I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the importance of showing up for your friends and recently I’ve been thinking a lot about what that looks like. We’ll definitely be continuing that conversation because there isn’t a rulebook on what you should show up for (or is there?). I also know there were probably some adverse reactions to it. For example “I can’t possibly go to every single thing I’m invited to!” and “You’re telling me to go to all the events I dread!” The sassy part of me wants to tell you that not everybody wants to show up for a root canal or colonoscopy, but they still do. Instead, I’ll just share with you some GREAT NEWS: you don’t have to!
First up: I want you to know that I’m a recovering flaker. After my wedding 4 years ago and being SO annoyed at people who failed to send in a pre-stamped, pre-addressed RSVP card, I decided I would never be that person again and I’d respond to all the things. The number of weddings to which I have RSVP’d since then: ZERO. I am the friend that people have to text asking food choices. (For future reference: Beef. Always Beef.) I have since taken Wedding RSVP’s off the beam and handed that duty over to my husband who is WAY better at getting things in the mail on time. So I get it. It’s not my strong point and it may not be yours either, but we can do hard things, mmm kay?
So here we go. I call it a lost art because I’m not sure we the people understand what exactly an RSVP is. An RSVP is simply a response. That’s it. When someone says “Please RSVP”, it doesn’t mean, “Please come.” Read that again. It does not mean physically show up, it just means respond. My version is more like this: Please FTLJGMASYONSICPETC. The expanded version: “Please For the Love Just Give Me a Simple Yes or No So I Can Purchase Enough Tortilla Chips.” Pretty basic.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s move on.
Phone call. Voicemail. Email. Snail mail. Text message. Facebook message. Face time. Actual real life. Click “going” or “can’t go”. Voxer. Snapchat. Singing telegram. Instagram. Tweet it. Make your husband do it. Power point slideshow. Press release. Message in a bottle. Morse code. Nautical flag. Carrier pigeon. Smoke signal.
Why is it when some of us get invited to something it seems all forms of technology suddenly crap out on us and we just plum forget how to communicate? Listen gang, we don’t have to be afraid of or apologetic about being unable to attend something! I mean out of politeness you should probably include an “I’m so sorry” in your “I can’t make it” but it is truly and totally okay if you can’t be at an event. It’s just not okay to ignore an invitation.
“But we get invited to so many things on Facebook!” I know. Facebook events are both great and annoying at the same time. I know you don’t feel special when you and 300 of your closest friends are invited to yet another online milk homogenization party. But if you’re invited to say, a baby shower or a surprise birthday party or something that someone is actually hosting in his or her home- just respond!
This is one of the easiest ways ever to show up for your people without having to physically show up. This one simple, tiny, thing can make a person feel ignored, annoyed, or just plain crazy; or it can make a person feel valued and appreciative. So if, for some reason, you can’t value someone else’s need above your own convenience for the seconds it takes to RSVP to someone’s something, at least just do it for the sake of being polite. We’ve all been on both sides of the story so how ‘bout we all just do better for each other?
EDIT: I forgot to mention this piece of hilarity and I’m sharing it now because it was a crucial source of inspiration for this post. This year makes 10 since my husband graduated from high school. He graduated with a class of 140ish and do you know how many people RSVP’d to the reunion? EIGHT. *Insert all the crying laughing emojis* AND WE WERE TWO OF THEM. ……. AND I DIDN’T EVEN GO TO HIS HIGH SCHOOL. The dang thing was canceled and we crack up whenever we talk about it. Like apparently this event was a huge surprise to 132 other people and they just couldn’t make a decision. I die. Fortunately we see the friends/classmates we love on a regular basis anyway, and now I’ll probably just make fun of them for not having a 10 yr reunion for the rest of our lives. 😉