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Na-na-na-na! Na-na-na-na! Hey, hey, hey! Good bye.

A friend had invited me and my husband to a cookout at her home, along with another couple they were friends with (that we didn’t know).  The other couple never showed up to the cookout—neither did they call or in any way contact the hosting couple about where they were, if something happened to them—just nothing.  Understandably, hosting-wife was worried that something had happened and tried to get in touch with no-show couple, but to no avail.

Several weeks go by with no contact between the two couples—hosting-wife had tried a few more times to reach them.  One day, hosting-husband bumped into no-show-husband at the local mall, and asked no-show what happened that day.  No-show-husband’s explanation?  “We decided to go shopping that day.”  When asked by hosting husband if they’d forgotten or lost track of time, he simply said, “No”.  That was it, the whole explanation, spoken without a single iota of regret or apology or further explanation, as if that was a perfectly acceptable reason to ditch a previously confirmed invitation.  This was not a formal event by any means, but still—in my world and most people’s that I know of, if you say you’ll be there, then you show up unless there is an unforeseen emergency that prevents it, at which point or soon thereafter, you contact the host and let them know what happened.

My friend and her husband are no longer in contact with that couple;  as my friend says, she saw where she ranked on the totem pole with them and chose to no longer socialize with them.  This happened several years ago and my friend and I are still in awe that someone was that rude and unabashedly dense about broadcasting it to the world.   0517-11

Good riddance to bad guests!  The best revenge is to just continue hosting the best parties and live life sans rude people.

I’ve known people over the decades who will bitterly complain of being lonely or socially out of the loop.   I eventually discover why after they display a casual disregard for any sort of commitment to their rsvp (if they do it at all) and a total lack of gratitude or reciprocity.   They end up slowly being dropped from future guest lists in favor of people I know what to come.


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  • Sally May 25, 2011, 2:41 pm

    I always knew that lots of people don’t know the correct ettiquette in RSVP’ing, and I’ve had my share of parties, etc, where they would tell you they were coming and not show up, however, the worst was last summer when my husband and I threw a post wedding BBQ for our son and his new wife. I mailed out invitations and gave both a website and phone number for the guests to RSVP, as well as a date needed. Not only did only about half RSVP by the date required, and us having to follow up with the others, but after all RSVP’s were received, about 25 people who had accepted didn’t show up. I was livid, as the BBQ was catered and I was required to tell them how many dinners would be needed and pay that amount. I told my son that the ones who accepted, but didn’t bother to show would never be invited to anything that I hosted again. (Because, of course, most of them were his friends).

  • Maitri May 26, 2011, 3:20 pm

    @ Cat ~ isn’t “No” a complete sentence, as stated on this very site? I wouldn’t think he would be required to give a reason…

    When I was about 10, my parents planned a New Year’s Eve party. Dozens of people RSVP’ed “yes” and my folks went nuts buying food, cooking, shopping, and the booze table groaned under the weight of all of the bottles. Only 2 couples showed up. Even now, 25 years later, I still remember the embarrassment that they felt and how awful I felt for them.

    I’ve only hosted parties a couple of times because of that experience. I’m always a nervous wreck about people saying they’ll come and then not coming and then I’d feel like a loser, so I don’t want to try. My husband has been working at getting me to get over that feeling.

    • Cat August 31, 2015, 9:51 pm

      I just read this and, although it is old, I feel I should clarify it for you.
      “No” is a full sentence, but, if you will read what I wrote, I never suggested asking for an explanation. The reply I feel should be forthcoming for a refusal is, “No, thank you” or ” That’s very nice of you, but I can’t make it.”
      Now, look at those two sentences. What explanation is requested for refusing? None, right? The first simply thanks one for issuing the invitation and the other says I cannot attend. No reason is requested and none is given.
      If I had insisted, “Well, why not? What are you doing? Where are you going?”, those insist on an explanation. See the difference? Just answer yes or no.

  • Angie May 26, 2011, 3:30 pm

    I admit I have been guilty of the “I’ll see if I can make it” but sometimes with three kids 6 and under (one of whom has autism) there are times when, despite the best of intentions I can’t make it and don’t call until after the party is in full swing/over. Luckily my friends are understanding that the spirit is always willing for a party, but the flesh is sometimes weak.

    I totally appreciate the children’s birthday party thing. We just went through it earlier this month. Our oldest two have birthdays two days apart and we couldn’t afford to throw two birthday parties in the course of a week at one of the birthday places. We decided to do it at home. We hand made invitations, invited the whole class for the soon-to-be- four year old and soon-to be six year old. 1/2 of the parents never even responded. We rented a bounce house for the front yard (we didn’t have to pay per kid, so it didn’t matter who showed up) and then we held potato sack races, throwing competitions and let the kids play on the playset in the back yard. For gift bags, we had a pinata, and what you grabbed you got, plus an extra candy bar. That way I didn’t have to prepare anything (hand the kids bags and have at it) and had nothing really left over. Cake was cupcakes so we could send some home with kids for mom/dad/sibling with minimal mess.
    Kids said it was the best party they’d been to. And I didn’t have to worry about how many were coming or not or if anyone brought someone else….

    As to the original post, it is hard to tell what exactly happened. It might have nothing to do with the couple hosting the party and everything to do with the dynamics of the couple who didn’t attend (marital jealousy, having a huge fight prior and not wanting to fess up, etc). I chalk that up to situations I’ll never understand.

  • Mechtilde May 27, 2011, 7:54 am

    @ Angie- I think in your circumstances anyone with any decency will understand if you say that you will come if circumstances permit. I had a similar response from a good friend who suffers from Lupus, and has good days and bad days.

  • Jillybean June 5, 2011, 9:31 pm

    I agree with those saying “I’ll see if I can make it” isn’t always incorrect. Depending on the tone and the person it can be a brush off, or just a way of saying, “I’ll let you know.” And as long as an RSVP deadline has not yet passed, I don’t think a definite response is necessarily required. Sometimes we do need to check our calendars and obligations before committing to a social engagement.