Don’t Be Rude; Please RSVP!


I dropped by my neighbor’s house the other day and was pleasantly surprised when she offered me the cutest little dessert. She had a whole tray of them sitting on her kitchen counter. I asked her what the occasion was. She told me she hosted a Book Club that morning for a group of spouses on base and had a lot of leftovers. I was very impressed that she took on such a task considering she had just moved in to her house. Unpacking and settling into a new house is difficult enough, much less hosting Book Club and somehow finding time to actually read the book.

Unfortunately for her, only a handful of people showed up to the event — an event where more than 30 people had been invited. On top of that, only a few people had responded letting her know they couldn’t make it. As a result, she had assumed the rest would be in attendance and therefore made enough food for the whole lot.

I could feel my blood starting to boil as she told me the situation. I have had this happen to me several times, and it is a big pet peeve. My neighbor is now hesitant to host Book Club again and rightfully so. I’d be hard pressed to ever want to extend an invitation a second time to anyone who did that to me.

Have we all forgotten what RSVP means?

RSVP is the abbreviated form of the French Repondez S’il Vous Plait, or in English, “Please reply.”

I remember getting birthday party invites in the mail as a kid and my mom making me pick up the phone to call the hosts to let them know my response. I hated talking on the phone and would always get so nervous — especially if I had to decline the invite. You know what though? I’d go practice my lines a few times, put my big girl panties on, and make the call no matter how anxious I was.

It was just the right thing to do.

Nowadays most invites are electronic, so there is absolutely no reason to even speak in person with the host until you arrive at the party. This has completely eliminated phone anxiety. Text and email have made responding so simple that it just shows a lack of courtesy and a touch of rudeness when an invitation is left without a response.

I have been burned one too many times by people neglecting to click a single button on their smart phone to let me know if they are attending my event or not, so I have taken to calling people out when they don’t respond.

Common Responses for not RSVPing …

“Oh, I figured you knew I was coming!”

How in the world would I know you are coming if you did not respond to the invitation? I am not a mind reader.

“I wasn’t sure I could attend that day.”

Well friend, that’s why there was a “maybe” option on the invite. Now you and your 17 children have to share one slice of cake because there ain’t enough to go around!

“I forgot.”

This is a lame excuse, and it is also very inconsiderate. When you saw the invitation you either knew that you wanted to go or you didn’t. It is that simple.

Some Advice …

If you have used any of these excuses or frequently ignore the line on the invitation requesting a reply, then please pay close attention to the reasons you should always, 100% of the time, respond to an invitation.

  • The host is requesting you respond by including RSVP in the invitation; therefore, you should respond!
  • The host wants you to attend her event, which is why she invited you. It is as if she is throwing her hand up for a high-five and you are just leaving her hanging up there forever when you don’t respond. Totally not cool. Be a good friend, please respond!
  • Planning and hosting a party takes time and money. Don’t let the host get burned on costs because you were too lazy to respond, while she made sure there was enough beer and steak for you anyway.

A Little Help For You …

The book, Service Etiquette by Cherlynn Conetsco and Anna Hart**, states that invitations must be answered within 48 hours and RSVPing is a mandatory etiquette for guests. That should be reason enough for you to respond. I also believe that showing up to the event is just as important as responding to the invitation. If you say you will be there, then be there; and be there on time!

As a mom, I do find exception to this rule in extreme cases. For instance, if you replied that you would be attending a child’s birthday party with your little one, but the day before your child contracts hand-foot-mouth disease, DO NOT ATTEND THAT BIRTHDAY PARTY! That child does not want your child’s illness for his birthday! Send the host a quick message and apologize for the late reply. 

It is 2017, let’s all utilize the technology around us and never leave a host wondering if we are going to grace his or her with our presence.

**By the way, this book is on the First Lady of the Marine Corps Recommended Reading List. **


  1. Amen. We had a similar situation when we threw a party several years back–so many late/non-existent responses, no-shows, last minute cancellations, etc. Ironically, one of the guilty parties complained to me about the same issue when they hosted a party a few weeks later. I remember thinking, “see, now you get it”. ?

    I almost wonder if technology has made us *less* accountable?

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