Friday, April 07, 2006

RSVP: Does Anyone Know What It Is Telling You To Do?

I find it real strange how parents are not teaching their kids , for more than two generations now, what you are suppose to do when you get an invitation and it has RSVP.  Most people think it means come if you want…


R├ępondez s’il vous plait  (French for ‘Please Reply’) 


It wasn’t until I started on this blog that I found out what RSVP stood for.  Now I know.  But I digress from my point

There seems to be something about people not RSVPing to an invitation.  When I found the French word I was reading the history about why the RSVP was stamped on invitations.  Back in the Victorian era and before there were some sever consequences to pay if you did not reply.

Hundreds of years ago, being invited to anything was rare.  People use to site around after they worked in the fields and look at each other.  It wasn’t until the Royalty of the age started doing things to stop the boredom so they would have parties.  But after having a party and probably the entire town came because they were bored they started sending invitations to just those few they wanted to come.  Eventually each person I the town would receive an invitation to a party since in the heyday of good times the King and Queen throw a party every night. 

On the card they would place RSVP.  If you did not reply you were not put on the guest list and you did not get through the gates.  And if you did not RSVP it was considered the worst form of disrespect to the people who were having the gathering. 

So, to make sure the RSVP was respected by all, the morning after the event they would send a town crier (the equivalent of today’s newspaper) to the town square and shout out for all to hear who did not reply to the RSVP’s.  For the public to hear this and to know who that person was, was a huge embarrassment since others would had died to have been given an invitation.  The public announcement would provide the public with permission to scorn the person for the disrespect, resulting in the person who did not reply to not get any business or worst have to move out of the community.

Today, people get invited to some many things that getting scorned for not RSVPing is looked at as a complement.  Parents today are finding it hard to get their kids to understand the RSVP.  They want to do the right thing and show their kids the things you do to formally invite someone, but it is not perceived that way when the parents of the kid that received the invitation throws it on the pile of invitations they got for that same Saturday.  People are busy (or want you to think they are busy) and they don’t want to be bothered and to forget an RSVP is no big deal.  Their attitude is, if you want anyone to come to your party you need to get over it. 

The respect for the person who is planning the event is void.

The other action that is also disrespectful is to RSVP the day before the event.  Today, people do not want to commit to anything until the last minute.  I take it that they are wanting to see if anything better is going to be going on before they commit to go to something they think is a hoax or stuffy.  Once they find out they are not getting a better offer the call goes out to apologies and to hope they can still come.  Is the person going to say no?  They should, but to be nice they say ‘the more the merrier’ and the problem is perpetuated for another generation?

The time has come that if RSVP is not a signal for them reply and the words Please Reply are still ignored, to put your foot down.  Call out that town crier and have them sit outside their house with a blow horn on Sunday morning after your Saturday backyard grill fest and let them know who did not RSVP.

Come people, just pick up the phone, email or if you want to be totally traditional send a letter.  But RSVP.

Scot Duke


Innovative Business Golf Solutions, LLC.


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