A common complaint and topic of discussion among parents is the non-RSVP to children’s birthday parties. Have a conversation with any parent planning a party and you are likely to hear something that goes like this “I sent out 30 invitations two weeks ago, the party’s on Saturday and I’ve only heard back from 14 people. I don’t know how many goody bags or how much pizza to order”. Note, I said “any“ parent, actually meaning “every” parent. Sheer logic would suggest if every parent having a party has the non-RSVP issue, and all of the parents experiencing the non-RSVP wouldn’t non-RSVP someone else, it isn’t a really problem at all, just a topic of conversation. Yet, logic is defied and it does happen.
There are the occasional blunders. The post office delivers the invitation late, it accidentally gets thrown into the shredder with the 426th offer for your child to simultaneously speak seven languages for two easy payments of $39.95, or the ferret used it as a chew toy, rendering the RSVP information illegible. Those blunders aside, with most invitations including both email and telephone contact information, there is really no excuse for the non-RSVP.
Why don’t people RSVP? I’ve wondered, as have many of my friends. I’ve even gone as far as to think perhaps people don’t know what it means. We’ve all been taught RSVP comes from the French expression "r pondez s'il vous pla t", translated to “Please Respond” in English. Perhaps “please “ is the catch word. With so much emphasis on political correctness and being polite, could it be that “please” is seen as a request for something one has a choice about doing and those reading have chosen not to do what is asked? Acronyms are big now. Maybe what we think RSVP means is in actuality Rodents, Siblings, Vampires, Puppies. If the recipient of the invitation does not fall into any of those categories, why should a response be necessary?
Figuring out the non-RSVP is somewhat like trying figure out where the other sock went. Although with the next load of wash will come another lone sock, thus making a pair with the prior lone one. Bottom line, RSVP is simple. Pick up the phone or hit “send” on an email.