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The Illusive RSVP

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Receiving an invitation is an honor. The host obviously decided to include you. How you show your appreciation is to reply happily and as soon as possible.

Most of us know whether we want to attend the party, dinner, or wedding soon as we open the invitation; we get an instant pang in our gut of either joy or dread. So why do some of us wait to decide until the very last minute, or completely dismiss it?  We don’t want to commit; something better may come up, or we just won’t feel like being around those people that night.

Not too long ago reply cards were considered improper, even offensive and insulting. As our lives became busier, recipients no longer had the time to sit down and hand write a reply … hostesses could not risk not receiving responses; they began to send reply cards. It has even become necessary to include a “reply by” date.

You can consider, decide, and reply within three days of receiving an invitation to a dinner, party, or picnic. An invitation to a more elaborate event, especially if it requires travel or securing a babysitter, can be delayed for a week or so. The “reply by” date is included only to assure that the host has time to make arrangements and meet deadlines.

When you don’t reply, you:

  • disappoint others
  • affect the seating chart
  • become unpopular
  • may stop getting invited
  • may hold up dinner
  • may miss out on a romantic liaison or business connection
  • cause unrecoverable time, expense, and energy to the host
  • may have caused others to be excluded
  • give the impression that you are ambiguous and self-important
  • may expect the same treatment
  • lose credibility


In the business world, it can cost you much more. 

With so many methods of communication, there is no excuse for anyone’s lack of reply. Naturally, unexpected life changes or emergencies are to be considered.  Next time you receive an invitation, think about the message you want to send; blow it off or graciously reply within the requested time frame.

Don’t be a dope, reply yes or nope!

A dinner invitation, once accepted, is a sacred obligation. 
If you die before the dinner takes place, your executor must attend
.”
-Ward McAllister, mid-1800’s attorney

Okay, a bit inflexible and severe, but Mr. McAllister makes his point.

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