If you’ve ever sent invitations for a party that included the beautiful French phrase “Répondez s’il vous plait,” you probably understand the frustration that follows. RSVP seems like an innocuous acronym, a standard set of letters if you will, on a request for someone to attend an event. Those four little letters stand in between you being excited to host guests and the reality that those letters usually are completely ignored.
The Emily Post Institute states that if you receive an invitation, you have an important obligation to reply as soon as possible. It also lists a variety of reasons guests may have to not respond. Here are some of the highlights:
- Simply forgetting.
- Waiting to respond and then feeling bad about it and delaying even longer.
- Waiting for something better to come along.
- Possessing the inability to say ‘no,’ which leads to not saying anything.
Okay, I added the last one because I know it exists. There are people who are so afraid to hurt someone’s feelings that they will not provide any type of response instead of giving one that is not in the affirmative.
No matter the reason, when invitees do not respond, relationships often suffer. If you’ve planned a party and received no responses, you have multiple choices of action:
- Cancel the party.
- Buy/fix whatever you like and see what happens when party time begins. If there is not enough food/activities/fun people, it doesn’t matter. Anyone who did not respond has no right to comment at that point.
- Call friends to see if they will attend so you can get an accurate headcount.
- Have the party and do not let non-responders enter if they do show.
This last option is pretty drastic and could lead to losing friendships. However, if you are pretty upset about people not responding to your invitation, you might not worry about losing those friends.
An article by Patrick Allan on lifehacker.com, “The Secret to Getting People to Actually Come to Your Party” gives the advice of over-planning every event to make it as easy as possible for attendees. Allan says, “The less they have to try, the more likely it is they are to commit.” His second piece of advice is “to continue to host, help, and provide information after people have already arrived.” This requires a lot of patience and a genuine love of planning get-togethers…and the ability to forget about those four little letters.