crying on birthday

We asked a psychologist why girls always cry on their birthday

Cake, presents and tears??

Your birthday is meant to be the greatest day of your year. There’s cake, endless prosecco, presents and you have the right to make everything about you without seeming like a stuck up, selfish individual. And yet for some reason the day will always include tears.

Whether it’s the minute you open up those cards, getting ready for your party, slicing into the cake or just a moment of down time – at some point you are going to burst into tears. It could just be the odd tear, but usually it’s full on blubbering. There are times when you know exactly why you’re crying. Your best friend doesn’t show up to your bottomless brunch or your ex messages to say “Happy Birthday” and you’re reminded of why you broke up and here come the tears.However sometimes without any real explanation you will just cry on your birthday. And it’s ok, we all do it.

On TikTok there are many videos of girls saying they always cry on their birthdays. One video featuring a guy saying “girls who cry on their birthday are hot, but girls who know a week in advance that they will inevitably cry on their birthday are hotter” has been viewed over 3 million times. The comment section was full of people agreeing with him and saying “its a tradition at this point”.

@christianradameFr♬ original sound – <3

So why do our birthdays reduce us tears? We asked psychologist Dr Tara Quinn-Cirillo exactly why a day celebrating our arrival into this world makes us want to cry.

She said birthdays are an important day as they offer a chance to reflect on our lives, “As birthdays are a significant date we may therefore use them as ‘landmarks’ for what was occurring at the time e.g. this time last year I was doing X, achieved X, was working at X or looking forward to X. We may reflect on our age, comparisons with others, we may be lonely or in a very different situation to last year.”

And it’s not the only reason for our tears, Dr Quinn-Cirillo suggests birthdays also contain powerful memories and reflecting on those can be painful.

She said: “Birthdays often signify a lot for people- not just the anniversary of being born. For many it can be a time to reflect or even reevaluate the years before.

“There can be many powerful memories associated with birthdays past and perhaps this lost or who are no longer in our lives.”

There’s also the social media comparison factor to consider. Seeing other people’s birthdays on Instagram and TikTok filled “with images of parties, cakes, numerous friends, people surprising people with presents and big gestures. This may lead us to reflect negatively on our own lives and situations,” Dr Quinn-Cirillo said.

Often people will find themselves crying for no reason on their birthday. They are having a lovely day and suddenly boom – tears. Dr Quinn-Cirillo said it is actually quite normal to cry on your birthday due to the sheer emotion of the whole day and as crying is an emotional response it doesn’t always have to be negative.

“Sometimes the mere fact of a birthday can make us emotional- the overwhelm of the birthday itself. There can be metaphorical pressure to plan, host, fit lots in to one day. So crying on your birthday is actually pretty normal.

“Crying is really just an emotional release. When you cry your brain releases certain chemicals which reduce emotional distress and pain. So while it may have negative connotations, it is actually a useful and normal thing.”

However Dr Quinn-Cirillo also suggests making sure the birthday crying is not part of a “wider dip in mood that may signify depression or other issues”.

If you are unsure or feel like reaching out for help please contact The Samaritans or your GP.

Anyone can contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit. This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email or visit to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of our trained volunteers face to face.

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