RSVP Explained

I’ve talked about RSVP, the translation and what it means before, but since then I’ve received questions from people regarding it a little more. More commonly the question is, “When can I back out of an RSVP?” To be honest, only in the event of an emergency. If you receive a “better” invitation, that’s not the appropropriate time to back out of an RSVP’d event.

Backing out after accepting an invitation is telling your would-have-been hosts that something more appealing came up. By sending a positive RSVP, you are, in truth, forgoing any other options that may be presented to you later. Acceptable cirumstances you would be able to later decline would include becoming sick orĀ having a child or a dependent become sick. It would not include having a friend decide to come to visit last minute or that you received a party invite that seemed more fun.

I know this may all sound harsh, but the truth is, when someone extends you an invitation, they aren’t just trying to fill a seat. They want you there. And it is, to be blunt, rude when you initially accept and then back out once something “better” has come along.

All of that being said, the people who are asking the question are not people I consider rude. I think this is just a case of people living busy lives and time being limited. This is not a generational thing either. It’s a culturalĀ  and societal problem.We glorify busyness for the sake of being busy and think that if you can survive without caffeine, you’re not doing enough. We live in a time where store are open 24/7 so that we are never without. We don’t have to wait for anything, adding to the instant gratification issue. Heaven forbid anyone who has a cell phone not answer a call or text. We are held hostage in our lives.

I say we all deserve better. We deserve months that aren’t so packed with activities that we don’t know what to do with an evening off. Consideration of other people’s time starts with consideration of our own. Do not feel pressured to accept every invitaiton you receive. You don’t need to give a reason. Simply let them know you will not be able to attend. That being said, have respect for any invitation you do accept and make sure to attend.

So, how far out do you need to send your reply? Unless a date is stated, two weeks prior to an event is a solid amount of time to give the hosts time to prepare. Let’s all do our part to send our reply from this point forward. Thank you for reading!

Author: eglass

I’m a wife to Garrett, mother to two littles and a lover of etiquette.

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