RSVP comes from the French phrase, “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.” When it comes to event planning, the host would like the guests to reply and tell them whether or not they will attend.
In this day and age, with the exception of weddings, most people don’t see the value of a timely reply. Not only does it help the host prepare the party space and amount of food, replying is really common courtesy.
Other times, people reply with a “yes” and do not write the event onto a calendar. At the very last moment, there happens to be a scheduling conflict, and someone loses out. I completely understand since I too have a busy schedule, and I also fall prey to wanting to please everyone by saying “yes” to all the social events I am invited to. In reality, we have to say “no” to something! Please don’t say you’ll go out of guilt, when you know you really cannot. This will do more harm than good.
Here are a few tips that have helped me in recent years as far as keeping track of events and also what to do when you cannot attend, but are still feeling guilty.
1. Write events on more than one calendar. For me, this means placing on my mobile phone calendar and then also syncing it with my email calendar. For really important events, I also set two alerts, with one being a day or two on advance.
2. Reply by the deadline, not when you know for sure. If by the deadline you do not know, the answer is “no”.
3. Don’t reply with a “yes” to be nice. Reply because you actually plan to (and want to) go.
4. Don’t feel badly about what you cannot afford. Weddings, for instance can cost a lot to attend with hotels, flights, attire, and a gift. If this is out of budget, be honest and express your regrets. Save yourself hundreds or even thousands by staying home– but splurge a little on a very nice gift and a heartfelt card. I would rather spend $200 I can afford on a nice gift, than $1500 I cannot afford and will regret later!
5. Communicate. Maybe you could go before and things have changed. Even if this means ten minutes before the event, let the host know!
6. Ask if it is okay to bring additional guests. This one may be obvious to some, but let me add this: my home is my private and personal space. Uninvited guests shouldn’t be there by surprise. I would like to know in advance so I can decide if it is appropriate for additional people to be at my home (this really applies to any event, however).
7. Be on time, or warn the host you will be late.
I hope these tips can help you whether you’re in the position of being the guest or the host. You would be surprised and how positively a little courtesy can effect your relationships– personal, or business.