I am dismayed at the discoveries I have made recently about the lack of common courtesy in the form of an RSVP to an invitation that seems to have become acceptable today. I’m talking about the recurring stories I’m hearing from people who have hosted parties, BBQs, showers, events, even weddings, who go through the time and expense to host various fetes, only to have an astounding number of invitees ignore their invitation.
Let me back up a little. Nearly 20 years ago, a good friend of mine and his wife moved to Kingston from Toronto. After settling in, months went by and they decided to host their first party. True to form, they sent out invitations, prepared their home, food and beverages, and on the evening of the event, about half of the invitees attended and the rest had not responded. Even now, years later, my friend attributes this behaviour to Kingston!! He says this never happens in Toronto. I had never agreed with his theory, but my mind is changing.
A colleague of mine is getting married in a few weeks, and the deadline for her RSVP has long past…and still many have not replied. Recently, a neighbour hosted a shower for about thirty and had a handful respond. I myself hosted a party last month for over 60 women, and heard back from only half! Weren’t we brought up better than this? In bringing this revelation up with friends and coworkers, of various ages, the suggested reason is that people are too busy these days to reply. Hold it! Isn’t it easier than ever to reply today? Don’t we have the luxury of easy instant communication with an email, voice mail, or text message? It’s even easier to avoid a face-to-face when sending your regrets. It was probably more time consuming years ago. In my mother’s day, a written invitation was usually responded to in writing. And speaking of my mother, my parents live in a retirement community north of Toronto. Are they suffering from the “ignore the RSVP” syndrome too? Not so. It seems that her generation still responds when asked to, whether it’s a polite, “Sorry I can’t make it” or “What can I bring”? Maybe courtesy is something some of us just have to grow into? But in the meantime, many Kingstonians are getting a bad reputation when it comes to RSVPs. Maybe it is everywhere and here in Kingston we just have so many more parties and functions that it’s more obvious!!