We’re back this week with a new installment of “Manners Monday” and we’re discussing the act of RSVPing. Recently, Jennifer Brandt, of Perfectly Disheveled, and I have overheard many friends complaining about other people not responding to their personal invitations. It has not seemed to make one iota of difference whether the invitation was to a small baby shower or a big charitable fundraiser, the consensus seems to be that people in general have forgotten common courtesy and the inclination to respond in a timely manner.

According to a recent statistic more than 80% of personal invitations receive no response at all. That’s a big chunk missing!! One step above the nonresponders, are those that do us a favor by RSVPing at the very last minute as if we should be thrilled they are gracing us with their presence. I think it’s no surprise that people everywhere are starting to get upset.

The fact that we’re living in a technological age only adds fuel to the fire. When we think of all the different types of invitations we are inundated with on a daily basis from social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn to electronic invitations sites such as Evite and Ping, not to mention the handwritten invitations for birthday parties or charity events that we receive by mail, how is any sane person able to keep track of it all and respond accordingly?

The answer may simply be that we need to instill better organization and time management skills, but the point we are trying to make is, anyone who has taken the time to invite us or include us in their celebrations, events and other festivities, no matter which form of communication they use to invite us, deserves a response either way.

Accepting social invitations should not be a chore, it should be fun! It is actually a compliment. An invitation received is proof that you are likable and that people want to be in your presence, and that’s a good thing, right? To avoid any future accidental offenses, below are a few ground rules for proper RSVPing.

1. Keep Track of Your Invites. Once you receive an invitation, you should RSVP within 24-48 hours of its receipt. This system helps to diminish any problems that may arise if another invitation for the same date and time arrives in the mail days later.

2. Split Your Time Sensibly. Although technically you are only obligated to attend the first invitation you receive, you may feel inclined (or obliged) to RSVP to more than one engagement at a given time. If that is the case, the trick is to be respectful and split your time sensibly to ensure you are not offending the invitees who probably wish they had you committed for the “whole enchilada”.

3. Pay Extra Careful Attention to Electronic Invites. This becomes an especially delicate matter on sites such as Evite because you are able to see who opened your invitation, but did not respond. Think twice before publishing your invite list for all to see if you are concerned that some may base their decision on who else is coming.

4. Make Sure You Have a Good Excuse! If you are unable to RSVP positively to an event, that is perfectly fine, as long as you have a decent and thoughtful excuse. How you deliver your excuse and the words you choose to express yourself can make all the difference.

Ever received a really bad excuse? Send us the details of your story and we’ll help you determine if it was the truth and how to respond accordingly. We’d love to hear from you!