Decline or Commit

Myth: It isn’t necessary to respond to invitations.
Solution: Always respond when you receive an invitation! When you invite others, pick up the phone and call those you don’t receive a response from.

The answer to, “Do I really have to RSVP when I get an invitation?” is an overwhelming, “YES!”

To RSVP means (in french) "répondez s'il vous plait," or please reply.

What has happened to our culture regarding the common courtesy of RSVPing?

I believe that people are sometimes thoughtless, or careless. They focus on themselves and if they decide not to accept an invitation, they don’t think to be courteous enough to let the hostess know.

It could also be that our culture is not used to “hostessing” in general. Neighbors seem to keep to themselves most of the time; they don’t drop in unannounced like they did in the pioneer days, when you were then expected to serve them. We’re all very scheduled now and most of us don’t even know our neighbors. If we do, most of us just talk to them over the fence or at our kids’ games, and never think to have them into our more intimate home setting.

This reminds me of my friend Rhoda, over at Southern Hospitality. Rhoda branched out and planned a brunch for all of her neighbors. Here is what she wrote about the outcome. Or you can check out her post here!

The invitation said, "Come & Meet Your Neighbors". Our goal was to get several of our neighbors together to at least meet & get familiar with others who live nearby on our street. I can't say it was a smashing success, since we invited 16 families & 4 came out. Only one called to say they couldn't make it, but thought it was a great idea. The other 11 didn't respond at all. I think times have changed & people are just not as neighborly anymore. I remember when folks used to take time to get to know their neighbors & be friendly, but it seems that today, most just don't have the time or inclination to do that. And, it's OK...I'm glad we made the effort anyway. We have 2 great neighbors on either side of us who came over & we enjoyed visiting with them. They are both good friends with each other anyway & their kids are in school together. A sweet older couple in their 80's came from down the street. One other guy came over from across the street with his 2 young sons, but his wife was exhausted from giving a birthday party, so didn't make it. I'm glad we tried it, although I may not be that ambitious again in hosting another one. Maybe something smaller next time, with those who seem to be interested in doing that?

Rhoda had told me that she was planning this event. I was so excited for her, and actually it motivated me to think about doing the same in my neighborhood, because there are several neighbors that I would like to meet! But after reading that 11 people didn’t respond, I got a little skittish myself.

My solution is to pick up the phone and call the people whom I have not heard back from. I feel like a sleuth when I do this, but in this day in age I don’t see any way around it. Because the way I plan my parties, dinner parties in particular, I like to know exactly who is coming and what they are bringing.

If you receive an invitation, respond immediately. Don’t teeter-totter, because it’s insulting to your hostess. How do you expect someone to plan a menu when they don’t know how many guests they are cooking for?

Commit or send your regrets!

How can we change this trend?

(Some people write on an invitation, “Regrets Only,” which means you only call the hostess if you cannot come. So, read your invitation carefully! You may not have to call at all. )


Barb said...

I'm actually debating picking up the phone and calling some who are invited to our daughter's wedding, people I suspect have just forgotten to return the response card and will likely show up anyway. It would just help with the planning to know they're coming if they are! Hmmm....

Sandy said...

Barb, our card is in the mail(mailed last week). We had to decline, but we wrote on the card that we are NOT thrilled about it!

Sue said...

I'm so glad I found you! (or you me-whatever)
This is great information and encouragement.
I had a party last week because my son is going into the Air Force and we invited friends to come wish him well. I had forgotten how nice it was to have a houseful of people. We had really backed off while my husband was pastoring the church.
Long story, but I am thankful for the encouragement.

Becca said...

Sandy, what a great post. I still drop in on neighbors un-announced (but maybe only once...judging by their reactions). I actually heard a woman talk about how she didn't think she should have to talk to her neighbors. After all, they weren't her friends, she just lived by them, that's all!

Elise said...

I love this post - it's something that has been a source of confusion and hurt in the past, but in more recent years, I've come up with a solution that works for me!

As much as possible, I hand-deliver my invitations. I get to look right into their eyes and see (a) excitement and a "yes", or (b) non-comittal expressions, no eye-contact.

This is usually for stamping parties, pampered chef, etc., but as for dinner parties, we've always used the phone - I would love to hand-deliver invitations for something like that! I realize that this is virtually impossible for weddings, though.

And the years have also taught me just what you said - neighbors keep to themselves, and people are so busy with work and outside activities that sit down dinners or plan-ahead events are unusual. So I take any lack of interest or response with a grain of salt - no hurt feelings for me anymore.

Great post!

Julie said...

The year we moved into our new neighborhood, (2003) we got together with 2 other new neighbors and hosted the main meal portion of a street-wide progressive dinner. We invited every single family on our street. It was a great way to get to know our neighbors.

I'll never understand why some people don't RSVP. But I'm like you, at a certain point, you've simply got to know who's attending, so you call them!

Nadine said...

Great post. It is a lost art form. But you're so right it helps the host prepare for how many guest. It's always good to reply.

Rhoda said...

Sandy, of course I don't mind you mentioning my recent ordeal with the neighbors. I think you are right on with your pleas to tell people to please respond when they get invitations. It is just downright rude to totally ignore an invitation when someone invites you into their home.

Thankfully, ours was a dessert party, so it wasn't like I had tons of food that went to waste. I had asked everyone to bring their favorite dessert & I made a homemade cheesecake. The 2 neighbors on either side of us we had already gotten friendly with & they came over with goodies in hand, so it made me happy that they made the effort.

But, like we have talked about, it just seems that we as a society are so busy with our schedules & lives that we don't take the time to get to know our neighbors as much as we used to & that's a sad situation. We could all use support & encouragement close to home, especially if you have fellow Christians around you like we do. And not to even mention those who are not, what an impact we might have on those folks.

Thanks, Sandy, for your continuing encouragment for all of us to show hospitality & friendliness to our neighbors. I'm not giving up, just rethinking it. In fact, I have just volunteered to be in charge of the Social activities of the neighborhood on behalf of our Neighborhood Home Owners Association, so it's likely I'll be meeting a lot of new folks in the near future!

Southern Hospitality

Melissa R. Garrett said...

I remember Hannah's first birthday party - a HUGE celebration, of course, being my 1st child's 1st birthday. Many of those who told me they were coming never showed, and I was left feeling angry and disappointed. Imagine if Hannah had been old enough to actually care about her guests?!

GiBee said...

OH!!! GRRR!!! This is soooo a pet peeve of mine! I'm right there with you!

Also, I tagged you for a meme... c'mon over and check out the details:


Tammy said...

This was such a good post...a good reminder to all of us in this day and age to not only RSVP...but to be neighborly and courteous! I sometimes long for those simpler days before my time when folks were better at this!
(Good for your friend for at least trying!)

La Tea Dah said...

Sandy, how awesome to have a yard filled with J & P roses! They are the very best and you are fortunate to live in the capital of the best roses in the world! My DH is a landscaper --- and he only plants that brand. I would love to see your yard --- it sounds lovely!

Jill Norwood said...

I think we've just become sort of "faceless" as a whole due to the ease of email, etc. In-person contact makes people uncomfortable. Saying "no", the same. I would never think of not responding. Ever. I call it rude, but I guess some people have just not been taught any differently. I try not to take it personally...

Jami said...

Nice post!!! My dad raised us, so I learned zilch about etiquette from my family...didn't know about thank you cards until I was a late teen.

Maybe if we didn't write it in French, people might reply?? :) This is a lost grace to be sure.

Thanks, Sandy!!!

Christine said...

I always RSVP. It's so rude when people don't!! Love your new header!

see you there! said...

I used to do Corporate Event Planning and RSVP's were never a measure of who actually showed up. People RSVP'd yes and didn't show, people didn't RSVP at all and came anyhow. The funny thing is somehow the numbers seemed to even out pretty well.

I rarely give huge dinner parties anymore as I like to do all the cooking and have a sit down dinner. I like to have a group of 4 to 8 and I usually extend the invitation by phone. We do occasionally have an "open house", one in the summer and one in the winter. We don't ask for an RSVP to that... as it kind of defies the idea of "open house". History has given me a pretty good idea of how many to expect - even tho it isn't the same people who get invited each year.

I love parties ! ! ! !