RSVPs: Don’t do that. Do this instead

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*


Who doesn’t love a party?RSVPs: Don't do that. Do this instead
I suppose that’s a loaded question because some people don’t actually ‘love a party’. But there the invitation sits: on your mantel, in your inbox, lurking in your voicemail.

So, whether you can’t wait to arrive, and out stay your welcome (that’s a different post), or you want to make a brief appearance and leave early, you need to reply to the invitation.

Neglect to RSVP: DON’T DO THAT
These days the idea of letting your host know that you are (or are not) going to attend an event – an event to which you have been so graciously invited – seems to be something that people think is ‘optional’.

It’s not.

I repeat, not replying is not optional.

Whether it’s a wedding, an office event or a backyard BBQ, if you’ve been invited you MUST reply.

I’m just one person, what difference does it make?
Imagine if everyone thought that…and I have seen it happen.

No matter what kind of event you’re invited to, your host not only wants to know but needs to know who will be attending. How else will they know how many places to set, how many hotdogs to throw on the BBQ, or how many party hats to buy?

Mainly because this is the polite thing to do but also because often hosts are working with limited space and send invitations out in waves. Therefore, they need to know if you are going to attend or not. If you are going to attend, wonderful! Say yes, and secure your place. If you’re not, then let your host know so that your seat can be offered to third cousin Fortesque.

The best thing to do is to reply as soon as you receive the invitation – don’t just look at it and think, I’ll do that later. You won’t. You’ll get distracted and forget. I guarantee it.

If you are truly unsure about whether you can make it, but want to keep the option open, then call your host and explain. Once you have done that, make sure you update them when you have a firm answer (either way). NOTE: this should only be done if there is a legitimate reason, not just because you’re waiting for something better/different to come along.

We’re old friends, I can just show up, or not.
Under no circumstances should you:

  • Be a ‘no show’ if you have RSVPed yes
  • Show up if you have RSVPed no.
  • Show up if you haven’t replied!

Stand out from the crowd.
Be that guest for the right reasons:

  • RSVP on or before the date requested
  • Use the method requested: telephone, email, reply card, online form, etc
  • Make sure to include all information requested (guest name for your ‘plus one’, dietary/allergy information; meal option, if required). Don’t add to your host’s work load by making them chase you for answers
  • If you need to change your RSVP make sure to do so as soon as you are able

Party like it’s 1999 (when people replied to invitations)
Keep these nuggets in mind:

  • Your host didn’t have to invite you
  • The more often you don’t respond to invitations, the fewer times you will be invited
  • You show your host kindness and consideration by replying, and replying quickly
  • Once you get there – join in and enjoy the party!


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Your Stories
We’ve all fallen foul of rude or thoughtless behaviour…sometimes it’s even we who have been guilty of it.

If you have a story you’d like to share, please feel free to send me a note using the contact form and I’ll include it here.


*What is this series about?
Have you ever had your relationship with a colleague, client or boss change suddenly – and not for the better? Yet you’ve not been able to put your finger on why.

Small actions. Big Impact.
I’ve always maintained that some of the smallest things we do often have the biggest impact on how our professionalism is viewed.  In this series, “Don’t do that. Do this instead.”, I help you avoid the tiny (and not so tiny) things that can trip you up and place barriers between you and your success.

Small bites for easy digestion.
Each entry is intended to cover one small piece of a larger topic. However, even though seemingly small, each and every action has a big impact.