Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg and the young geniuses of Facebook, we were introduced to the idea that “Maybe” is an appropriate answer to an invitation. And, sometimes, that actually is sufficient – but not usually. Yes I am human and I have broken some of the commandments I’ll be sharing, so no need to shout at me about logs in your eyes, etc. I am trying to be better about RSVPing. As an author, I get invited to a lot of events for book launches, etc., all over the world. And I know that often the host knows I can’t be there, but they’re just trying to spread the word about their new book. I try to open those invites and reply with a no and good wishes. A reply is the operative word. Reply, response, answer. You don’t really want the ghost of Charlton Heston to come after you, right? Manners matter.
Here are some basic things to think about when you are invited to an event. First of all, for those who don’t know, RSVP, means “répondez s’il vous plaît,” which is French for “please respond.” Note: it is not French for, “open the invitation, look at it, and promptly forget about it or to answer.” If you know when you open it that you can or can not go, do your host a favor and reply yes or no. If you are uncertain, do whatever you do to remind yourself to get back to the invite in a day or two with your answer. If you don’t do anything to remind yourself, it’s time to find that thing that works for you. So…..mark your calendar to reply. Send yourself a delayed email. Text yourself. Whatever you need to do to get back to the invite, well in advance of the event, please do it, and then reply with a yes or a no. If you have replied with a yes, mark all your calendars with details about the event so you don’t forget to show up. Please, avoid “maybe.” Maybe is a pretty inconsiderate RSVP which should be avoided whenever possible. It basically says to the host — I’ll be there if I feel like it. Or, I’ll be there if I don’t get a better offer. Or, I’ll be there if the weather doesn’t suck (sometimes necessary, but wouldn’t replying yes and writing a note to host with that information be more polite?).
And now, drumroll please, I offer you
The Ten Commandments of RSVPs in the Digital Age
- Thou shalt open and reply to every invitation thou receivest. Manners mattereth much. (Modern English M.E.: Got an RSVP invite? Reply. Do it. Manners matter.)
- If thou knowest not thy response upon opening invitation, thou wilst mark thy calendar to reply promptly after checking with friends/spouse/babysitter/hamster watcher/place of employment for conflicts. (M.E.: If you don’t know your answer, create a reminder for yourself to a) check any conflicts, b) mark your calendar to reply after conflicts/lack thereof are determined.)
- If thou respondeth in the affirmative, thou wilst mark thy calendars to remember to attend the event. (M.E.: Said yes? Mark your calendar so you remember to attend.)
- If thou respondeth in the negative, thou wilst simply say, “No,” and thy responsibilities are fulfilled. (M.E.: Can’t go? Said no? You are done.)
- If thou respondeth “maybe,” thou ist an inconsiderate lout, in most cases. The Divine Creator of said commandments doth offer certain reasonable exceptions, but hath discovered that many humans abuseth the privilege. Thou shouldst avoid being an abuser of privileges. (M.E.: Maybes suck as an answer. It’s a non-answer. Avoid it whenever possible.)
- If thou hath read these commandments and still hath not opened all thine invitations, thou shouldst return to commandment one and proceedeth again. (If you’ve read to this point and know you haven’t opened all your invites, maybe it’s time to go back to commandment one and then do that.)
- Thou shalt be a responsible and considerate community member. (M.E.: Really, you need that translated?)
- Thou shalt treat the phrase “RSVP” as an action phrase. Though wilst reply. (M.E.: See RSVP? Respond. Yea or nay)
- Thou wilst not mutter cantankerous phrases against thy host, even when thou canst abide said host or wouldst prefer stepping into a pit of fire than attending the event. Thou wilst keep mean thoughts in thine head. Mean thoughts doeth not deserve utterance from thy tongue or fingers on thy multiple devices. Thou shouldst replyeth in the negative immediately and forgetteth the invitation. (M.E.: Can’t stand the host and/or would rather die than go their event? Keep it to yourself and reply no.)
- Thou wilst shareth these commandments with others thou knowest to spread the good news. A good and proper way existeth to handle the mysterious abundance of RSVP invites in the digital age thou livest in. (M.E. – Spread the word that there are ways to handle the abundance of RSVP invites in our digital age.)