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Missed Invitations Because You Have A Life

I have a couple questions about event invitations and planning online. Here are two examples.

1. The reason I decided to write in. Today I logged onto Facebook, which is something I rarely do as I’m really not fond of the app. I saw I had notifications so I clicked to look and saw a party invite! The mother of an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time but have known since I was a teenager, was putting on a party for his birthday. Then with a sinking feeling I remembered that his birthday was at the beginning of the month. I thought, maybe the party for some reason is being put on later in the month. Nope. I’m seeing it 9 days after the party has passed. And the invites were only sent out online 7 days before the party. No one called, or texted, or even emailed me. They relied solely on the idea I’d see it on Facebook, and I didn’t and as a consequence I missed celebrating. Is this the norm now? Not even a call? Should I even bother to call or text him to explain?

2. In the same vein, I spent extensive time with a group of people for a month, living and working with them. When we returned to our various homes a few of them decided on a get together. They wanted to meet at an event that was local to them (I live three hours away). Many people liked up the post on Facebook and a few people had commented. I wrongly assumed that liking the post meant that they intended to go. As a result I traveled three hours, and only a few people were there and shocked I had come at all. Would you guys assume also that likes indicate participation? I should I have asked more questions?

I’d love to know what the ehellions think!  0926-16

Regarding situation #1, it is an unfortunate consequence of the social media era that people assume everyone must be on Facebook every single day.  Facebook invitations for a birthday celebration seem so, well, superficial.   When I host a significant event, I design paper invitations and mail them to my guests.  I want them to get excited about receiving mail (it’s getting so rare these days) and put the invitation on their refrigerator which a lot do.   With a mailed invitation I convey my serious intent to host the best darn  party of the year and my guests know it.

I miss a few baby and wedding showers because the hostesses send the invitations via an online guest management site like evites.com and we block those sites at the server from ever getting email to me.  (Read the privacy terms of service for these sites.  They offer free services in exchange for you divulging your friends’ real names and valid email addresses which is then “shared” with their many business “partners”.   Invasion of other people’s privacy and spam galore.)  So, I know how it feels to miss various celebrations because someone used a service I won’t see.    It gets amusing when the host assumes I received the email.  One person actually chided me for being an etiquette guru who doesn’t RSVP to their invitations.   “What invitation?”, I ask.

As for your second situation,  it may have been presumptuous on your part to equate an interest in an event with an actual RSVP to attend.   While people may like the idea of a get together, that doesn’t mean they can actually be there on the appointed date and time.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Just4Kicks September 27, 2016, 3:33 am

    I posted a long time ago about a baby shower my (then) fourth grade daughter was “invited” to.
    She was asked by the little sister of a pregnant 17 year old girl, whose family, sadly refused to come because she was an unwed teenager.
    My daughter wanted to go, but she was not given an invitation, just a “hey….come to my sister’s baby shower!”
    I had never met her friend or the sister and said without a “real” invitation, she wasn’t going.
    Come the following Monday after the party, this friend of my daughter’s said no one showed up (she had asked all her fourth grade friends to come at the insistence of the grandma to be), and her mom was really mad that no one came.
    I felt really awful for this probably terrified 17 year old, but what took the cake was this pregnant girls mom had the nerve to say to my girl’s friend that she “hopes the parents of all the 4th grade girls used their heads and sent a gift or cash to school”!!!
    “Just because they blew off the shower doesn’t mean they don’t have to get a gift”!!!
    In my book, no “real” invitation gets no gift….I wouldn’t know these folks if I fell over them.

    • Gena September 27, 2016, 8:24 am

      4th graders at a baby shower? And were apparently the only guest?

    • abby September 27, 2016, 9:48 am

      There are plenty of people who feel that an invitation is basically an obligation to send a gift. I can’t even count how many of my extended family members from thousands of miles away have sent my immediate family invitations to showers and grad parties and other minor celebrations (not anything big like weddings where people actually *would* travel to attend). I have gotten lots of Facebook invites for baby showers for distant cousins that would require a full day of travel each way (like 10+ hours driving time) for a 2 hour party. I basically see it as “I was nice enough to invite you, so go ahead and mail a gift since we both know you’re not coming in person”.

      My cousin’s wife mentioned her daughter was graduating high school and having an open house later that month. My mom told her (we were all at my grandfather’s funeral) to pass on her congrats, but that my mother would be unable to attend as she lived several states away. My cousin’s wife absolutely insisted on sending her a grad party invitation anyways, despite me reminding her- when she called me to get my mom’s address- that she was unable to attend and had already declined directly in person to my cousin’s wife. Pretty sure my cousin’s wife just wanted to remind my mom that mailing a card (with a check enclosed of course) was still an option.

      Of course that wasn’t as obnoxious as my dad’s nephew mailing my parents an invite to his wedding reception- 2,000 miles away- that was scheduled for 4 days after the envelope was postmarked.

      • Laura September 27, 2016, 3:21 pm

        My kids tried to pull this stunt for their high school graduation parties. Uh no…we’re not going that guys.

        • Just4Kicks September 29, 2016, 3:41 am

          @Laura: My boys also.
          They each had around 75 (invited) guests, and we had to put some sort of limit to the amount of folks that came.
          They each wanted to do an open house, by word of mouth. Nope. Not happening.
          I said we are either going to have way too much, which will go to waste or not enough.
          We needed some sort of idea.
          We also put a stop to “Oh, yeah….I’ve got six grad parties today, and four tomorrow.”
          No, you don’t.
          You don’t show up without a gift, in this case, mostly cash.
          Dad and I cannot shell out 25/50 bucks a pop for you to “stop in” for half an hour, and you are NOT going to any party WITHOUT a gift.

    • Amanda September 27, 2016, 10:03 am

      Sad situation. At least the 4th graders didn’t see the 17 yo showered with gifts. We don’t need to make it look like a good idea

      • Chechina September 27, 2016, 4:11 pm

        …what do you mean by that exactly?

        • Lacey September 28, 2016, 11:33 am

          Seriously…isn’t this the kind of situations for which baby showers and bridal showers were originally invented? This girl would have needed the gifts more than most people who have showers.

          • GeenaG October 1, 2016, 9:01 am

            I guess you could take that approach if you want to give tacit approval to the situation!

        • psammead September 29, 2016, 12:14 am

          Presumably Amanda thinks a scarlet letter and a couple of hours on the village scaffold would be more appropriate than a baby shower for an unmarried teen mother.

          • Willynilly September 29, 2016, 10:37 am

            I presume Amanda’s point is kids don’t often understand the bigger picture. Kids might see “cool a party! Wow tons of gifts! Hey thats everything needed for the baby!” And not realize how tough a road a teenage mom actually has ahead of her.

            Yes of course the young mother needs community support, and the baby coukd greatly benefit from the village, but there’s no need to make teen motherhood seem awesome.

      • clairedelune September 28, 2016, 9:12 am

        I think it’s a VERY good idea for one’s community to pull together to help supply needed baby goods to someone who is almost surely too young to have everything in order on her own. A pregnant 17 year-old and her baby would likely need all the help they could get. And I would not feel at all sorry for my 4th grader to see me setting an example of helping someone who needs help, in order to help give a baby as good a start in life as possible.

    • Becca September 27, 2016, 10:27 am

      This is so heartbreaking on so many levels.

      I understand why you wouldn’t take a fourth graders word for it and would require an invite! If they were adults, then I don’t expect a personal invitation at this stage in life. I get verbal or quick texts to confirm gatherings and never think much of it.

    • catrunning September 27, 2016, 11:45 am

      Excuse me???? Aren’t fourth graders usually nine years old, maybe ten? IMO, other than family, that’s a way too young to be invited to anyone’s baby shower much less a shower under these circumstances. Kids that age don’t have the disposable income to buy shower presents, and obviously by the grandma to be’s remarks, it was a cash call to the invitees’ parents.

    • lakey September 27, 2016, 3:01 pm

      Rough situation for the pregnant 17 year old, but the solution isn’t to burden a bunch of 9 and 10 year olds. This is what I hate about the mentality of expecting gifts from others. In my experience if you care about the pregnant person, you give a gift because you want to, not because there is a gift grab. I have nieces and nephews who live a distance away. When they have babies I send something because I am happy for them and because: Baby!
      They don’t ask, they don’t have a shower and invite people that they know can’t come because of distance.

      • AnaMaria September 27, 2016, 6:01 pm

        This is a slap-in-the-face to the mother (on top of being a horrible example to these 4th-graders and just all-around tacky!). I have attended baby/bridal showers for unwed (or-getting-married-because-of-baby) teens, and they were always simple-but-classy events and it was usually treated as a sort of mother-daughter event, with friends of the bride and their moms invited together for lunch, games, and gift-opening. I’m sure my mom wasn’t the only one who privately explained to me that the mother/bride-to-be had a hard journey ahead being so young and not done with high school yet, but we still wanted to support her and celebrate this new marriage or baby. My mom and I would go in on a gift together.

        This sounds like they were telling the mother, “You aren’t good enough for a real shower.” And who was going to chaperone all these fourth graders…or was the guest of honor supposed to babysit?

        • Just4Kicks September 28, 2016, 4:57 am

          Thank you to all who replied. 🙂

          I originally thought when my daughter asked to go, that her friend was asking her to come and hang out with her, to pal around with at the shower.
          We let our two youngest kids each have a friend over for their older brothers grad parties, since my husband and I would be pretty much occupied the whole time.
          Even so, I said without a real invitation (or maybe a call from the grandma to be saying she approved) she wasn’t allowed to go.
          I found out later, after the party, that the grandma to be sent invitations to the whole family and they all said they wouldn’t be coming to a baby shower for an unwed teen. Not one family member which is very sad, I really did feel badly for this young lady.
          I was even thinking (it was around the holidays) that I might get together a small gift bag of things for the baby and have my daughter pass it along to her friends sister for Christmas.
          That was until my girl came home and said “Hey Mom, we were supposed to get gifts for the baby!”
          We were?!? Said who?!?
          “Oh….”Katie’ s mom was REALLY MAD no one from our class came to the shower and that she hopes you used your head and sent a gift or money with me to school today”!!!
          Really now….you don’t say?
          “YES!!! She said just because all my friends and I blew off the shower doesn’t mean we don’t have to get her a present…..so, are we going shopping”?!?
          Nope…we are not.
          After my shock and gimme pig bells stopped ringing, we did go and get an outfit and some diapers and my daughter gave them to Katie to give her sister.
          I was really irritated at the way the grandma handled things, but it wasn’t the fault of a no doubt terrified 17 year old girl or her baby.
          ….And I’m sure you can all guess if we got a thank you note or not…..

          • NostalgicGal September 28, 2016, 10:16 am

            My senior class had a pair of siblings… the older girl had been held back a year so she was in same grade as her brother (broke her arm in first grade and spent a lot of time out). This was the boy that got an 8th grader pregnant when he was a sophomore, her mom had been unwed at same age so was a grandma at 29…. and the boy could do no wrong and granddaughter was the apple of their eye (they were supporting the kid). She got pregnant at 19, at start of year and dropped out mid year. She was engaged to baby dad. She was near due near graduation and her parents threw her out of the house. Entire town turned on her parents–the boy could do no wrong and their legal age daughter (engaged) got thrown out for being pregnant? Right after she got taken back (about a week of being elsewhere) and had the baby (a few weeks elapsed) I went to the clothing store, bought her a 6-9 month green onesie and wrapped it, put a card on it and went over and gave it to her. It was kind of strange as we both were trying to be adult here, on our own, awkward but. She did have baby dad show up, so I met him, very nice guy… and she realized she should bring the kid out and I obligingly held him for a few minutes. That went around town like wildfire. The mothers of my classmates and my mom decided to hold her a shower so she got a baby shower about a month after she had the baby, and they really needed the stuff. I wasn’t invited because I’d already given her a gift, I was told. I’m glad my gesture got her the shower… That was close to 40 years ago already, so things like this were still mildly scandalous…

          • Amanda H. September 28, 2016, 12:27 pm

            I can sort of understand the family’s refusal to attend the shower, especially if they’re religious since many religions frown on unmarried teenagers having babies. In that case, I think the best approach is one the ladies of my church took a few years ago when one church member’s teenage daughter was expecting. Rather than have a shower, which implied condoning the unwed pregnant teen, the ladies quietly got together to get some baby essentials to help out the teen mother and the grandma-to-be and gave them as a gift without fanfare. This way, the teen mom was supported in what was sure to be a difficult time without a party that implied approval of the situation.

            If one of my kids ended up in this situation and I heard about the grandma’s rant about everyone “blowing off” the party and not sending gifts, I would refuse to send anything until a reasonable amount of time had passed, so I wouldn’t be rewarding the grandma’s rant. Shame on her.

          • NostalgicGal September 29, 2016, 11:44 am

            What gripes me is though a lot of religions don’t like unmarried teens having babies, by the same token they also don’t believe in birth control. (shakes head). Good for the group to pull together and give the mom-to-be stuff they need.

            Cousin married military person from seriously big city out east. He’d literally escaped the family and joined the military to do so. When their first child was a few months old they made a trip to his mother’s to let her meet the grandson. The things his younger siblings got to were numerous and somewhat disgusting (the two youngest girls took all the makeup, half her clothes, and money out of their suitcases, they got everything back but the money for example) and the next youngest (oldest teen girl) was pregnant and she and her baby daddy were going to take ALL of the baby stuff from cousin and husband ‘because we don’t have anything for our baby’ and couldn’t understand why he took it all back, locked it in the car, then they finished packing and drove back as far as they could that day (getting out of the urban and thus cheaper lodging) and came home. They were there for four hours… and no, the other family seen nothing wrong with helping themselves to whatever they wanted. After all, we’re faaaammmmily!

  • ketchup September 27, 2016, 4:57 am

    Everyone I know has their own communication path. Most people are best reached on Facebook or through emial, others via WhatsApp, some are paranoid and use specific encrypted methods, and others only use text messaging.
    I try to remember who uses what, and it seems to work. However, when I plan a party I always make sure that people have received and seen their invitation. That’s my responsibility.

    1. Really not your fault. Facebook, even if you have an account, is not mandatory. But it is sad to have missed it.
    2. Yea, maybe you could have been a bit more inquisitive. Did you at least have a good time?

  • Kathryn September 27, 2016, 5:31 am

    I’ve organised a couple of baby showers and kitchen teas for brides, and I always make a send an invitation in the mail. I have a couple of reasons for this, 1) the occasion is a formal celebration, 2) it’s in honor of a friend and I’m working in their best interest and 3) I’m far more likely to get a formal, definite RSVP from the guests.

    If I’m organising a party at my house with a bunch of friends, I’ll probably use Facebook and send out some text messages to those (that I know of) who don’t have/use Facebook. The whole thing is more casual. That being said, I organised a high tea at a fancy restaurant for my own 30th birthday (paying for my close friends to attend) and used Facebook to organise (with 2 friends not being on Facebook and needing to text them instead). Even though I needed RSVPs to make a booking, it felt presumptuous to send out invitations for an event honoring myself. It ended quite happily with everyone RSVPing in good time and being the best birthday celebration I’ve enjoyed!

    My read on the situation is that it mustn’t have been a significant birthday to organise more formal invitations. While your presence would have been enjoyed, your absence wasn’t particularly missed. And I would have gotten confirmation on the meet up before traveling 3 hours to attend! It sounds like communication on that wasn’t clear.

  • Charliesmum September 27, 2016, 6:15 am

    I think the host in the first instance really dropped the ball. If I’m hosting something fairly informal, I will make an ‘event’ on Facebook, but I also know which of my friends aren’t on Facebook very often, and I will follow up with them individually. I also follow up with people who I invited via the event page if they haven’t said they were coming, because I will assume maybe they didn’t see it, or just hadn’t remembered to accept. I think most people do that, at least in my experience.

    In the second instance, sometimes people just ‘like’ posts to show they’ve seen it, and it tends to be an automatic gesture a lot of the time. I’m sorry you drove all that way!

  • Eve_Eire September 27, 2016, 7:05 am

    Was the party a surprise party? I can see how a friend’s parent may not know how to get in touch with their child’s friends and figure Facebook is the best way to get in touch. I personally don’t think there was anything wrong with this. Perhaps it was a last minute idea for a casual party. Can you set your Facebook profile to send you email notifications for event invites?

    No I wouldn’t assume that likes on a status mean someone intends to attend an event. I would definitely have clarified in the comments or by direct communication before travelling so far.

    • clairedelune September 27, 2016, 8:35 am

      That’s what I was wondering (in the first instance). If they’re all adults, the mother may have had no other way to reach out, and if it was a surprise party she wouldn’t have wanted to ask the birthday boy.

  • Willynilly September 27, 2016, 7:22 am

    The reality is Facebook is here to stay, at least for a long while. While paper mailed invites have their place, for casual events Facebook evites are an accepted norm. Your friends party was organized by his mother – she might not realistically have, or have access to even get, your home address, phone or cell number or email.

    You might do well to ask a good friend or two who have many mutual friends with you to verbally give you a heads up on FB events. But ultimately, if you have the account, its reasonable for people to assume you use it with some sort of regularity.

    As for the second situation, perhaps because you don’t often use Facebook you don’t realize how it works. Likes are simply interest, not any sort of commitment. They are also a booster – the more a post or event is “liked” the more newsfeeds it shows up in.

    • Dee September 27, 2016, 12:48 pm

      Willynilly – I’m not on Facebook; most of my friends are not, either. My husband has an account he made just to be able to see pictures of an event. He checks in maybe once every two years, just to see if he still exists on it. We are so very, very happy not to be on it. I’ve heard through the grapevine that I’ve missed events because I’m not on Facebook, but how can I have missed an event I wasn’t actually invited to?!? I am glad to live in a world where I am asked, personally, to attend events, with no confusion or superficial niceties.

      If an event is so casual it doesn’t matter if people see the “invite” then it is a complete waste of time to host it. To be invited to an event you need to actually receive an invitation. If the host can’t be bothered to find out how to contact the person they supposedly want to invite then they can’t be bothered to have that person at the event. Facebook is so superficial it can’t be relied upon to convey serious intent. That’s what personal contact is for. Contact the person and let them know they are wanted but don’t pretend that using Facebook (or whatever social media site) is proper etiquette. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

      • Ciotog September 27, 2016, 1:44 pm

        You can set up Facebook to notify you by email when you’re invited to an event, though. No need to go on it except to set up that notification.

      • Willynilly September 27, 2016, 2:12 pm

        There were folks who refused to get telephones too, insisting mail or in person were the only proper channels.

        While you might find Facebook irrelevant millions of others worldwide disagree.

        In my life, about 90% of my friends, relatives, co-workers, etc, ranging from teen to their 80s, are regular (as in once a week or more) Facebook users.

        • Chechina September 27, 2016, 4:19 pm

          What I like about this and the above post is that it shows why I think this one is not a real etiquette faux pas. Some people are super into facebook and assume everyone else is but some people could not be bothered. A miscommunication like this can happen.

          For example, Admin mentioned that they send out paper invites. That sounds lovely, but im someone who is almost completely hooked up online. I rarely check my mailbox because I dont get mail usually. Its very possible i could miss an invitation if it wasnt sent way ahead of time.

        • NostalgicGal September 28, 2016, 10:23 am

          Because of a job my dad had for awhile and people continued to call him at weird hours for years after he quit that one to come do anyways (he worked for the city for awhile); plus having got on the south side of HFC in the early years when they would call and harass you at 3 am (it is now illegal to call any time other than between 8 am and 9 pm), he removed the phone from the wall one night and we had no phone for a decade (between my ages of 5 and 15). We survived without it. Technology is a blessing and a curse. I am a no-Facebook account and I do not want one. I do have a slabphone and unlimited plan now so I can be reached by a text…. but if you text me for nonsense I will give you feedback. One does NOT need to embrace every facet of modern technology and social media.

      • Kat September 27, 2016, 2:48 pm

        “If an event is so casual it doesn’t matter if people see the “invite” then it is a complete waste of time to host it.”

        I completely disagree. My entire circle of friends consists of exceptionally busy people. There are some who get so busy at times that attempting to reach them five ways to Sunday will be for naught, until they are able to complete their current commitments and resurface. But since I don’t necessarily (and probably won’t) know the details of 50 people’s schedules, I don’t feel it’s a waste of time to invite them, because the nature of the beast is that some people will be able to make it, some people won’t, and for a casual thing there’s really no harm or foul if they were too busy to be reachable (and really, it’s NICE to be thought of, even if I can’t make it to a particular event). If I don’t make the attempt, I have no way to know if they’re busy or not; if I guess, I might guess wrong. If I never made the effort to invite people, whether or not they might see it at a particular point in time, I’d never see people, period.

        Not every get-together needs to be a super-formal thing. Sometimes it’s nice just to grab a beer or a coffee with whoever isn’t busy right then.

        • Dee September 27, 2016, 4:57 pm

          Kat – I didn’t say it was a waste of time to invite people, but that it’s a waste of time to host an event when you don’t care if people know they’re even invited. It seems to me that that’s the problem with Facebook-only “invitations” – it isn’t a personal invitation to the person, it’s more of a shout-out that is hoped may reach the person. It’s so impersonal that it’s meaningless.

          Every generation was a very busy one. This one is no different. But it is still possible to contact people in a way that is personal and that will reach them, if they want to be reached. I know the best way to reach each of my friends and family members when I want to contact them. It’s not rocket-science, and since I’m not on Facebook I obviously can’t use that, so I use the multiple other ways to contact them personally. If it’s too much to ask a person to pick up the phone or email me personally then I know how “important” I actually am to them, don’t I? And then I am very glad they “can’t” reach me for that “invite” to their event they don’t really want me at, aren’t I?

          • Ulla September 28, 2016, 6:47 am

            Well, if you never enjoy hanging out with people “just because”, then of course you can be glad. Different people socialize in different way, and enjoy different thing. Personally, sometimes it’s nice to do event with very selected few and sometimes the more the merrier is the keyword, bring yourself and bring your friends too. Sometimes it’s about the people, sometimes it’s about the event and sometimes it’s about something else. Different styles have different places, none of them are wrong per se, but not everybody is up to all of the styles.

            😀 I felt terrible need to quote Captain Carrot here: “Personal is not the same as important.” Mainly point being, not everything needs to be that personal or important for it to be enjoyable and worth attending to. It obviously depends on the occasion though. Impersonal wedding invite is quite different than impersonal invite to grab beers with rest of the SameCityDwellers. And sure, if free time is very limited, it might be reasonable to concentrate on those events where you want to specifically spend time with specific people. But that does not mean that it’s wrong to enjoy attending events where idea is closer to “let’s see who can attend and then we’ll make fun evening of it”.

          • Tracy W September 28, 2016, 2:20 pm

            This brings a quote to mind: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

            If I enjoy spending time with people, I don’t fuss about how they invite me. If I don’t enjoy spending time with different people, I’m going to decline regardless of how they invite me. Of course if being invited personally is vital to you then you’re free to live your life your way, but that doesn’t mean that people who live differently are wasting their time.

      • Chigrrl September 27, 2016, 4:23 pm

        Just because you don’t find something personally “acceptable”, doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with it. In my group of friends, Facebook IS personal contact because we are all regular users. Clearly you have some sort of issue with Facebook, but just because you don’t like something doesn’t make it poor etiquette.

        • Dee September 27, 2016, 10:59 pm

          Chigirl – Obviously there IS something wrong with the Facebook “invite”, at least in this case, as the sender never bothered to care if the OP got the “invite” and the OP missed it and thus the event. If any of it mattered then it was a huge miss. If it didn’t matter then what was the point of expending any energy on pretending to invite someone without actually contacting them? Either it was important, and required at least a hint of sincere effort, or it was not important, and then what was the point? Can’t have it both ways.

          • Chigrrl September 28, 2016, 10:40 am

            OP states that the mother of her friend was throwing the party. I think it’s rather ungenerous to say that the method of delivery implied that OP’s attendance was not “important.” I’d be more inclined to presume that a Facebook invite would have a better chance of reaching the recipient than a written invite. I personally don’t keep an address book nor do I know anyone under the age of 40 who has all their friends, much less children’s friends, up to date addresses. It’s unfortunate that OP missed the party, but it’s a big stretch to make it into a gaffe on the part of the hostess to the point where it’s interpreted as an actual insult. That’s looking for offense when I’m sure none was intended. It was a birthday party, not a wedding or formal event. At a certain age, birthday parties really aren’t all that “important” to most people.

          • Ciotog September 29, 2016, 1:12 pm

            It’s one thing to not invite someone because they aren’t on Facebook–but OP is! I don’t generally keep track of who is constantly active on Facebook and who isn’t, though I have a general idea. I have a local friend who wasn’t on Facebook for a long time, and whenever we had a girls’ night, which we set up through Facebook, I’d invite her over email. I don’t think a birthday party is generally a formal enough event to go pestering people about whether or not they’re attending, or even to bother with written invitations. If this were a wedding, obviously that would be different.

      • Anon September 27, 2016, 7:21 pm

        I don’t really believe in facebook invites either, but that’s because I’m not an FB person either.

        I mean if there is an actual function that sends out RSVP requests to an event (rather than just a “check box” or like button) then I believe that can be just as formal as in person, because that way it’s a solid rsvp rather than a “does this ‘like’ mean they saw the post or that they’re attending?” sort of thing.

        Though I don’t get the liking a post just because either. It’s not like you’re upvoting it to the top of the page (I believe, could be wrong), if you think it’s a good idea why not just say so?

        • Willynilly September 28, 2016, 7:34 am

          Actually “liking” a comment, picture, etc on Facebook is kind of like upvoting. Facebook uses algorithms that respond to likes. The more likes, comments and shares a post gets, the more feeds it shows up in (just because you are connected to someone on FB does not mean a general post will show up in your newsfeed.)

          As for events, when creating an event in FB you are taken through a series of levels. Some are universal – title of event, picture – but then it gets granular – is this a public event or private, are comments turned on, can invited folks share the invite or invite more people, etc. Once some gets an invite their options are going to differ based on how the invite was set up. Some events have a straight RSVP (“going” “not going” “maybe”*), others, generally public events have instead of “maybe” an “interested” button. Many public events are so public you do not even need a FB account to view them.

          Also, as mentioned by others in other responses often people have FB set to email them events (actually that should be the default), so a FB invite is actually inviting via two methods.

          * A maybe response will have FB reminding you a couple of times as the event approaches… a “going” response will also garner you a reminder at the beginning of the week.

        • Huh September 28, 2016, 8:04 am

          There is, you have to set up an event and then people can click if they are coming or declining.

      • Tracy W September 27, 2016, 11:01 pm

        @Dee: I use Facebook to organise casual events because it’s easy and quite often I just want to do something fun with people whose company I enjoy but I don’t really care who in particular (eg “I’d love to see this play. Who else might be free who I like?”.

        Of course, people who accept my Facebook events frequently and invite me as well are building a set of memories with me that eventually tends to move our relationship from “people whose company I like” to “friends who I would give a kidney to,”. But as I’ve filtered them though Facebook in the first place, now I have a bunch of people I value who I can conveniently invite via Facebook.

        In other words: there can be value in casual invites via Facebook.

  • Tracy P September 27, 2016, 7:45 am

    I find the title of this entry to be very insulting. Because I go on Facebook now I have no life?

    As to the actual topic, I’m on the fence. As long as people aren’t upset at the OP missing parties or not responding, then I’d just chalk it up to being part of life. Communication is never perfect. If I was the OP, I would start trying to casually mention to friends that I’m rarely on Facebook and time sensitive communications need to be made through another means.

    • Willynilly September 27, 2016, 10:01 am

      I agree about the title. Facebook is a tool, it functions in various ways depending on use.

      I feel I have more of a life, and hopefully help others too as well, from Facebook. I admin a local parents group where we all share upcoming events in the neighborhood – through this my kids have attended local bike events, puppet shows, street fairs and are currently in a pres-school modeled after Forest School. There are posts about the County Fair, book fairs, kids robotics workshops, sports teams, etc. Sure a person could scour the web for the info, but having one group of local parents all contributing enriches our experiences.

      I also admin and moderate my local CSA FB page and the farm’s overall page. People share recipes, and ask/answer questions about their vegetable share. I also admin my local Civic Assoc’s page where we share information on street closures, new schools, local elections and rallies, and local events.

      I also belong to a national mother’s group where I can get and give advice on parenting. Things like toilet training, discipline, teething advice, best products, vacation advice, etc are discussed with regularity.

      Meanwhile my husband is in a band and active on our local music scene. Facebook is used to promote shows and events.

      I don’t spend my life on Facebook, but I do check it frequently and briefly, to enrich my life.

      • NostalgicGal September 28, 2016, 10:42 am

        Indeed, Facebook is a tool. It’s useful. It’s also optional. That’s the point. I opt not to and I also let those about me know that FB is not a way to contact or share with me. If you want me there, you do have to reach out to me in other ways.

  • Liz September 27, 2016, 8:00 am

    I think if you’re going to rely solely on FB or other social media for event invites, if you don’t hear from someone, then you need to follow up, either by email, text, phone call, etc. since as the OP points out, not everyone is on FB every day. I am, so I’ll see any invites that may come my way. However, I have friends who are on maybe every few months, if that, so I would make it a point to make sure they knew about the event

    • Amanda H. September 27, 2016, 1:09 pm

      Hear hear. I have a very small list of friends on Facebook as I only signed up to see my sister’s wedding photos (the gallery was set so only FB friends could view), and I prefer to keep my list small enough to peruse every other week or so when I’m actually on and not get swamped in distant relatives updates. Luckily my family knows not to rely on FB as a way to contact me unless they tag me in a post or something (because then I at least receive the e-mail notification of it and can go check it out).

  • Green123 September 27, 2016, 8:11 am

    I’m sorry, but how many different methods do you want your friends to employ to invite you to an event? You didn’t log in to Facebook, so you didn’t see the invitation. But you could use the same logic that someone called you but you weren’t home to take the call, or someone wrote to you but you were on holiday and didn’t see the letter until you got back, or someone texted you and your phone was broken that week. The expectation from your friend (which you may not agree with, but is the case here) is that you’re on Facebook, so you see Facebook notifications. It’s not your friend’s job to chase you around by your preferred communication method!

    And no, OP, a ‘like’ means ‘like’. That’s it. I think you need to brush up on your social media skills.

    • Anon September 27, 2016, 7:23 pm

      I would say two at the most if you really cared about that person coming.

      If it’s an acquaintance that you just happened to invite because then you don’t need to employ a ton of methods, but I believe that if you are really wanting someone to come and want to make sure they got the invite then you would just do more than invite them with a facebook event.

  • Laura September 27, 2016, 8:42 am

    I think the issue with situation #1 is that you still maintain your Facebook account, so people are going to assume that you check it. If you were to deactivate it (because you rarely use it), your friends would know they need to get in touch with you in a different way. The reality is that Facebook is becoming more and more the accepted method of getting in touch with people. It takes less than a minute every day to check to see if you have any notifications.

    As far as situation #2, I am in agreement with the other commenters that liking an invitation is not necessarily a “yes” RSVP.

  • JeanLouiseFinch September 27, 2016, 8:47 am

    “When I host a significant event, I design paper invitations and mail them to my guests. ” This is what should be done. That way, one knows that all of the necessary communications regarding the invitation (where, when, should people bring presents, phone for RSVP) have been communicated. Also, it gives the inviter a chance to hone and possibly show off design skills. With the prevalence of colored printers, this really should not be a problem, but even if someone has a black and white printer, it is possible to purchase really nice stationary on which to print invitations.

    • Chigrrl September 28, 2016, 10:44 am

      Just because you prefer to do it that way doesn’t mean that it’s the way it “should” be done. One can also get creative with FB invites and the invite page can be used for guests and hosts to coordinate easily. It’s far better than using snail mail for many reasons.

    • Tracy W September 28, 2016, 3:43 pm

      I find Facebook better for time and place and RSVP as those features are built in. I have sent out invites on paper that were missing the time out of sheer forgetfulness!

  • ginger ale September 27, 2016, 8:55 am

    Facebook invitations are useful if you don’t have any other contact info for the person, or if you don’t know if that contact info is still accurate. That might have been the case in #1, since you hadn’t seen that person for a while. It’s unfortunate that you didn’t see it in time, but I don’t understand why it would be the inviter’s fault. It’s your account that you chose not to check. I rarely get anything important in the mail, but I still check my mailbox regularly! And I check Facebook every few days to make sure I’m not missing anything, even though I don’t really use it for anything else.

  • Miss-E September 27, 2016, 9:25 am

    The weird thing about this inquiry is that the two incidents seem to be paradoxical. In the first story the OP is lamenting that nobody reached out to her directly. In the second she is upset because she assumed a “like” meant they would attend and never bothered to reach out herself to find out if people were attending for sure.

    1. Not the OP’s fault, this is the risk one assumes when doing facebook-only invites. I’ve been on both sides of that myself and neither feel guilty nor blame those who don’t respond.
    2. Falls on the OP. OP ought to have reached out to her friends before driving 3 hours to attend an event. She was let down by her own assumptions and this could have easily been avoided with a phone call, text, email, etc.

  • abby September 27, 2016, 9:38 am

    In the first situation, given how much time had lapsed between the OP’s last contact with the host, I’d venture to guess the host invited her thinking it would be nice if she came, but not the end of the world if she either declined or didn’t respond. Had the host been that invested in OP’s attendance, I’d guess she would have followed up. Likely there were people closer to the host that *did* receive follow up calls or emails if they did not respond via Facebook.

    As far as the second situation, it was definitely erroneous to assume “liking” a status was the same thing as an RSVP.

  • keloe September 27, 2016, 9:44 am

    I use Facebook for events, even fairly small ones – I make a closed event, with a limited number of people. If they don’t respond in a certain time, it is easy to follow up, by Facebook, phone or any other media. Now Facebook also shows who has seen the invitation, making it easier.
    In my country written invitations are only used for very big and formal events, so that’s out. I don’t always have time to phone 15 people inorder to relay the same information.

    Incidentally, you can set up your account so that you receive an email if you get invited to something. That way you can be informed about events without having to log on to Facebook all the time.

    Using Facebook is not obligatory by any means, but social media are not going away anytime soon, or probably ever. You can choose to opt out, but you have to accept the fact that some things may pass you by.

  • Skaramouche September 27, 2016, 9:49 am

    1) Sorry you missed your friend’s party, OP. I myself don’t like FB events and treat those invitations as VERY casual. In other words, it’s in the back of my mind and if I can go, I will. No promises either way. I click Like as a matter of course but Going only if I am certain I can go. I almost never organise anything through FB events and I apply the same rules; no RSVP is solid unless I’ve had some other communication with the person. My logic for this is simple. It costs nothing to click “Going” and then forget about the whole thing. Many people do just this. Having said that, it’s becoming more and more common to communicate through FB. I recently received an invitation to a child’s birthday party via FB Messenger. While I didn’t like the method of delivery, I treated this one as a “real” invitation since it was sent to only me. I have a big rant about the invitation but I’ll save it to send in rather than hijacking this thread 🙂

    2) Sorry again that you had to drive so far for so little reward. I hope you at least had fun. Unfortunately, I think this was a by-product of a misinterpretation on your part. I’ve almost grown to abhor likes because they are SO low investment. See an okay post made by a friend? Can’t really be bothered to make a comment but want to acknowledge the post for some credit with said friend? Great, click Like 😛
    Of course, I’m dramatizing. Likes aren’t all bad and serve their purpose but my point is that they should never be treated as if they mean anything.

  • Lisa H. September 27, 2016, 9:58 am

    Thanks for the info on evites.. I had no idea. I host Thanksgiving each year and we reach out to everyone via phone since it’s about 15 people total. My hubs organized a surprise 50th bday party for me and contacted everyone by phone. Written or evites is beyond his scope. When I hosted my step daughter’s baby shower (yes, breach of etiquette) I sent out written invites. When she hosted her baby’s 1st birthday party she did so via FB. So I guess my point is, it depends on what sort of party you are hosting and how important it is to you that you reach all of your desired guests that will determine which invite medium you wish to use..

  • Goldie September 27, 2016, 10:00 am

    You don’t have to be literally on FB, scrolling through people’s posts every day, to get an invite. If you have it on your phone and are logged in, it will send you an invite and a reminder. Or, if you have it set to send you email notifications, then you don’t have to install it on your phone or log into it at all and it will email you the invite. I use it to keep track of local events that I want to attend, but cannot possibly keep track of them all in my head. I mark myself as “interested” and it reminds me when the event rolls around.

  • technobabble September 27, 2016, 10:41 am

    Facebook events now have a feature where the event coordinator can actually see if the invitee has seen the invite yet or not, which makes it easier to follow up with people closer to the party day with a text, phone call, or email if you see they haven’t checked Facebook yet.

    I personally don’t see a problem using Facebook events for casual parties and get-togethers. What bothers me is that people often don’t see a Facebook RSVP as a “real” RSVP. They will click “Going” or “Interested in Going” when they get the invitation, but when the day of the party comes and they decide they don’t feel like it after all, they just won’t show up. I think that is more rude than planning an event via Facebook because the host may have been counting on a specific number of people, and when a significantly lower number shows up, it can throw plans out of whack.

  • Shoegal September 27, 2016, 10:49 am

    I do not use Facebook at all. You can’t ever invite me to anything using this method. I suppose if you have a very well connected group of friends and regularly catch up using Facebook and are assured that all of these friends are all on it regularly, then it would be fine to issue invitations by posting it there. Otherwise – you will need to use several different methods – as a hostess, to get the invitation out.

    I host an annual bonfire – it is casual and doesn’t require RSVPs – I usually use email and texting or both to get the word out. I invite some relatives I don’t see very often & I’m really not sure of the accuracy of their email address or cell phone # – so I send their invitation through the mail to make sure they get it. This was after finding out they were unaware in previous years of the invite because their email addresses had changed.

    In this case, the host and hostesses of these events relied solely on Facebook to get the invitation out and clearly failed to reach everyone. It is their fault not yours. You can let them know – hey I don’t look at Facebook everyday – alot of people don’t and in the future they’ll reach you another way. I really don’t think that “liking” something means you are attending. Your best bet was to call and see who will be attending since you had such a long drive.

    In this case, the host/ hostesses of these events didn’t

    • Tracy W September 27, 2016, 11:08 pm

      I think this depends on how much the hostess wants to get the word out. If I want to go to a festival with some people whose company I enjoy, I’m not going to get around to inviting people multiple ways. Nope, Facebook event, invite the usual suspects, if people come cool, if they don’t, then c’est la vie.

      Obviously it’s different if I really want a particular person there, but in my case most of those people are Facebook regulars anyway.

      • Shoegal September 28, 2016, 8:04 am

        It also depends how much you really want some of these people there. If the event is very casual and you don’t care if some of these people come or not or if they see the invite or not – then fine – post it via Facebook. In the case of my bonfire – I don’t want to cause any hurt feelings so I make sure the invite reaches all of my guests. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter if they come. I’m just assured that I did the right thing by inviting them.

  • Ashley September 27, 2016, 10:49 am

    I almost hate myself for even mentioning this but why does the title of this post have to imply that enjoying Facebook regularly = no life? Another commentor mentioned it as well, and while I’m not going to let it ruin my day or anything, I don’t understand why a better title couldn’t be picked? Because I assure you I have a life (full time job, full time student, friends, family, and helping my husband start a business), but I’m also on Facebook regularly. It IS possible to do both.

    Now, that said…I do realize not everyone is on Facebook, or on it often enough. My mother for example checks it fairly often because we’ve got relatives all over and that’s where she gets to see her grand kids between Skype calls and actually driving ten hours to see them. But if someone posted an invite JUST on Facebook, she’d never see it because to her that’s not what Facebook is for and she genuinely doesn’t know where to look. I have other relatives who are not on Facebook at all. One of them didn’t even know that my sister in law is pregnant with her fourth child because that’s the only place my sister in law has spoken about it besides in person, and this relative lives in another state and doesn’t see her often.

    So yeah, there does need to be some kind of middle ground. Send paper invites but maybe also post on Facebook as a save the date sort of situation?

  • Just4Kicks September 27, 2016, 11:30 am

    Speaking only for myself, and probably my husband, as soon as one I get the hang of the latest and greatest social media sites…..It’s outdated, and the kids have moved onto something new.
    I’ve also stopped being “friends” with my son’s girlfriends moms.
    Inevitably, a week or so later they break up and I get flooded with messages from said ex-girlfriend and on a few occasions the ex-girlfriend’s mom.
    “Hey Mom! Katie/Jenny/Lisa’s mom wants to join your feed and be friends!!!”
    Uh….No thanks….tell them I say hello! 🙂

  • NostalgicGal September 27, 2016, 11:37 am

    I do not have a Facebook account. I do not need one. I do not want one. If you send out stuff on Facebook I will never see it. Any one that knows me well enough to invite me to something knows this fact. If you want me there badly enough I can be gotten ahold of in so many other ways. Also I do not do word of mouth invites if you expect me to show and get a gift out of me…

    • Green123 September 27, 2016, 3:47 pm

      But as you DON’T have a Facebook account, people CAN NOT send you Facebook invitations.

      OP DOES have a Facebook account, which gives an expectation that s/he will receive invitations from it.

      • Dee September 27, 2016, 5:10 pm

        Green123 – My husband has a Facebook account and never looks at it. So many things require a person to have a Facebook page that many people make an account just for that one purpose and then never use it again. My husband hates Facebook. He absolutely wouldn’t be on it if he hadn’t wanted to see pics of an event that was only posted to Facebook. His friends and family know how to contact him if they really want to contact him, and that’s not via Facebook. Since the OP did not respond to the “invite” in time to RSVP it should have been assumed that she did not see the “invite”. The onus is on the sender to contact the invitee in the manner that has a reasonable chance of successful connection. Facebook is not it.

        My friend has a Facebook account because family members are notified of events that way. She does not have a computer. She has to go to a lot of work to check her site. If she doesn’t, she misses the event, because nobody considers how hard it is for her to get to a computer to check for those random “invites”. I asked her why she does this, instead of telling them she needs a phone call instead. Her answer was, sadly, because her family does not care if she misses the “invite” or not. She hasn’t yet come to terms with that reality and chosen to stop bending over backwards to accommodate those who have made it clear that she is not worth a simple phone call. That is the clear message to those who don’t check Facebook often and miss those “invites”. They’re not worth it. I hope, one day, my friend sees how wonderful she is without her family’s validation. Until then, she’s held hostage to that Facebook page because laziness has overruled etiquette and caring.

        • Ulla September 28, 2016, 6:58 am

          Unfortunately I doubt any invite method would save your poor friend 🙁 If the family does not care, they’d likely not care enough to send the paper invite, even if they send it to rest of the people. And if they do not call her now when they invite through facebook, would they even call her if they would be calling to everybody else. Caring won’t be fixed with etiquette. I agree with your wish for your friend :/

      • Yasuragi September 27, 2016, 6:39 pm

        Right? It’s like having an answering machine but never checking the messages. If I leave a message on a machine I wait for the recipient to get back to me. If I just get ringing and ringing I’ll call back, or send a email or stop by their home.

        • Amanda H. September 28, 2016, 1:04 pm

          But if I leave a voicemail/message on a machine and still don’t hear from the recipient for two+ weeks, then I try to get a hold of them again, frequently in a different fashion on the chance that maybe I have the wrong number or their phone is broken or something. I’ve had to do it with my mother before, who has a working cell phone but has been known to not check her messages for a week or more.

      • NostalgicGal September 28, 2016, 10:48 am

        That’s true. I have no Facebook account so you can’t tell me about stuff or invite me through that method. Even if someone DOES have a Facebook account, it doesn’t mean it’s checked often. I’m told now there is a ‘read receipt’ so the host/ess that issued the invite can check to see if his/her guests have even seen the invite…so if they want that person to attend they know they’ll have to contact them another way… or not.

    • Chigrrl September 28, 2016, 10:55 am

      If you feel that strongly about not establishing an account, I’m sure you’ve also come to terms with the fact that you will, indeed, miss out on certain events. You’re welcome to your convictions, but at a certain point, one can’t expect a host to employ 37 different ways to invite individuals to an event based on the guests’ personal preferences. If the majority of your social circle has embraced this particular conduit, it’s a little precious to make it all about yourself and dictate the way that individuals must communicate with you. I’m surprised at the number of commentators who seem to feel that their presence is somehow something a host must find of such exceeding importance that they are willing to forgo a good time unless they feel properly “appreciated” by the method in which they are invited.

      • Dee September 28, 2016, 5:33 pm

        Chigrrl – No, she won’t miss out on events if she’s not on Facebook, because if the “invites” are only posted on Facebook then they’re obviously not meant for her. The inviter would know that she wouldn’t see those “invites”, so she’s obviously not invited. I’m glad I’m not so desperate for company that I would bend over backwards to accommodate someone else’s favourite method of communication on the off chance so that I don’t miss their posting invitations via that method, even knowing I’m not reachable that way. People have no difficulty reaching me and I am happy to accept their invitations when I can. If they all started posting those invites on Facebook then I’d have to find new friends, wouldn’t I? Because, obviously, those ones don’t care about me and aren’t worth spending time with.

  • Amanda September 27, 2016, 11:37 am

    It is incredibly common for people to do invitations to casual events entirely online, and there is really a whole etiquette around online invitations that I feel a great many people follow. Very, very important events (or events that are fun but intended to have a more formal feel) get a paper invitation. Important but not wedding-caliber events get an online invitation and a follow-up through the invitee’s most common communication method (a facebook event invite for dad’s 50th and then a call to an aunt and a text to a sister, for example.). Casual parties and proposed get-togethers get an event invite and you should consider it your obligation to figure it out.

    Based on the description, this sounds like a casual event and they didn’t care either way if you came. They didn’t need to know an accurate number of attendees and they just wanted people to be aware that they could come if they wanted to. Unfortunately for facebook haters, this is a method that a lot of people use. Many people will make sure to contact their facebook-avoiding friends, but if you have profile it is generally assumed you will hear about the event. You can choose to not be on facebook, or choose to activate email notifications of events, or tell everyone you know that they need to let you know in person about events. Still, it makes a lot of sense to learn the etiquette of online invitations and communications. Also, facebook makes it very easy to see who actually plans on going to something and who else is invited.

  • JD September 27, 2016, 11:38 am

    I’m with the OP on the first situation. I’m not on Facebook. If someone wants me there, they need to call, text, email or write. Surely they can manage one of those options if they know me enough to want me there. I still have a home phone and it’s listed.
    The second situation: since I’m not on Facebook, I don’t know about what “likes” are supposed to mean, so I have no comment on that one, except that it seems an unfortunate lack of communication. I hope OP enjoyed the event, though, anyway.

    • Ulla September 28, 2016, 7:03 am

      But OP is in the Facebook, sending bit mixed signals here. It’s bit like giving out email address but never actually checking said email. Nobody needs to be in the Facebook (or any other social media, or even have phone) but if you decide to use a service, it’s not surprising that someone assumes you can be reached through that service. If Facebook is needed to see some event page, one can do profile without any friends and hide it from the search so that basically nobody knows if they use it. To have friends and to be found through Facebook is decision made by the user. If one has no intention to use it, those mixed signals can be avoided.

  • kingsrings September 27, 2016, 11:45 am

    A host has no way of knowing exactly what is the best way to reach every single guest on their invite list. People respond to different methods therefore, the best that the host can do is to pick the invite method that they think will work the best for the majority of the guests – be that paper, email, Facebook invite, etc. A host should never be chided for picking the wrong method as again, they have no way of knowing each guest’s individual preferences. However, it might be smart if a host is doing Facebook invite to also send an email so if one isnt checked, the other will be.
    As far as the second part of the post, I would never assume that expressing interest means the person will attend. Only a blanket yes or no means anything.

  • stacey September 27, 2016, 11:45 am

    It’s frustrating to miss an event to which you’ve been invited and that you would have liked to attend. That said, I cannot really find fault with other channels for invitations. Most people are on Facebook. Many are on LinkedIn. Some use emails or apps that generate invitations to a list like evite. Paper invitations are very nice, but even they aren’t free of problems. (Wrong address, wrongly interpreted guest allotment, wrongly delivered or not delivered, no rsvp…). My point is that we all may miss an attempt by would-be hosts. Regrettable as that may be, it doesn’t pose an etiquette issue in the form of a breach, generally.

  • Anna September 27, 2016, 11:46 am

    #1 is actually the reason I signed up for Facebook–I kept missing events! I think it is really the norm, although there will always be people who are not on Facebook or who don’t check it much, and one should be aware of that and follow up with those they know are not avid Facebook users. I don’t think I’ve received a paper invitation for anything other than a wedding or wedding shower in my entire adult life (I’m 35).

    #2, No, I don’t think most people would think a “like” means “I’m attending.”

  • Lacey September 27, 2016, 11:51 am

    OP, I share your dislike of FB – I consider it a necessary evil, but I take frequent breaks from it. The solution I use is to set it up so that I get email notifications about event invites. That way, if I don’t want to go I can just ignore it, and if I do, I can log in from the email and RSVP. You can then go to the event notification settings and turn off notifications about posts in the event or set it to notifications about host posts only, if you want.

    The second one – I wouldn’t assume likes were RSVPs.

    • Lacey September 27, 2016, 11:53 am

      P.S. for ignoring I’m not talking about small, private events.

  • samantha c September 27, 2016, 12:00 pm

    You can set Facebook to notify you by email when you have an event invitation, if you want to keep up without being on the site. In case that helps.

  • magicdomino September 27, 2016, 12:29 pm

    I missed my sister-in-law’s funeral because her son posted the funeral information on Facebook. My other nephew (his cousin) remembered that I don’t have a Facebook account, so he sent me a text — to my landline. Other Nephew called my house when they realized at the reception that I wasn’t around. Apparently, no one had my work number, so I got the voice mail several hours later when I got home. 🙁

    I felt bad for not calling Nephew, but I thought the arrangements would be similar to those for my brother/his father: cremation, memorial service two or three weeks later to give people a chance to fly in, then a private burial in a small cemetary about 200 miles away. Well, the first and the third events happened, but the memorial service was in only 2 days.

    • Amanda H. September 28, 2016, 6:03 pm

      That is one thing that kind of bugs me about the prevalence of smartphones and data plans these days. I’ve had quite a few situations where someone mentioned something to me, then added, “I texted you about it.” My husband and I don’t have data/texting on our phone plan, and his phone isn’t even a smartphone (mine is only on a technicality). Not to mention that there are still people with landlines as their main phone number. I wish people wouldn’t assume that everyone can receive texts just because they have a phone number.

      • NostalgicGal September 29, 2016, 11:54 am

        I text now because it’s much easier with my last few slabphones plus I now have unlimited phone and texting (it used to cost me per EACH) and in my phone address book I will note if you are a ‘no text’ or not, so I won’t try to text someone that can’t or won’t do it. I was a DNT (Do Not Text) for quite a while…..

  • Steph September 27, 2016, 12:33 pm

    Whenever I get invited to an event on Facebook, I also get an email. That automatically provides several avenues that the host would assume people are covered. If you aren’t checking Facebook nor your email, then that is on you and nor the person who issued the invitation.

  • Becca September 27, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I think what some may be missing here is that people who do Facebook invites are often just sending mass invites to a friends list. So it’s difficult that you missed the invite due to infrequent Facebook activity but if you have an account and you don’t check the box, it’s kind of like not checking your mailbox, if you miss an event or a sale due to not seeing the ad in time, you should have checked your box.

    In this situation, I get a sinking feeling you got a mass invite and there was not a huge urge to check up on everyone on that list because you aren’t high on their priority list. They welcome you to attend but as someone said up thread, they didn’t miss you. I apologize for how harsh that may sound but it’s that era, gatherings are not nearly as special as they once were.

    I get many facebook invites from people I hardly know, old high school classmates who are having parties either sales parties or otherwise. I get them from people that are not in my area even, so I know it’s even more so a blanket invite.

    Not everyone has up to date address books either, many people move around a lot, they change their numbers and rarely do people who use social media change their Facebook unless it’s to deactivate. So it can often be the more steady way to get in touch.

  • Amanda H. September 27, 2016, 1:07 pm

    I can sympathize. I didn’t get to attend my 10 year high school reunion because the event planners only used Facebook to coordinate/send information, and as I didn’t have a FB account at the time, I never heard about it. I only learned about it a few years after the fact after I’d reconnected with a high school friend over FB (I’d since signed up for an account for family-specific reasons). It really bugged me because the event planners just assumed that everyone had an account. My parents still lived in the area. My youngest sister had only just graduated the year before. But because I didn’t have a Facebook account at the time, I missed out on the reunion.

    Even now, I don’t get on Facebook that often, and thus miss any events that don’t specifically send me an e-mail notification. There are also plenty of events I would miss if I blocked Evite (I use Gmail and don’t have a specific filter set up, so I do see those), and periodically someone from church will comment that they sent me a text about something, and I then have to inform them that we don’t have a data plan and texting is blocked for our phone numbers because the company charges upwards of $2 per message otherwise, so I never saw it. My family at least has learned that they can send text messages to my e-mail, which I do check on a daily basis, so I still get family messages, at least.

    It’s frustrating when people assume that a commonly-used platform such as Facebook or Evite is so ubiquitous that everyone has an account and will see an event. Not even paper invitations are 100% guaranteed if the person has moved, but at least they’re the most likely to actually reach their intended recipient.

  • Ty September 27, 2016, 1:16 pm

    Invitations to casual events via Facebook have been the norm for quite a while now, and personally, I don’t see anything wrong with it. This feature is pretty user friendly, and saves people time and money. My workplace even utilizes it. The only time my friends, family, acquaintances, etc. mail out formal invitations is for formal events, such as weddings.

    That being said, I am also aware of which of my friends seldom log in to Facebook, and I always make sure to contact them in some other way to invite them to events. Perhaps the host of the party simply didn’t realize that the OP was a more low key user.

    In regards to the second point, OP, it was simply a misunderstanding of the way people utilize Facebook. “Likes” really don’t mean much of anything other than momentary interest.

  • Chigrrl September 27, 2016, 1:33 pm

    “Missed Invitations Because You Have A Life”–This title is problematic for me. My extended social circle of 30 or so friends who are inclined to get together do all of our event organization via Facebook. From anything super casual like getting together for a football game or more structured like a birthday event. It would be completely against the social norm for this group of people to do something like send out physical invites when we all keep in touch and coordinate on Facebook. If someone is taking a break from Facebook or doesn’t check it regularly, honestly, no one would probably go out of their way to text or call someone who didn’t get wind of events through the conduit that the majority of us use. The title implies that somehow the person who missed out did so because they “have a life” implying that those who regularly use Facebook to coordinate activities somehow do not. Obviously, if one knows that a person does not use Facebook and one wants them to be engaged, it makes sense to reach out, but aside from very formal events like weddings, paper invites are simply not the preferred method of making plans for younger generations. One could argue that paper invites are costly, needlessly time consuming to fill out, more work for guests to RSVP, pricy and bad for the environment. Facebook events allow coordinators to have a central location for guests to indicate their attendance, firm up plans etc. I believe this to be a majority rules issue. If the majority of your social group or family uses Facebook for event coordination, then saying that you don’t check the app because you “have a life,” it’s rather ungracious.

  • Kat September 27, 2016, 2:21 pm

    I think this is really a matter of know your “audience” (which goes for both host and guest), and being/becoming familiar with the social culture on Facebook.

    I work in the professional arts community where I live, and for better or for worse, Facebook is a vital communication tool. Meetings are organized, information is exchanged, casting calls are posted, and supporters are invited to shows all through Facebook. If I choose not to participate in Facebook, I am essentially choosing not to participate in the arts community. It is still my choice, but I do need to decide which is more important — freedom from social media, or participation in a thriving community. Luckily for me, it’s not much of a burden — Facebook is kept open on a tab in the background while I work, and I can pop in/pop out for five minutes at a time, much like checking email.

    Similarly, if your friend community uses Facebook for communication, you can choose to participate in that way, or not and accept that you’ll miss a few things. And yes, major things like weddings will still tend to get formal invitations, rather than informal FB invites; so you might miss more casual gatherings, but it seems unlikely you’ll miss the really big milestones. It would be nice if your friends kept in mind that you don’t use Facebook much, and reach out to you via other avenues if they feel it’s really important for you to be there; but for all we can tell from the OP, that might actually be the case, and it was a casual “anyone want to get together” kind of thing rather than a formal party.

    And in terms of social media culture, yes, clicking a button is about the least amount of commitment you can give on social media. It’s the equivalent of a nod or smile when someone throws out an idea to see if it floats. I wouldn’t expect someone to actually be planning to come unless they have actually said as much.

  • lakey September 27, 2016, 3:06 pm

    Personally, I don’t like Facebook. I have an account but don’t check in with it much. Aside from that, online invitations strike me as being less concrete than mailed invitations. Maybe everyone will check Facebook, maybe they won’t.

  • Yasuragi September 27, 2016, 6:53 pm

    I love Facebook. There, I said it!
    I’m probably in a special demographic though. I’m an American living in Japan for over eight years now. I’m on the other side of the planet from my family and friends. Facebook is a single site where I can keep in touch with my loved ones, share in their daily goings on and see photos of my nieces and nephews I so rarely get to visit in person. My college friends are an international bunch as are the friends I’ve made in Japan. Many folks come here on temporary job transfers or to spend a year teaching English before moving on. Physical addresses change constantly. Phone numbers even more so. International mail can be slow, expensive and sometimes unreliable. Facebook streamlines the whole thing.

    As for the Likes. Anyone who’s arranged a Facebook event can tell you that even clicking Attend is not a guarantee they’ll, you know, actually attend. If a normal paper RSVP count is usually off by several folks a Facebook RSVP is hardly worth the ones and zeros it was comprised of. Sorry you had to drive so far. I hope it was at least a pleasant evening.

    • ketchup September 28, 2016, 4:46 pm

      Yes! I’m an expat too. We’ve moved to Norway. And I also have friends in other countries. Facebook is the way to stay connected. I love seeing their lives unfold. And this way I keep seeing my friends and family at home, 800 kms away.

  • Tricia September 27, 2016, 7:07 pm

    I could not agree more with the admin on situation 1. I love throwing events and parties (I’m a professional event planner but I love to throw my own too). For more casual events, I typically send out a Facebook invite. For those that aren’t on Facebook, I try to remember to text or call them.

    Next month we are throwing a huge Open House Party to celebrate the completion of our renovation. Other than our wedding, this will be th biggest party we’ve ever thrown with a Dj, bartender, servers, catered food, bounce houses etc…I created a “Save the Date” event on Facebook a few months ago just so people could get the date on their calendars. Obviously I want our loved ones to know this is going to be a fabulous party they do not want to miss! So I created fabulous invites and mailed them. They have the option to RSVP via Facebook, text or email. I would not want to rely on Facebook alone to communicate such an important event and many would never see the invite or pay attention to it if I did. If it’s an important event, show that with the method used for invites! My best friend said, “you are so funny, who sends out mailed invites anymore? Just invite people online”. My response was, “That’s exactly my point! How special and exciting to get a piece of mail with a cute invite! It makes people feel good!”.

    • Amanda H. September 28, 2016, 6:11 pm

      “Who sends out mailed invites anymore?”

      Well, the parents of several of my children’s classmates, for one. I suspect it’s partly because the school doesn’t provide parent contact info to other parents, but when my children have been invited to birthday parties around here it’s via paper invite, which I really like because we can stick it in an obvious place to be reminded of it rather than it getting filed away in some digital folder and forgotten.

  • Anon September 27, 2016, 7:28 pm

    I don’t have facebook myself. Too much of my privacy was taken away while signing up for it I couldn’t stand to keep my account (that I was forced to sign up for because two classmates said it was SO much easier to communicate on it. No, no it was not.). I mean why does a site force you to reveal what school you’re going to if you’re under 18?! Yes, I had to change my birthdate just so I didn’t have to reveal my school when I was signing up.

    Most of my family though uses email invitations for events. I don’t know why personally, but perhaps enough of us just aren’t on FB that email is a better way to do it. Or else they think it’s a more solid way of getting rsvps rather than just checking a box on FB or whatever. And for more formal events such as showers and weddings they use physical mail. If I’ve missed events because of FB, I haven’t heard about them at all from anyone else.

    • Anon September 27, 2016, 7:30 pm

      I would sign up for an FB account if they didn’t take so much privacy away from you. Any pictures you post? FB owns them now. They can sell them to companies to use in advertisements and such.

      And privacy settings are changed all the time so you practically have to keep checking on them to make sure they are the same. If you delete a picture FB still has it, they haven’t deleted it off the site, just whatever you posted it up in.

      I’ll sign up when I feel more secure on that site.

      • Nialla September 27, 2016, 11:47 pm

        Heck, I would PAY Facebook for their service if they would guarantee my privacy. But that is the exact opposite of their mission. They offer this supposedly “free” service, and then they mine every scrap of personal, financial, academic and medical information they can glean from you and sell it to anyone and everyone willing to buy it.

        I’m sure it’s a great marketing tool and way to keep in touch with people scattered all over the globe, but for me, the price is way too high. My friends and family know I won’t use it and they are pretty good about keeping me in the loop via email, phone calls, etc. If I miss out on something because it’s only on FB I shrug and get on with my life. My privacy is worth more than anything I could see on there.

        • NostalgicGal September 28, 2016, 10:56 am

          When the internet first was coming out and getting set up and farflung; I learned the lesson about once something is posted it’s out there forever (a hobby site dedicated to pet rearing) and the stuff will never go away. I’m careful about what I put on the internet forever after especially pictures… some don’t realize that is a major legacy of the digital age. You leave a footprint, forever.

      • Chigrrl September 28, 2016, 10:23 am

        It’s pretty easy to mitigate privacy concerns with FB though. If you don’t want them “owning” your pictures, don’t post pictures. You do realize that email services like gmail also scan the content of your emails, including images you send. Same things goes for your history in search engines. Basically, if you do it on the internet, *someone* has the ability to see it.

        • Anon September 28, 2016, 9:44 pm

          Gmail can scan it sure, but I don’t believe they claim to own the rights to those pictures you do send and then sell them to advertising companies. They use the info to send advertisements to you, but don’t sell your own pics. And if you have an adblocker then you don’t have to worry about those either.

          I also tend not to send any pictures that identify myself anyway on any platform. But then again, I hate having pics of myself taken. And I stay pretty anonymous on the internet which gives me a bit more confident on the internet.

          And there are certainly problems with other companies. Google plus for example, if someone adds you on there you are AUTOMATICALLY friends. I’ve had random people invite me and it wouldn’t be too bad if the process to delete them as friends didn’t change every time a random person added me. But it certainly doesn’t have as many privacy concerns as FB.

          But even if I don’t post the pictures, other people will. Even if I don’t do anything, if anyone does anything connected to me that I don’t want, such as posting my pictures, then my privacy concerns aren’t very mitigated. FB can pretty easily go around any of the privacy settings you set up. The privacy settings are more for other people rather than FB itself.

          FB deletes nothing except access to your account and that’s ONLY if you don’t go to FB at all within a certain number of days either.

      • Miss-E September 29, 2016, 11:05 am

        Facebook definitely does not sell your photos. They information that they collect pertains to what you “like” and what ads you click on. The don’t sell any of that information to advertisers. What they will do is tailor the ads you see on the side of the site to what you like and click on.

        Ie: list yourself as single you’ll see ads for dating sites. List yourself as engaged you’ll see ads for wedding venues. If you like and follow a lot of conservative sites you might see Trump ads appear in your feed.

        I’m not saying its good, but you aren’t going to see your own phase on a hemorrhoid cream ad. And it’s very easy to control the privacy settings and make sure what you post and share is only seen by your friends.

        If you don’t believe me: http://www.snopes.com/computer/facebook/ads.asp

  • BagLady September 27, 2016, 8:33 pm

    If your circle tends to use Facebook a lot for announcing events and inviting people to them, and you have a Facebook account but rarely check in, my advice would be to adjust your settings so that you get email notifications of FB activity affecting you, including events you are invited to.

    I’m a Facebook junkie — if my computer is on, there is a Facebook window or tab open — so I disabled my email notifications. Otherwise my inbox would be cluttered with “John Doe likes your reply to Joe Schmoe’s comment on Jackie O’s post” type messages. But for someone who is an infrequent FB user, the email notifications are handy. And if you don’t use it much, you won’t get a lot of notifications.

    “Likes” are definitely not RSVPs. I’ll post, not an event, but just a status update that says, “Heading to Sammy’s Bar on Saturday to hear the Joe Schmoe Band — come join us!” and I’ll get Likes from people thousands of miles away who have no intention of coming to Sammy’s. It’s just their way of saying, “Cool! Have fun!”

  • A Person September 27, 2016, 8:41 pm

    Some of my friends will annoyingly text me saying “check facebook!” and not tell me anything else. Sometimes I don’t get the text until later, so when I check I find that I missed a milestone anniversasry party for my friend’s parents.

    I bought a card and a small gift and I gave it to them later with apologies for missing their party. I explained why and they were more fine with it than my friends were.

    I’ve told my friends time and again that they need to email me or snail mail me invitations to things if they want to see me there because I do not live my life tied to my phone. It’s a frustrating issue I’ve spoken to them about many times and it goes in one of their ears and out their thumb into their phone as they facebook me some other thing I won’t see for a week! GAAAAH!

    • ginger ale September 28, 2016, 9:05 am

      I mean… I don’t know what you expect. They send you an invite on Facebook and then they text you to tell you to check Facebook. That seems like due diligence to me. I can’t imagine why you would only look at your phone once a week. It might be frustrating for you to have to check your phone, but I’m sure it’s way more frustrating for the person who is supposed to drive all the way to the post office just so you can receive a snail mail invitation (which would probably take several days to arrive anyway…) When you know all your friends communicate a certain way, it seems very unreasonable to insist that they do things differently just for you.

      • Anon September 28, 2016, 9:47 pm

        Huh, I didn’t know we had gotten rid of email, instant messengers of all sorts (skype, AIM, YIM, etc.), etc. already.

        I didn’t know our only choices were FB and physical mail!

        A Person said they were fine with email, that’s just as fast if you have it set up on your phone.

    • Chigrrl September 28, 2016, 10:28 am

      You can set FB to text you when you are invited to an event, which is effectively the same as getting a direct text except for far easier for individuals hosting events to coordinate. If you find this happening to you over and over again, you are the problem. If the majority of your social groups use this conduit, it’s rather special snowflake of you to expect that you should get special treatment just because you don’t like the way that people prefer to manage their social events.

    • NostalgicGal September 28, 2016, 10:58 am

      THIS. The ones that won’t buy the clue.

  • Huh September 28, 2016, 8:17 am

    I go through periods where I’m on Facebook and then others where I barely ever check it. I don’t remember ever missing an invitation that I really wanted to go to during my non-Facebook periods. A few times I had friends ask me about something they posted and I’d say, “Yeah, I’m taking a break from that right now” and they’d tell me about their event or whatever then.

    And no, likes don’t mean attendance. RSVPing yes doesn’t necessarily mean attendance either! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve set up some sort of event, with strangers or with friends, casual or events where you need a firm headcount by a certain day, and come the day of the event, half of the people who said they were coming bailed. 🙁

    I’ve set up several Facebook invites for events, but I’ve also called/emailed/texted people as well, generally knowing their preferred method of communication.

  • Lara September 28, 2016, 1:23 pm

    I have to say that one benefit of using social media as opposed to paper invitations, is that I’ve found it’s much harder to get people to respond to paper invitations. I once sent invitations with every one of my three children’s classmates to an end-of-year party at our house. That’s about 50 kids. Right up until the day before the event, only two bothered to RSVP, though other kids kept telling mine they were coming. Very hard to plan an event when you have no idea how many are coming. Because these were the parents of my children’s school friends I didn’t usually have any contact information for them, but if I had, and had been able to post something in their FB feed, or email, etc, I’m sure I would have gotten many more direct responses.

  • Esel September 28, 2016, 2:21 pm

    Since it was the mother of an old friend, she may not have had you email/phone/address. With Facebook you don’t need any of that info to be able to contact the person.

    • Anon September 28, 2016, 9:49 pm

      Which I find personally very creepy. I don’t want someone to just be able to look up my name and find me. Very easy for a stalker to find you.

      Of course I have a somewhat common name combo so I’m not too worried about it myself, but then again I stay pretty anonymous on the internet too.

      • Miss-E September 29, 2016, 11:07 am

        They can’t. You don’t have to use your legal name. A lot of people use a fake last name or their middle name. And if someone looks you up on Facebook they won’t know your phone number or address or anything unless you personally shared this information. It’s really not as sinister as it sounds.

  • Miss-E September 29, 2016, 11:14 am

    Wow, a lot of people here are afraid of Facebook!

    I love Facebook, it keeps me in touch with friends and family around the world and it’s a great way to keep up with those who lead busy lives.

    Seems like a lot of you don’t really understand how it works. Facebook does not sell your info, they don’t use your photos in ads. They use your trends (i.e.: what you “like”, what you share) to tailor the advertisements to suit you. I get that that is creepy but if you don’t like things or share things then that won’t happen.

    You can control your privacy settings very, very easily and you are not obligated to share your personal information. My profile is set to private, all you can see when you look me up are my current profile and background photos. That’s it. Signing up is not literally signing your life away.

    Now, I’m only sharing that because I see a lot of misconceptions in these comments. I’m not saying that everyone should have a Facebook profile. And for those who posted about missing major events like funerals or weddings or big parties, yes those hosts should reach out to you.

    But if you don’t have Facebook, if you are interested in social media or email or texting you have to accept the face that in an increasingly technological world you are going to miss out. I’m not saying this is either good or bad…it just IS. The world has moved online, if you don’t want to join it you risk missing out.

  • MPW1971 September 30, 2016, 4:32 pm

    My cousins use Facebook as a forum for inviting us for social events. Not many cousins – a half dozen – who all live in the same city. But not as a post for the world at large. There is this thing called “Facebook Messenger” and their invitation is a group chat where everyone’s response shows up – for RSVPs and arranging car pooling, finalizing times, getting details on their kids’ clothing size for gifts, and so on. Maybe we could use e-mail but the idea is to share all the answers.
    It doesn’t work for my parents and they insist on a phone call. They don’t use computers and won’t learn – age and fear mostly. There’s no getting around that, but their 70 year old friends are not going to be online either. Such is life.