There is no day more stressful on Facebook than your own birthday. Indeed, for when one initially logs into Facebook on any other normal day, it is filled with anticipation: what notifications, statuses, or prime examples of First World Problems will you find there? Facebook is a place full of the unexpected, but on your birthday it becomes a place full of predictability.

It is a given that your newsfeed will be clogged with half-hearted well wishes, overly genuine creepy family updates, and wall posts from attractive people who make you contemplate whether they’re into you or not. Much like Ronnie and Sam’s eventual fights in Jersey Shore, or a Kardashian dating an athlete, it is a guarantee that people will wish you well on your birthday.

6-10 AM: People are on their way to school or work, and during that journey decided to half-ass show up on your wall. And yet despite this, it can often be difficult to figure out the true meaning behind these posts. Are they just conforming to norms? Or is there a hidden message within them? The key is to look at the times of each wall post, and dissect their potential meaning from there.

12-3 AM:

There are only two types of people (beyond the occasional wild card) who will post on your wall at this point in time: your true best friends that stayed up late because they couldn’t wait for you to turn whatever age you turned, regardless of social or cultural significance. These wall posts will often include inside jokes no one else will understand, prodigious smiley faces, or the oft used linkage to the music video to "Birthday Sex" by Jeremih. These posts are often the longest, and most heartfelt. Treasure them. The only other person who will post this late is someone so bored/lonely that they’re on Facebook and get the official birthday notification. Like any R. Kelly slow jam, they get straight to the point: no flash, no frills, just conveying the message, "Happy Birthday," and moving on, in hopes you’ll simply register the message’s content and not the coinciding time stamp. They are the stealth bombers of the Birthday Messages: by the time you realize what they’ve done, they’ll be long gone.

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4-6 AM:

No one in their right mind is on Facebook at this time of day. If you receive a message during this time, they are at Jersey Shore-level drunk. There is also the possibility that it’s a crazy person trying to kill you, at which point I’d recommend turning off and removing any location check-ins. As thrilling as your daily check-in to Starbucks is, only true stalkers give a shit.

6-10 AM:

This is when the people you don’t know most commonly surface. They’re on their way to school or work, and during that journey decided to half-ass show up on your wall. These posts will usually contain 2-3 sentences, an exclamation point, and an empty "enjoy your day" or something of that sort. What do these posts actually mean? "Thank you for helping me kill some time when I could have been doing something productive." The gift that Facebook keeps on giving.

10-3 PM:

All of your semi-decent acquaintances and lesser friends start to crawl out from the woodwork. They will post an "inside joke," key attribute of your personality, or high school stereotype that you fell into, in an effort to make it seem like they know you better than they actually do. These posts are like the yearbook signatures of Facebook Birthday posts: they convey a sense of friendship now, but in a few years you’d look back on them and wonder who the hell these people were and why they called you "toaster guy."

4:22 PM:

That one friend you went to high school with who turned into a huge stoner leaves a link to a YouTube video of a cat jumping into a giant cardboard box. A few minutes later, they realize that it’s actually your birthday, and then awkwardly comment on the link to hope you had a good one. This illusion would work, if they didn’t send you a cat video at the same time every, single, day.

4:35 PM:

That one girl you think might have feelings for you posts on your wall. If she writes anything besides "stop stalking me" then she does indeed like you. Jump on it, Tonto.

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5-8 PM:

The prospective lull in the day. Most of your friends actually have more interesting things to do in their lives than acknowledge another year of your existence. At this point in time, distant relatives will find their way to your wall of birthday joy, and add on to it with an embarrassing memory, story, or failed attempt at fancy new age slang. And while there might not be as many posts as there were earlier in the day, you’ll still be kept busy untagging yourself from ugly baby pictures ( the only type of baby picture that is allowed on Facebook: seriously, read the fine print) and various embarrassing videos that made their way onto the internet over the years.

8-10 PM:

Much like those who posted between the hours of 6 and 10 am, these people are desperately looking for a way to procrastinate their homework. This will lead them back to your Facebook wall, which has now become the talk of the newsfeed (hopefully). Maybe this is their second go-round posting on your wall, but at this point they’re doing whatever possible to avoid work. Despite the lack of sentiment, take pride in the fact that for a brief moment in time, you were responsible for someone not getting shit done.

10-11:59 PM:

The homestretch of the Birthday. You’ve finally crafted a witty status thanking everyone for their birthday posts. Now you can sit back and watch the "likes" roll in, laughing like a super villain as each blue thumbs up appears in the bottom left corner of your screen. This is also where the real fuck ups will be found to peruse your wall. These people were either determined to ignore you throughout the day before finally succumbing to the conformity, or part of the dwindling minority that somehow didn’t find their way onto Facebook until this late. At this point, you really don’t care about these folks, you’re still thinking about that girl who wrote on your wall four hours ago. Maybe you should go find her number.

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