high school and my first two years teaching I didn’t tell the students it was my birthday and then when they somehow found out they felt betrayed that I hadn’t informed them. This year I decided to let them know in advance (although I am not the type to shout it from the rooftop) it was nice to have the students sing happy birthday to me and some even went and brought me gifts.

    I have a hard time asking for anything…there really isn’t much I want. I am happy to grant your birthday request because I love your blog. I will gladly post it on my facebook today to share the love.

  21. You know I am always shouting to the heavens about your endeavors in the ways of woman-love. (Does that sound too homo-erotic? Oops.)

    I will also tell two MORE people today, if you wish.

    Also it is my father’s (RIP) birthday today too. I will be celebrating him with a ‘rita for cinco de mayo. I hope you get a chance to grab one (or your drink of choice) as well today!

    (PS I have totally felt the someecard you posted before. I am still maneuvering through that tricky situation as we speak–I like this chick I met through a friend more than the friend! Super awkward. But they are both lovely so that helps.)

    Happy Bday!

  22. TJ

    Happy Birthday! I e-mailed 3 girlfriends who I think would be interested! Ask, and you shall receive. 🙂

  23. Happy birthday to you and your mom!

    I’m a rooftop birthday person which I learned from my grandma. Her birthday was Christmas Eve and she always made sure we didn’t combine her birthday and anything Christmas. Period. We always had balloons, cake and presents (in birthday paper). It was her day – and that’s how she wanted it. This was exactly how she celebrated every year and I’m glad we got to have her 82nd (and sadly, last) birthday at my house on Christmas Eve with 82 candles and a fire extinguisher, at her request.

    Love your blog and have passed it along to friends!

  24. Anonymous

    You got it!

  25. A.J.

    Happy belated birthday!

    Just wanted to say that I love your blog and will definitely pass it along to friends. I read it whenever Callie puts it up on facebook and decided after yesterday’s post that I should probably just subscribe myself.

  26. Wow – you share a birthday with my husband and TWO of my friends. What are those odds?!

    Happy birthday. I love your blog, & will definitely be telling folks about it. 🙂

  27. LolaP

    Happy Belated Birthday Rachel!!! (though in my world a birthday is celebrated for an entire week, and sometimes the whole month depending on the significance of the age).
    So, I haven’t had a chance to read your blog this week and since it’s Friday afternoon and my brain is slowing down significantly, I thought I’d check in to see what kind of adventures you’ve been up to. Before I got to this post, I told two colleagues about your blog (I get interrupted frequently while working). After explaining your quest to one of them she exclaimed that she has a friend in Chicago who we could set you up with. I was really excited for you! However after learning a bit more about this “friend” I decided it was a bad idea…this is our conversation:
    Me: Wow, this is awesome! You should email your friend and send her Rachel’s blog. I’ll email Rachel and see how she feels about blind friend-date!
    Colleague: Yes, it’s a great idea, though maybe only in theory. The more I think about it, the more I realize that she may be a little too “dirty” for a blind friendship date – and by dirty I don’t mean hygiene! But you never know, they could hit it off
    Me: Thanks for the offer, but my days of friend pimping are over!
    What?! Yes, this actually happened…and while I fulfilled your birthday wish, I will not be helping out in the quest in any “real” way for now!
    On that note, I hope you have an amazing weekend celebrating your birthday with lots of champagne and dancing (this is how I love to celebrate my birthday and clearly think this is how everyone else should do it!).

    • I too have been celebrating for a full week. Hence the night of pasta and cannolis I have coming up! Thanks so much for passing along the blog, and for screening my potential “dates” before sending them my way…

  28. Leigh

    Happy (belated) birthday! Hope it was a fun day…..

  29. Pingback: Birthday Greetings | MWF Seeking BFF

  30. Maria

    Happy, happy birthday! Reading your blog makes me happy – hope your birthday is even happier! 🙂

  31. Melissa

    I am catching up on your blog…just read this one…funny story, my two best friends in high school shared the same birthday. It was a great convenience to only have to remember one birthday!

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