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Begging Guests To RSVP…..Don’t Do It

My sibling’s significant other does not RSVP to any invitation, whether the invitation is in print, emailed, or discussed person-to-person. Since I’m the one supplying the food and drinks, I need to know who’s going to be there, right? I want to call this person up and say, “ARE YOU ATTENDING OR NOT?” However, I don’t want to be pushy, or anger my sibling, or be rude. Frankly, though, I think that the significant other is being rude by not responding to an invitation. I never know whether this person will show up or not. Should I say anything to this person or just let it go? If I should say something to this person, what is the best way to say it? 0406-14

Not responding to an invitation is one of my personal peeves.   As if my meal planning and preparation, shopping, getting the house ready and sending invitations wasn’t enough, these people appear to expect me to come begging them for an answer.   Over the years I come to this conclusion, “If I have to contact you after the RSVP due date and beg you to give me an RSVP, any RSVP,  to my invitation, I made a mistake inviting you.”    And I don’t repeat that mistake twice.     There is a reason why some people sit at home lonely and are social outcasts.   Occasionally people have submitted stories to this site whining of having been left out of some cool event all their friends have been invited to and I wonder if the reason for the snub is they have been dismissive of previous invitations and what they are experiencing is the fallout of having been far too casual in RSVPing to prior invitations.

If you choose to continue sending invitations to your sibling’s SO,  I would plan on setting the table for the exact number of guests who actually had the courtesy to respond to your kind invitation.   If the SO deigns to attend your function, you greet him/her at the door thusly,  “Oh…..when I didn’t hear from you I assumed you were not coming.   Let me see if I can scrounge up an extra chair and place setting. ”   I would make it obviously awkward for this rude guest who has so little respect for you that he/she cannot be bothered to inform you of an intent to attend.


{ 78 comments… add one }
  • Eva April 14, 2014, 3:36 am

    In this particular case: would it be an option to send the invitations at “sibling and SO”? This would force your sibling to discuss any acceptance with his/her SO. I am not too sure about the etiquettte though, as SO seems not to live with your sibling.

    Although frankly: I would talk to my sibling about it and explain the need for an RSVP. And if those still do not come, stop sending invitations to SO. S/he does not seem to be terribly interested in coming anyway?

  • Eve_Eire April 14, 2014, 4:59 am

    That’s good advice. I do wonder though – are your sibling and their significant other not invited as a couple? Does your sibling not RSVP for their partner also or is that they RSVP for themselves and don’t know whether their partner is coming or not?

    I’ve just realised I’m assuming this is for an event they are both invited to but perhaps it’s a mens/ladies only event that you have invited just the partner to so my questions above would be irrelevant.

  • Ruby April 14, 2014, 5:44 am

    Yes, I’m also done hounding people to come to RSVP. Take Easter dinner for example:

    My husband and I have lived out of state from family for years. It’s a 5 hour drive to mine and a 3 hour drive to his. We do most of the driving to see them, but with the economy as it is, we’ve cut way back on that, unfortunately. So, it gets lonely.

    Recently, my brother moved to this area with his girlfriend, whose mom also lives nearby. And my husband’s niece started attending college nearby as well. So, I’m excited and hoping to host Easter dinner at my house this year. (Our niece said she wasn’t able to go to her home for Easter, so I wanted to make it special for her. Her family was talking about coming to this area to see her so I offered to have Easter for everyone.)

    I invited everyone and even offered to work around the times they’re available. Well, my brother and his girlfriend “of course” have to go to her mom’s and then he might have to work, so who knows if they’ll come here? And I find out yesterday that the niece is back home now, after all. Which is good for her, but I had to work to find out they weren’t coming.) I’m just tired of begging people to spend time with my kids when we’re always available to do them favors at the drop of a hat.

    So next time, I’ll have my dinner with my husband and two kids at a set time, and if people come, great, and if not, that’s fine too. I always make plenty anyway.

    I guess I shouldn’t complain because we DID spend all of yesterday with my brother and his girlfriend’s family, at their invitation, so that was great. I guess after all this time of being lonely, maybe my expectations are too high when it comes to all that family togetherness we missed out on for 16 years. I always had to budget money to drive and see family for holidays, and I just want people to come to my house for once, lol.

    • hakayama April 14, 2014, 7:58 am

      What did I miss in your story? LONELY? 😉

  • Jessie April 14, 2014, 6:48 am

    Why isn’t the sibling RSVPing for themselves as well as their significant other? It seems weird to me that the significant other would have to contact their in-laws family directly? Whenever my husband’s family invites us to something he is the one that reaches out and RSVPs, letting them know if we both will attend just him, or neither of us.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, maybe the significant other isn’t aware that their significant other (the sibling of OP) isn’t RSVPing for the both of them?

    • Wendy B. April 14, 2014, 8:25 am

      I assumed the sibling’s SO didn’t actually live with the sibling. Although in my family we would till invite sibling and SO together, regardless of whether they live together or not.

      So that ‘s a valid second question…the SO may assume sibling is replying for both of them.

      Regardless, if SO or any one can’t get back to you, you assume they’re not coming. Simple as that.

      My husband’s kids are a separate problem, they’ll just bring random people with them without telling anyone. It took me getting quite angry for my husband to step in and do something about it. Yet none of them understand why this is a problem to this day. *sigh*

  • Shoegal April 14, 2014, 7:48 am

    I personally hate this aspect of party planning. Frankly, for a bonfire I throw every year, I don’t require them but I still get a number of people who feel compelled to tell me they aren’t coming and not for a particular reason or due to a scheduling conflict – It is because they “might” have other plans. Oh – I see – another party, perhaps? Another party you would rather attend? Ok. I’m not offended. (a little sarcasm, here) I really didn’t even need a reason but they don’t think that is rude?!?!?! So now, I take the hint. I tell them I understand completely, and instead of waiting for them to give a definitive answer I just say perhaps they will be able to join us next year and then I don’t invite them again. My husband is far more forgiving but I tell him I’m taking their hint that they don’t value my party so I don’t value their company.

    • Shalamar April 15, 2014, 1:43 pm

      Tell me about it! My birthday is in the summer, and I’ve learned not to throw a party for a large group, otherwise I’ll get a lot of “Gee, I dunno, if the weather’s nice I might go to the lake instead.” I’d rather celebrate with my husband and closest friends, who will be there because they like me, not because they had nothing better to do.

      • Enna April 19, 2014, 6:46 am

        If they were unsure about what they are doing they can be more tactful by not saying anything (up to a certain date) until they know. It is rude that they can’t seem to make a desicion.

  • LeeLee88 April 14, 2014, 8:16 am

    My extended family pulls this for all events – even weddings. My oldest brother and his wife had a ton of leftover food that they wound up sending home with people because they ordered food for as many as they invited, including those who couldn’t be bothered to rsvp at all, never mind even a “no”. My mother informed me she wasn’t shocked, because apparently for my wedding, she had to hound people for a yes or no response. Others we just didn’t invite because they never rsvp’d at all to anything and never showed up, so we figured, why bother? Those ones were outraged they weren’t invited, and my response was, “Why? So you could NOT show up and waste other people’s money again?” We don’t talk anymore. Considering they weren’t too interested in us in the first place, I figured I did them a service by dropping the rope once and for all.

  • HollyAnn April 14, 2014, 8:44 am

    This is a little off-topic, but I’m curious as to why OP goes through such lengths to conceal the gender of the people involved when it isn’t at all relevant to the story. Surely we can all agree that not RSVP’ing is rude regardless of whether you’re male or female.

    I’ve noticed this in some other posts lately and I don’t understand it. No one uses such awkward constructions as “I had dinner last night with my sibling and their significant other” in normal conversation – they say “my brother and his boyfriend” or “my sister and her husband.” You have to really work at it to avoid using basic pronouns like “she” and “his” while telling a story – why go through that trouble unless you’re trying to create a mystery? Have we gotten to a place where we feel it’s rude to even refer to someone’s gender in an otherwise neutral context?

    • hakayama April 14, 2014, 6:43 pm

      Hey! I’m with you on that.
      Additionally, I cannot stomach the singular/plural mess, as in: “The person has to fend for themselves.” It’s so easy to make it “People have to fend for themselves.”

    • Yasuragi April 14, 2014, 7:20 pm

      I think people avoid gender to avoid gender biased advice.

      Exaggerated for comedic effect:

      If the SO is male: Ugh, men are so uncaring about this kind of thing! Didn’t his mama teach him any manners?

      If the SO is female: Ah, she is but a woman. Flakiness is but the nature of her sex. Perhaps she is confounded with the burden of children or her menstrual cycle.

    • Margaret April 14, 2014, 10:21 pm

      Maybe because some posters have been called to task in the comments for including any information that isn’t strictly necessary to the story.

    • Sammy April 15, 2014, 2:55 am

      Maybe it is just to protect the privacy, if you don’t want to be recognized. “Brother and his boyfriend and my sister and her husband” reveals a lot more than “my two siblings and their significant others”, because “two siblings in relationships” is far larger group of suitable persons than “two siblings, one of them gay male, one of them heterosexual female” -group.

      I know I do little changes in insignificant parts if I write something in the internet, so that the point of the case stays same, even if the details are shrouded. Just to avoid someone too easily putting one and one together and noticing: This must be my neighbour/coworker.

    • Eve_Eire April 15, 2014, 7:53 am

      I presume the OP may have felt that revealing genders my distract from the original topic. For example, if the OPs sibling is male and the significant other is female, people might have jumped straight to the conclusion that OP is sexist in assuming the woman in the relationship has to be responsible for RSVPs and why isn’t the expectation on the brother. I’m not saying that’s what’s happening here, I’m just trying to show an example of how revealing genders might derail the topic completely.

  • Linda April 14, 2014, 9:39 am

    My ex husbands cousins were awful about letting us know if they would make it to a get together. And when they would show up they were never less than 2 hours late. They were his cousins and he did nothing to help getting and idea if and when they would be there. Maybe that’s part of why he is an ex.

  • inNM April 14, 2014, 9:51 am

    I thoroughly dislike both sides of this coin, that is 1. Begging them to RSVP and, 2. after they have confirmed their attendance, having them not show up with no excuse.

    It may be petty of me, but on top of the Admin’s idea, I wonder if in the “scrounging up an extra chair and place setting” you can make a marked distinction in food or service without coming off as passive aggressive. For example, if there were 12 guests that RSVP’d for a plated sit down dinner, and the significant other showed up without notice, could you produce a reduced plate (maybe just the starch and vegetables, or starch and gravy) with the explanation that as he/she did not RSVP then proper accommodations could not be made? I figure the marked difference in food would (hopefully) cause the person to respond early to ensure he/she partakes in all the food the next time.

    • Anonymous April 15, 2014, 2:01 pm

      I wouldn’t do that, because it doesn’t really reflect that well on the host. When people tell stories of things in their lives, they sometimes deliberately gloss over or completely omit certain details, to make themselves look better. So, “I didn’t RSVP to the OP’s dinner party, and so, there wasn’t enough chicken for me,” would become, “I went to the OP’s dinner party, and okay, so, I didn’t get around to RSVP’ing, but we’re SUCH great friends; we’ve known each other since KINDERGARTEN, you’d think that that wouldn’t matter. So, I arrived, and she said she’d have to ‘scrounge up a place setting,’ and then there was no chicken left, so I just got rice and salad. How RUDE of her!!!” People would focus on that version of the story, and it’d make the OP look ungracious; never mind that knowing the OP since kindergarten doesn’t magically produce an extra piece of chicken for someone who wasn’t known to be attending. Also, it wouldn’t work for me, personally, because the kinds of things I cook are usually like stew, stir-fry, etc., where everything’s mixed together, and there’s no easy way to separate out the component parts so that the late-arriver or non-RSVP’er gets X and Y, but not Z.

      • inNM April 15, 2014, 11:41 pm

        Fair enough

      • Raven April 16, 2014, 4:06 pm

        Actually I have to disagree here. What if OP went ahead and made 12 very specific dinners? Such as, 12 Cornish hens for 12 guests. Sure, perhaps they would have “extra” but realistically, you prepare the food for who’s coming. People who don’t RSVP shouldn’t expect there to be enough food for them. That’s a hardship the host(ess) shouldn’t have to deal with. Food is expensive!

  • Raven April 14, 2014, 9:59 am

    Am I the only one who found it weird the way OP kept saying “this person” over and over? I know OP is frustrated, but that seemed strange. Maybe there is a reason “this person” doesn’t want to go to OP’s house…

    • Skaramouche April 14, 2014, 5:47 pm

      I felt that too but thought it was because OP didn’t want to use a gender.

  • Heather April 14, 2014, 10:14 am

    Why is it the SO’s responsibility in the first place? I believe your frustration is misplaced.

  • NostalgicGal April 14, 2014, 10:14 am

    A few years ago I held the party, and really needed the headcount for the caterer. I spent three months asking the group I belonged to; for the RSVP’s, PLEASE. (cut off date 4 days before event). I knew this batch and a few always and I do mean always, deadlines are NOT for them, so on date I added a few more meals. Yep, day of I had three ‘can I come anyways’ and one ‘I have the flu and calling you before I barf again’ cancellation. Out of 14, this was my odds. I did end up right on with the number of meals mostly by luck.

    Between that and e-hell, I have at least learned to drop the card… often right in the post office. (out of town and out of state wedding, for ex; I know I can’t afford it; I will open the invite right at the side table, fill out the card and drop it before I leave the post office. At least then they have the response!)

    If you the invited know right away you can’t; don’t hem and haw, respond. If you aren’t sure, at least reach out to the one that invited you and be clear about that bit. If you are coming, let them know asap. And TRY not to be in the grey area, of not having responded at all.

  • AS April 14, 2014, 10:34 am

    Given that this person is your sibling’s SO, I was wondering if he/she was under the impression that sibling’s RSVP counts as his/her RSVP. If I get an invite from my husband’s family (even before we were married), I’d assume that he’d RSVP for both of us. And if only one of us can make it, we’ll let the hosts know that; but we’ll still send only one RSVP.

    That said, if I am a host and I don’t receive an RSVP, I’d rather not confront the rude guest at the entrance. One reason is that other non-rude guests who hear the conversation might feel uncomfortable too. Secondly, if I am hosting a party, I have other things in my mind, and confrontation can dampen my spirits and throw me off balance.
    I like the idea of asking the guests directly, and maybe tell them politely that it is convenient for a host to know the headcount, especially if you are planning something that is not open door. If you are tired of asking the person, you could probably just e-mail them saying that you assume that they aren’t coming as you have not heard back from them. If sibling is going to be offended about you asking him/her, then it is not going to help your cause if you confront SO in front of other guests.

  • Dee April 14, 2014, 10:45 am

    What about a dinner party with just you and this couple? Then, when they don’t RSVP, don’t hound them at all; assume they are not coming and make other plans and go out on that night. If this other couple shows up at your door and you’re not home what better consequence could there be? And if this couple does not show up then you have your answer – they don’t want to socialize with you, at least at your house. You don’t have anything to lose at any rate. But I am confused as to why OP expects the SO to RSVP and not the sibling. I am guessing that the sibling is a male and the SO is female, and this falls under some sort of archaic and inappropriate gender expectation, and that is an entirely other issue that needs to be addressed.

  • livvy17 April 14, 2014, 10:46 am

    Sometimes I wonder too if this isn’t one of those areas where gender equality sort of butts-heads with etiquette. Once, when I mentioned something to my SIL about her/my brother’s failing to RSVP to something, she said unapologetically, “He’s responsible for the social calendar for his side, I’m responsible for mine. Take it up with him.” I was taken aback at first, but then figured, why would I put all social responsiblity on her? Why does dear brother get a pass? After that, I followed up with him. Unless OP is talking about invitations to SO alone, perhaps she should take this up with her sibling. If the invitations to SO are alone, admin’s advice is perfect.

    • hakayama April 14, 2014, 6:36 pm

      Oh dear! That first sentence puts you in an ultra traditional camp of at least half a century ago… Y’know, where the “little woman” was in charge of ALL the social niceties, and the man was the “head of the household” regardless of the woman’s earnings.
      My ex also felt entitled to scatter his worn socks around the house and to say “no wife of mine is going to…(whatever)”. One of many reasons why he became the ex (not quite half a century ago. ) 😉

      • livvy17 April 15, 2014, 4:06 pm

        I’m not that old, but I would still say that even in this day and age, it’s usually the wife/girlfriend who seems to be saddled with the social calendar.

        But back to this point, who do you blame when an invitation is addressed to both members? That was my point…in my brother’s household they’d decided that he was to follow up on such invitations when they were issued by our family, and she was to handle those issued by hers.

        Certainly, if I sent an invitation directly to her, for her alone, I’d take it up with her directly.

    • Jewel April 15, 2014, 7:21 am

      You’re right that dear brother shouldn’t get a pass, but your SIL shouldn’t get to use the excuse “his family invited us = I don’t have to respond”. She’s responsible for replying to invitations she receives no matter who issued the invitation and no matter if her name is the only one on the envelope versus her husband’s name is also listed. By her rational, she could receive an invitation to a hen night from a bride-to-be on her husband’s side of the family and feel justified in not RSVPing. That’s just rude. You were taken aback by her reply at first and, in my opinion, you should still be taken aback by her attitude. She doesn’t have to be responsible for her husband’s RSVP habits, but she is fully responsible for her own and she’s chosen to make hurtful choices.

      • Tracy April 15, 2014, 2:02 pm

        You’re assuming these invitations were mailed and the SIL actually saw them and chose not to act on them. In my experience, very few invitations are handled that way any more. If my mom calls ME, or my sister sends ME an email or text invitation inviting DH and I to dinner, it’s foolish to blame HIM for not responding.

      • Shalamar April 15, 2014, 2:28 pm

        Another poster mentioned a dress code, and it reminded me of my in-laws’ 50th anniversary party.

        Two years ago, my sisters-in-law organized a tea for this event. It was held in the common room in an assisted-care facility for the elderly (not sure why – I think they knew someone who lived there). It was a come-and-go party. Everyone in the family was expected to do some work for it – be it serving coffee, arranging tables, washing dishes, whatever. The day of the party fell on a very warm day in August. “What are you going to wear?” my husband asked me.
        Now, we hadn’t received a formal invitation – all the arrangements for family members were done strictly through the phone or e-mail. I said “Well, we weren’t told anything about it being fancy, plus we’re going to be doing a lot of running around, plus it’s really hot outside – I’m going to wear a nice top and tailored shorts.” “Sounds good. I’ll do likewise,” he said, so that’s what we did.

        After all the preparation was done, one of my sisters-in-law suddenly turned to me and asked “What have you brought to change into?” With a sinking heart, I said “Um, nothing.” She turned purple and screamed at me “ARE YOU F***ING KIDDING ME? This is a 50th anniversary party! It’s FORMAL! How could you not KNOW that?” I decided not to point out that the setting was not exactly Buckingham Palace, and I said “You never said …” Whereupon she reiterated that I should have KNOWN to bring a dress to wear. Rather than argue further and possibly spoil the day, I gave up and drove home with my husband to change.

        • Jewel April 15, 2014, 5:27 pm

          Your sister-in-law sounds like a real peach. Bless her heart.

        • Angel April 15, 2014, 8:29 pm

          Shalamar you are a much better person than I. I would have gone home and stayed there!

          • Shalamar April 16, 2014, 8:54 am

            Heh. I was tempted to, believe me.

  • Cat April 14, 2014, 11:10 am

    I make enough for those who tell me that they will be there. Anyone who shows up unannounced can be told, “I am so sorry, but you didn’t tell me you were coming. I made enough only for my guests. You are welcome to come back and join us for coffee later.”

    • GrizzMagoo April 18, 2014, 3:54 pm

      I’d love to be a fly on the wall during that conversation 🙂

  • PWH April 14, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Admin has a good point. If people can’t get back to you, don’t chase them. It will only take one awkward encounter where there is no seat for them when they arrive to jostle their brain into RSVPing in the future. For the questions about why Sibling wouldn’t know if their SO was attending, it could be a matter of work availability. I do a lot of Freelance work on the weekends and my SO works alternating Saturdays. If there was something we were invited to, he or I may accept and say we would have to check to see if the other was able to attend. In our case, we would surely follow up and let the invitee know as soon as possible.

  • Justine April 14, 2014, 12:27 pm

    That was a great answer Ehell Dame. Spot on!

  • Wild Irish Rose April 14, 2014, 1:10 pm

    I’m with Admin. on this one, but I also think you might do better if you invite your sibling and his/her SO together. I’d talk with the sib first, though, and find out if this is just petty B.S. on SO’s part.

  • Karen L April 14, 2014, 1:50 pm

    And if it was me, I would serve pork chops or chicken cordon bleu or mini tartlets or something where there are exactly as many as people you expecting, and then tell sibling and SO they’ll have to share because you didn’t know both were coming.

  • Anonymous April 14, 2014, 1:51 pm

    Jessie has a good point, but I think people are just much more casual about plans these days, with the proliferation of social media, smartphones, etc. First, people decided that calling ahead at the last minute to say that they were going to be late to the event, or that they weren’t coming at all, was as good as being there. Then, texting became good enough, and easier, because it was less interactive–you didn’t have to hear the disappointment in the other person’s voice. Then, when Facebook came out, people took invitations seriously, UNTIL Facebook offered the “Maybe” RSVP option, so then people got lazy–on Facebook, “No” means “No,” “Maybe” means “No,” and “Yes” means “Maybe if I don’t get a better offer before the event.” Speaking up against this behaviour/dynamic makes you uptight, high-maintenance and over-sensitive. So then, it’s only natural that people started acting similarly around non-Facebook-based invitations. My point is, making plans in advance just isn’t “cool” anymore. People don’t generally care as much about losing friendships either, because their social media profiles are a huge, dazzling “menu” of hundreds of friends to choose from. Blow off Sarah’s party? Who cares if she’ll be upset, that’s her problem. I’ll hang out with Sally instead.

    • Skaramouche April 14, 2014, 5:55 pm

      HEAR HEAR!! You took the words right out 90 my mouth.

  • Anonymous April 14, 2014, 1:51 pm

    P.S., I hit Enter too soon, but just so we’re clear, I think that not RSVP’ing, and changing plans at the last minute, is still rude, even if technology makes it possible/more socially acceptable to do so.

  • Huh April 14, 2014, 3:03 pm

    I found that no one will RSVP to anything ever, or if they do, it will be at absolute very last minute. I had quit having “kid” parties for my kids because no one would ever RSVP if they were coming or not and it made it really hard to prepare for the event. My youngest really wanted a party at a party place, I finally gave in and said yes, she could, ended up having to have her call the night before to find out if three of her friends were actually coming because the only people that were currently going were her sibling and stepsibling! The worst part is her cousins were invited, they never bothered to RSVP and didn’t bother to show up. So yeah. Huh = NOT happy with that side of the family.

    I hate to say it, but I’m done trying to host anything for a very long while.

    • NostalgicGal April 14, 2014, 5:26 pm

      When I was growing up, there were few places you could hold a kid party, and an invite to one of those was both majorly coveted and the biggest pain the kid ever had happen. Majorly coveted because they were rare and special (say rollerskating and pizza); and if you did get one and your parents agreed that you could go; they’d hold that over your head for the next month (it was worse than waiting for Christmas, because the threat if you said boo, was you couldn’t go. A girlfriend of mine, her parents were so bad at the guilt-threat-trip that she actually went to the host mom after her mom accepted and turned down the invite; then when the two moms ran into each other the morning of the party, that was the most interesting exchange; when confronted, the 8 year old told her mom that the party wasn’t worth the ‘price’ to get to go…) The party invites like that, too, often there was an A and a B list and if an Alist turned down then an alt was invited. If you didn’t respond in a timely manner you lost the invite and the next one got the invite…

      Those days are long gone.

    • MichelleP April 21, 2014, 12:00 am

      Yep, this. I have given up hosting anything. I submitted the story a few years ago “Cake yes, Party No” and it has just gotten worse. Last year my daughter’s bday party was the last straw. Invited three family members, all with kids. One RSVPed yes, showed up 45 minutes late and was mad that the game tokens were gone. One never responded at all, and sent her kid with the one who showed up late. The other said yes, then never showed. Paid for her two kids to be at the party. “Sorry, girl!” was what I was texted when I called them 15 minutes after the party started wondering if they were coming.

      My personal fave was when I invited the one family member (the one who showed up late to the party) for dinner. Planned it for weeks. Couldn’t get an answer out of a few others, so just planned on the few who did say yes. She never showed up, didn’t answer her phone when I called. 45 minutes later I get a call saying she had forgotten. I hope this wasn’t a faux pas, but she asked if they could still come over and eat, and I (politely) responded no, we were done.

      I have given up.

  • Library Dragon April 14, 2014, 6:10 pm

    I don’t think we can blame this on social media. Decades ago we began hitting the wall of people who didn’t understand what RSVP meant. These were doctors and nurses that DH worked with. Social etiquette became a course included in some medical schools and business schools in the large north eastern city where we lived.

    I wouldn’t presume that the sibling knows what SO’s intentions are. A family member’s SO won’t commit to attending family functions until the day of. This family member has chosen not to spend her time hounding her SO. We have taken to presuming he won’t attend unless he shows up. Rude of him? Yes. But, he’s an adult and its his responsibility to make a choice.

  • Cleo April 14, 2014, 7:44 pm

    This drives me totally nuts. I’ve decided to dramatically cut the number of social things I organise and with whom I organise them. Fed up going to time and effort for something that is not appreciated.

    Prime example: for my birthday a few years ago my

    • Cleo April 14, 2014, 7:50 pm

      Argh smart phone fail:

      For my birthday a few years ago my parents paid for some camping spots at a national park near my house, based on people who had RSVP’d. So seven spots booked and within two days of the party five cancelled for not particularly good reasons. One had organized something else on the same day and several people decided to do that instead. And they wonder why I don’t talk to them much any more …

  • Miss-E April 14, 2014, 9:07 pm

    I had a friend who was doing sort of the opposite for awhile – always saying she would come to my parties and dinners but backing out at the last minute with some really weak excuse. So I stopped bothering to invite her to things…including my wedding.

  • startruck April 14, 2014, 9:25 pm

    this is one of my pet peeves as well. its almost like their afraid to rsvp in fear that something better will come along. i have actually cut people out of my life for something similar to this. like, a couple of my friends were in the habit of confirming an rsvp and then doing something else at the last minute. leaving me with wrecked plans. and they wonder why i never invite them to things anymore. i think its shows a lack of respect on their part.

  • L.J. April 14, 2014, 9:28 pm

    Shouldn’t your sibling be doing the RSVPing for both of them?

  • Sim April 14, 2014, 10:19 pm

    This reminds me of something my boss told me a while ago.

    She got a call one morning asking what time she would be arriving for a party. She got confused and very offended as they had invited her last minute and the hosts were upset because she hadn’t RSVP’d. Turned out the invite had gone out on Facebook, which she doesn’t have, and the hosts didn’t realise she doesn’t have it. Once they sorted that out, it was ok.

    • Tracy April 15, 2014, 2:06 pm

      How can a party be small enough that you need to know exactly who’s attending, and yet you never noticed that at least one of these individuals isn’t even on Facebook? I mean, unless you’re inviting a herd of people, how would you not notice that you were completely unable to invite one of your guests?

  • Eileen April 14, 2014, 10:46 pm

    Just one note as far as general invitations & RSVPs, there is the possibility that it went astray in the mail too. Either that the invitation never made it to them, or that their RSVP never made it back to the hosts.
    So a habitual offender is one thing, but how terrible to tell someone you don’t have enough food for them since they didn’t RSVP only to find out that they did and it never made it to you.

  • Jewel April 15, 2014, 7:11 am

    The growing issue with invitees failing to RSVP has given rise to invitations where a crucial bit of info is deliberately left out (like, the address of the event). To get the missing info, the invitee has to respond. Those who don’t RSVP can’t then show up unexpectedly as they won’t know where the event is held. I like it.

    • admin April 15, 2014, 7:51 am

      That’s an interesting solution to the problem. However, if one is in the habit of hosting parties in one’s own home, it’s logical for guests to presume what the location is based on history. In other words, I’m sure this would not work for me.

      • Dee April 15, 2014, 11:02 am

        I do this with parties where I don’t know the guests all that well, and therefore do not know their history regarding RSVPs. Even if they can guess that the location is your home leaving the time of the party out of the invitation helps to motivate an RSVP. There is still the chance that the boors will show up, unannounced, at the right location and at approximately the right time, but it really helps to pare down the perpetrators. And it only takes a couple of instances before the offending guests are never invited again, and after awhile a host pretty much knows who his/her friends really are, and saves the entertaining for them. Problem solved!

      • Tracy April 15, 2014, 2:07 pm

        I’ve heard it works for kids’ parties where you’re inviting, for example, everyone in your child’s class. Presumably most parents won’t know you well enough to know where you live.

  • Jazzgirl205 April 15, 2014, 7:29 am

    I think less people entertain, therefore, less people realize how much work and planning go into throwing a good party. I know that when I entertain, there is a marked difference between the guests who entertain and the guests who don’t. I threw a baby shower for a friend. It was held in my Victorian farmhouse at teatime and the invitations were informals with Mary Cassatt prints. The mother of the guest of honor called on the day of and said, “This dress is casual, I hope.” Except for family BBQs, this woman had never thrown a party in her life. The guests who don’t have parties treat invitations as if they are going to a restaurant or club and feel free to cancel at the last minute.

    • mechtilde April 15, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Yes. This.

      People who don’t entertain just don’t realise that the host needs to know how much food and drink to provide.

      Doing parties for my children could be a complete nightmare at times! Often I didn’t know until the day how many there would be.

      • Jewel April 15, 2014, 6:38 pm

        Even if they don’t personally host/entertain, surely most people have had the experience of coordinating a work dinner with co-workers and/or clients, arranging an outing with friends to a ticketed event (with hard-t0-get tickets), putting together a carpool to an event or conference, or SOMETHING where lack of response by those invited to participate makes the whole experience aggravating.

        My feeling is that non-responders are just not called on their behavior often enough. They continue on their merry self-involved way to wreck havoc in other’s lives over and over again without recourse. If all of us who are negatively affected would start standing up for ourselves, we could help phase this behavior out over time.

    • Angel April 15, 2014, 8:25 pm

      This is totally true! I have really pared down my entertaining in recent years because of it. I used to love it but found myself after several years of inviting the same groups of people and never getting a reciprocal invite–not even for a cup of coffee for cripes sake–it starts to make you resent those people. And that’s not the way it should be at all. I know I shouldn’t be entertaining with the expectation of reciprocity but sometimes you can’t help but noticing people who never throw a party at all but expect to be invited to all of yours! And will respond that they can come and then never show up. Drives me crazy! The way I see it there are two options: either invite less people or pare down the menu significantly–and if more people show up you can always order pizza or something like that.

  • alkira6 April 15, 2014, 10:34 am

    I got so fed up that a few years ago when I was in grad school I actually turned people away at the door. when they got upset I flat out told them that I planned for the number of people who confirmed that they were coming and did not have room or food for latecomers or extras. Then I wished them a good afternoon and closed the door.

    Yes, I lost a couple of people over it. Others just made sure to RSVP. Some people said I was rude. I asked them who was more rude – the person who plans for those who give them the courtesy of a response or the people who just show up expecting to be provided for?

  • Library Diva April 15, 2014, 11:15 am

    Do you think this could be a simple failure to communicate between the sibling and SO? I’d suggest talking to your sibling and letting him or her know that this is driving you crazy. See if you can sort this out that way. I could easily imagine that SO thinks Sibling will RSVP for both of them, especially if the two of you don’t communicate much on your own. SO could just be rude, but this could also simply be an accident.

  • ketchup April 15, 2014, 12:34 pm

    Yes, a pet peeve of mine. I invite people and they never rsvp.
    Last time however, when I was organising my daughter’s second birthday party, I had the astonishing experience of everyone rsvp-ing. It was marvellous. And two weeks in advance as well.
    Usually, when the rsvps are late, I contact my invitees for something else, see if they rsvp now, and if not, I count them as no. That way I remind them and don’t have to ask again.

  • SamiHami April 15, 2014, 12:46 pm

    I rarely bother having events that require RSVPs because of the rampant rudeness. But, this thread reminds me of last Friday night when a group of friends (about 10 of us) had reservations for dinner at a nice restaurant. We all were there except one guy. After waiting a more than reasonable time one of our group texted him, “Hey, we’re all at the restaurant waiting for you. Are you stuck in traffic?” The response, “Oh, I forgot. Just ate a steak. Later.”

    I can promise that is the last time I allow him to make me wait. He’s a bit of a special snowflake anyway, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.

  • Angel April 15, 2014, 8:11 pm

    I usually give people the benefit of the doubt twice. After the 2nd time with no rsvp, I stop inviting them. Granted it’s a little harder with relatives, but usually with them if it’s an informal event I don’t have to have an exact count anyway. I had to do this with 2 of DH’s cousins. He was ok with this because it’s not like we ever see them anyway–and they never invite us anywhere.

    But I agree with the admin, if you are going to still issue invites to this person and they continually show up without having responded–I would try and make it as awkward as possible when they do show up. If they get a sense that “it’s okay” and you will have a place set for them no matter what they will keep on doing it. With people like this it’s all about control.

  • GrizzMagoo April 18, 2014, 3:54 pm

    I’d love to stop inviting people who don’t RSVP, but then I wouldn’t have anyone to invite 🙂

  • Enna April 19, 2014, 6:51 am

    I think it depends on the sitauiton and the person. Some people are natuarally hopeless rather than careless and unthoughful. For example my uncle is hopeless when it comes to birthdays and christmases, but he is never unpleasent. He has never marreid or settled down withh anyone. He has got a bit better since he has adopted a stray cat.

    If someone has never bothered to RSVP then that is rude and I can see why some people would give up inviting them again. I would take no RSVP as a “no” – if they turned up I would be inclinded to say to the person that I am sorry I can accomadate them as they did not RSVP so assumed they were busy.

  • kit April 21, 2014, 10:41 am

    I’m among the people who’d want to know why does sibling’s SO have to RSVP separately. I have two siblings (one of each sex and both straight if you need to know) and quite definitely I would talk over invitations and such with my siblings, not their SOs, although I have those SOs in my Skype contact list, too.
    And of course we would answer as a family ourselves. “The children and I will be there but my husband can’t make it” – I would think it really, really weird if I would respond for only myself and expect my children and husband to respond for themselves.
    Whether they are living together or not seems irrelevant to me – if someone is described as “sibling’s SO”, I would think it safe to assume that the connection to this person goes only/mostly through that sibling (that is, this person isn’t actually my very best friend as well), and naturally I would ask them as a couple, so the invitation would go through sibling anyway. I can’t imagine many occasions where I’d ask my sibling’s SO and not the sibling him/herself.

  • kit April 21, 2014, 11:04 am

    We are in a quandary with a RSVP ourselves. My husband has got an invitation to a wedding, it’s a friend of his marrying. On the envelope there was only my husband’s name, there was no address on the invitation at all, and the text used what would be a polite address of a single person in this non-English language. On the other side, as a rule (at least here) one would ask BOTH of a married couple to a wedding (I mean, almost any kind of invitation would go naturally to a couple, but starting a married life by separating other married couples for the occasion seems almost contradictory). They visited us last summer, so it isn’t like they wouldn’t know about me. Heck, they stayed overnight, had three meals with us, and I drove them to airport. We are not the only people not sure what to do, as my husband asked another friend and he said they have a similar problem.

    My husband doesn’t want to ask the bridegroom-to-be directly, because he would probably answer “of course, bring your wife” even if that was not the original intention, so we wouldn’t get to know how WAS it meant anyway. On the other side, no matter which way will we get it wrong (him arriving alone when it was meant for both or us going together when it was meant for him only), the result would be embarrassing. We still have some time to RSVP, but if we won’t find out we probably won’t go, as that’s the safest option. But rather a sad reason for not going, don’t you think…

  • NicoleK June 15, 2014, 2:31 am

    Call, send a text, or email and just say, “Hi! I’m doing the shopping for the party and need a final count… I hadn’t heard back from you, will you be there? Please let me know before tonight!” Say it a nice voice, don’t be angry about it.

  • RSVP November 27, 2014, 9:03 pm

    This is my biggest pet peeve. Me inviting you means I am choosing
    To spend money on you and sharing a moment important to me
    With YOU. When you are a no call, no show. This tells me I’m not
    Important enough to be even considered to let me know you’re not
    Coming and it’s not about being too busy not to come. It’s
    Making time to let me know you cannot attend. I’m so over
    Rude people that I don’t ask them anymore I have cut these rude
    People who then want me twice a year to buy gifts for their kids
    Burthday parties. No thanks I can live without you!

  • babyboy October 26, 2015, 10:15 pm

    Just wondering how i should go about my daughters in laws not rsvp to her baby invitation. I wanted to give the shower which they have not asked to do any thing so i am certain they did not care much about that. I just feel that with less than a week away they should have at least given me a maybe or going to try. I am having the shower in a venue and do need to give them a head count. I can go up but i can not go down so obviously going up is going to bring the price up. If they are not coming i could use the extra money to do a few other things within my budget. feeling annoyed

  • kmusikdi February 26, 2016, 2:28 pm

    How would you respond to someone that says they will not arrive until after 9 p.m. to a party that starts at 6:30 p.m.? They told me to “hold the food”. This is a catered event with a timeline specified by the venue. I cannot “hold food”. I’m paying $40 a person and the person will only be there the last hour. I wish I could tell them not to come. It’s such a waste of my money to pay for them to come for the last hour, miss the food and photo booth. I’d rather have my daughter invite someone else on her list that we weren’t able to invite because of budget.

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