The Elusive RSVP

Why do we blindly continue to have faith in the flawed communication method of the RSVP? We have all been on both sides of that corroded coin. As a host, we depend on it to properly plan an event. It doesn’t matter the level of event, a large formal wedding or a small informal dinner party, it’s the first step to ensuring a successful party. As a guest, we are expected to have good manners by simply responding with a yes or a no. Sounds easy, right? Well, there is a lot at play here: psychology, selfishness, upbringing, culture, generational gaps, manners, pride.

Firstly, let’s chat about intentions. After receiving an invitation; paper, digital, or verbal, I always have the best intention to respond quickly to show my support, but somehow my subconscious just won’t let me. I suddenly become paralyzed with indecision. Maybe, intuitively I refuse to be tied down and commit myself to those four dreadful letters. For starters, it’s French, répondez s'il vous plait, how ostentatious. Secondly, after receiving an invitation, I feel the need to weigh my options. As harsh as that may sound, that is our mode of operation: to only commit when there are no other options. Yes, we have busy schedules and previous commitments, but the bottom line is we’ll change plans to suit our own needs first. Thirdly, there are real excuses too, but let’s be honest, those can be hollow.

So, what’s the problem and how can we fix it? Why can’t we respond with a simple YES or NO? I don’t have a solution because I am the first to fall short, but I do know that it all starts with community. When we raise our level of care for our own personal community, family, and friends, we will revive a sense of intentional, sincere, and meaningful obligation to each other. These are the actions that bind us together with profound loyalty which in turn will help us RSVP in time. Easy!