They didn’t respond to your party invitation. It may be time to cross them off your list

By | March 11, 2024

ASK: Should I really be upset that some of my guests didn’t respond to my party invitation? I asked if they needed to sign up by a certain date, and after that day was over, I didn’t know what to do. I finally called them but some still didn’t answer and weren’t there. Is there a better way to invite people to a party?

CALLIE’S RESPONSE: I understand forgetting to respond, but a phone call or text message reminder helps! I would be upset if they didn’t respond after calling and never showed up. That’s inconsiderate when someone is trying to figure out numbers for a party.

LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: Feeling hurt is a normal reaction, but it doesn’t have to be the only one. It was a good move to call them if they missed the RSVP date; people are so overwhelmed and distracted these days that even doctor’s offices, hair salons, etc. have to remind us of appointments. One outlet I know will continually call or text until you confirm the appointment; I get annoyed when I have to call them back to say, “Yes, I’m coming to the appointment I made YESTERDAY.”

You won’t be annoying if you follow them; you’ve planned a fun get-together with friends and people aren’t responding. You need the information so you can plan food, drinks, table settings (if necessary), etc., and it’s rude and frustrating that they ignored that. I’m so sorry, and I know it’s even worse that they didn’t come even after the second warning. If you can help it, don’t analyze why, just plan as best you can and adjust your numbers accordingly. Finally, enjoy the guests who came because they really wanted to be there, and the fun aspects of party planning. It takes a lot of effort, and hosting your friends is a meaningful way to connect! Congratulations for taking that on!

HELENS ANSWER: Replying to a party invitation is important because it tells the host how much food and drinks are needed for the number of guests coming to the event. Most people understand that and respond accordingly. For the few who don’t understand, call them or text them to make sure they got the invite. For those who call or text you and still don’t answer, consider this a ‘no’ for whatever reason.

Your method of inviting them and then reminding them is fine. If you invite them again and they don’t respond, it might be time to revise your list. Getting angry or irritated at the lack of respect shown in this circumstance is justified because your feelings are important, but try not to let it consume your thoughts. The guests who can come and enjoy your party are very important! Concentrate on them!

GUEST REPLY: Adrienne Nobles, vice president for communications and public affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma and president of the Junior League of Oklahoma City 2023-2024: I certainly understand being frustrated when guests don’t sign up for a party. Knowing how many people plan to attend is important when planning the details of an event, such as food, drinks and location. Registering for an event is also a respectful thing.

Your question, however, is whether you should “really be angry.” My answer is no – especially for your own peace and well-being. As valid as it may feel, anger is rarely very productive and can have more impact on the person who is angry than on the source of the anger. This does not necessarily mean forgetting about the action or avoiding responsibility. After the event, consider sending an email or text that says, “I missed you at my party. I would like to invite you to future meetings. What’s the best way to get an invite?” And if they don’t respond to invites, share your frustration and disappointment and be prepared to potentially leave them off the invite list in the future.

All this said, in our increasingly media-heavy world it is sometimes difficult to cut through the communication clutter. Attention spans are short and social media algorithms can be unpredictable. To maximize the chances of a response, I suggest using an online invitation platform like Paperless Post, which is a bit more elevated in appearance and delivery and offers options to schedule reminders as the event gets closer. I also suggest using multiple touchpoints. So in addition to an e-invite, consider sending a follow-up text message with an image of the invitation and/or sending a printed invitation, if budget allows.

Most importantly, celebrate the friends who choose to accept your invitations and enjoy hosting them at your event!

Since 2009, Callie, Lillie-Beth and Helen have written this column on generational etiquette. They also feature guest comments each week from a wide range of ages. So many years later, Callie is twenty-something; Lillie-Beth is over 40 and Helen is over 60. If you would like to ask an etiquette question, please email helen.wallace@cox.net.

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: If no RSVP is received, please reach out and consider removing them from your list

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