I recently hosted a party. I love hosting parties. I had a great time at this party and was thinking about writing, today, about how much I love hosting parties. I think I'll write that post next week or sometime after that. This morning, however, I'm in the mood to rant a little.
I invited a lot of people to this party. When I sent the invitation, many invitees told me right away that they had other plans. Some told me right away that they would come. Others waited until later, but they also gave me a reply. Others, and I admit that I find this answer pretty annoying, told me that their plans weren't firm yet, but they would let me know when they figured things out. (To me, that (1) doesn't help me plan and (2) sounds a lot like hoping that a better person will invite me to a cooler event on the same night.) The majority (yes, the overwhelming majority) of invitees never replied to my email.
Now, a quick and minimal French lesson from somebody who doesn't speak French. (One year in high school French hasn't stuck with me.) I won't try to give a real translation, just give the gist (a word I can't say without thinking about how grateful I am that the GIST I had didn't kill me). The letters RSVP stand for "respond, if you please" or "please reply."
Not sending a response doesn't mean the same thing as not planning to come. If people hosting parties want answer only in some cases, they could write "regrets only" or "please let me know if you can join us." It's easier for somebody hosting a party to know who's coming and who's not. Both. That way, the host can plan, shop, cook. Knowing whom to expect and to whom to send reminders or updates makes life easier for the host. If somebody's hosting a party for you, you could make life less stressful for her. Isn't that nice?
Do you like hosting parties? Do you think I'm wrong about how basic politeness mandates that people send a reply? Do you reply to EVERY invitation you get, no matter how full your inbox/calendar? If you have thoughts, please write about it in the comments.