Facebook RSVP Etiquette

When I was a child, I got invited to many birthday parties, just as many of us did. The parents of the birthday boy or girl put a phone number at the bottom of the invitation and kindly requested replies. I am not sure whether or not my parents were the parents who RSVPed in the most timely fashion, but I know for certain that I never blew off a party. I also know for certain that, at least a few days before the party and if not sooner, the host/hostess of the party knew whether or not I would be attending.

As I have gotten older, I now take care of responding to event invitations on my own. My parents no longer RSVP for me (Thank goodness.). As time has passed, virtual invitations are becoming more and more common. I receive invitations through Evite.com and through Facebook quite frequently. I understand the time and energy that it takes to plan an event so, in the interest of etiquette and courtesy, I try my very best to RSVP in as timely a manner as possible. I do not like the idea of leaving people hanging. I feel that if they took the time to invite me then I can take the time to accept or decline the kind invite.

Very recently, I planned an event through Facebook. I reserved space at a local venue and invited about 35 people. Two of those people RSVPed without any prompting. Another two RSVPed when I sent out an event reminder. The remaining 30 people disregarded the reminders and the event altogether. This has me wondering what is happening with regards to response etiquette and to acknowledging events that are planned with virtual invitations and reminders.

From my perspective, it seems as though virtual invitations are not taken seriously. Why is this? If the guests are using social media then why would an invitation sent via social media not be acknowledged? Are they not the same as a printed invitation? Are they worth less? Are the events less meaningful when the invitation is sent via email or social media? What is happening to RSVP etiquette?

What are your thoughts? How do you react (and respond) when you are invited to a small gathering through a new media platform? Are the art and the etiquette of the RSVP dying?

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  • It’s not just virtual invites. It has happened to me with MAILED invites and it is incredibly frustrating.  

  • I believe the problem lies in the disposability of email and online notifications. We receive countless emails and the such each and every day.  Many pointless, some more significant, but with the sheer quantity and with many people not having a system set up, they often simply lose track of things.  I’m not sure of a more efficient online invitation method that would guarantee response other than individually following up with everyone, which can be extremely time consuming.

  • Roberta Budvietas

    I know for me that the invites get dropped into the pile and I seldom read them as so many are for events I have little interest in. I also notice that sometimes it is difficult to reply to events as the links sometimes fail to work properly. But yes, I find in the world we live in, it is increasingly difficult to keep up with the volume of invites to actually RSVP. Lots of etiquette has died, sadly

  • Katrincolamarino

    Lauren, Sometimes putting the invite on FB is NOT the reason that folks fail to send RSVP’s. I used to live on the Central Coast of California where just about everyone ignored the RSVP process, and the consideration it provides to the sender of the invitations whether those invites  were sent via snail mail, phone call, email or FB. Recently a group of people ( who live all over the US) with whom I attended elementary school, were invited to a party in NYC via gorgeous invite on email. We had to pull teeth and nudge the 60 odd invitees to respond, but  thankfully we now have a respectable 30 person count.

    From my experience, if you have the event at a hotel or restaurant, one way to ensure that there is a quicker RSVP response from the invitees is to let them know you need the “count” no later than_____(date). That method helped us usher in the RSVP’s for the event I describe above.

    Regards, Katrin Belenky, Principal, Nonprofit Consulting Associates
                    Fundraising for Arts and Education Nonprofits

  • Lauren:
    I don’t know what app you used for the RSVP, but many of the FB apps are intrusive.  They demand the right to see YOUR contacts and YOUR information.  When and if I receive these “pleasurable” invitations, I afford them all the consideration they deserve- trash.  However, if you sent me a private message invitation or something similar, a response is required- in my book.But, for what it’s worth, many an invitee fails to respond to invitations to weddings and bar mitzvot – real or ethereally!

  • Shauna

    I was just this week guilty of a delayed RSVP, and I feel bad about being discourteous (rude). I want to add another discussion point, though: how do we, as hosts or guests, handle the nature of Facebook; that is, not only are there flurries of notices and weeding out the relevant ones can be sometimes a challenge, but also if one is not regularly logging in to Facebook, then an event invitation via Facebook may get overlooked. In my case, I could not respond in the most acceptable/mannerable 24-48 hours because I didn’t know about the event. The Facebook invite was posted almost 5 weeks ahead, but I didn’t know about the event until a couple of weeks ago (approx. 2 weeks before the party). I am not excusing my delay after the point of knowing, but I wonder other people’s take on this is?

  • I had an event this week and the same thing happened, several people simply never rsvp’d to my evite. I think its shocking and frankly rude! It does take time and effort to plan an event and at the very least a “no” is better than nothing. I have also noticed it is now socially acceptable to cancel the day of an event with the “I am too tired” excuse??? What??? so so rude…..

  • Thanks for commenting and sharing your experiences. I think our society is just losing an appreciation for etiquette and tact. It is quite sad.

  • gracebrown

    I am constantly bombarded with Facebook invitations. Most of these are to public events, which I can simply ignore if I don’t plan to attend. I feel badly declining to attend a public event, as though I don’t wish that I could. On the other hand, I don’t know the parties personally, so an explanation of “We are out of town that weekend” seems excessive. My question is regarding invitations to various parties which involve trying to sell me something. I don’t really consider this to be a party, and I don’t attend events that obligate me to purchase something. (Don’t try to tell me that I am not obligated – I certainly feel that way when I attend.) I was recently chided that I had not responded to a Facebook invitation to a sales party, which happens to take place about 200 miles away. Obviously, this invitation was blasted out to everyone on this person’s friend list, without regard to whether it was realistic for them to attend. At what point does it become rude to attempt to obligate me to buy something and then demand an explanation as to why I had not responded? (In my defense, I had typed a response and thought I had hit send, but it wasn’t received on the other end.) Would it be rude to post on my Facebook page that I don’t attend these types of events, and if you have a problem with me not responding, please don’t invite me? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated.

  • Ann Cecelia

    I really don’t know what is wrong with people. Are they so self-absorbed that they can’t acknowledge an invitation by simply (& it is very simple) clicking going or decline (maybe is a bad RSVP in my book).

  • Ann Cecelia

    there is no app for the events section of Facebook. How very rude of you to regard them as trash.

  • I am glad you think so (sic). Anytime I get those requests and FB demands I afford the app- or whatever the heck you think it is (sorry, they are apps)- take the rights to see/watch/spy on what I do- I kill them.
    If you think that’s rude- Wow, am I glad you are not on my list. I like my privacy- and will decide when and if I cede my private rights. I won’t let YOU decide how and what I do. And, more importantly, I have NO right to let my friends and acquaintances have their rights intruded upon for the likes of you, either.

  • Ann Cecelia

    you are a very selfish man. May God help us all.

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