What does RSVP really mean for guests? What if you RSVP and then don’t show up? We accepted a dinner party invitation, but ended up not remembering to go. I was reminded of the dinner a week later when a friend said the host was pissed that we were no-shows. She said there were two empty seats at the table where my boyfriend and I were supposed to have sat.
Do we apologize or let it slide and invite him out sometime? We really don’t have an excuse, do we make one up? It was on our calendar.
–Shelley, Edgartown, MA
What does RSVP mean for guests.
It could have been a Freudian slip. You unconsciously didn’t actually want to attend and could have accepted for the wrong reasons: you didn’t want to hurt his feelings by rejecting his invite, and were still vaguely curious to see who else would be there and what his home would look like.
In the end, you weren’t curious enough.
Call him – in the hope of leaving a voice mail – to say that you are deeply sorry you didn’t show up but something came up last minute that you had to handle. Don’t bother with a shaggy dog excuse.
- The longer the longwinded dodge, the less believable you’ll sound.
Yes, you could text or email a lame excuse, but you’ll still be stepping back again to distance yourself.
If you care about softening the faux pas, call him – hoping your apology and reciprocal invitation goes to voicemail – or is graciously received voice-to-voice.
Take a step closer, when you sincerely want to repair the friendship in order to sustain it.
- Reciprocate with a return invitation – even if only for brunch. The day before, however, you had better call or text your guest that you’re looking forward to taking him to lunch.
- Remind him of the time and where you’re meeting, or he may not show up.
Socializing is about social bids, accepted or regretted. RSVP means “please respond.” You accepted and were no-shows. The ball is in your court.
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