I am a social person. I tend to invite people to my home, my golf course, or even just to lunch because I enjoy spending time with people. I also recognize that not everyone is like me. Many people aren’t crazy extroverts who want to be surrounded by others all the time.
We’ll get to why this matters in a moment.
First, I want to understand a social problem that only seems to be getting worse: the RSVP. When putting together a large get-together, you tend to invite a large number of people, with the understanding that some of them either won’t be able to, or just don’t want to attend. If you look around at an invitation site, like evite.com or even Facebook Events, nearly every event I’ve ever been invited to looks something like this:
Invited: 55 people
Attending: 6 people
Declined: 7 people
Maybe: 42 people!
Should the organizers of the example event above plan for 6 people to attend? Probably not. There will likely be many more than that. What keeps people from making a commitment?
Question 1: Why do so few people respond to electronic invitations?
The second part of my thoughts on the “invitation” is arrival time. Every event has a distinct start time. It’s the time that the host is planning on their guests to begin arriving. In my experience (I’m guilty of this too), the average arrival time is nearly an hour after the event has begun. Is this an attempt to be “fashionably late?”
Question 2: Why doesn’t anyone show up at the time an event is scheduled?
Before anyone reaches out to call me a “whiny child,” I want to be clear, here. Yes, this stuff bothers me, because I think about crap like this all the time. No, I don’t cry myself to sleep when someone doesn’t RSVP. I’m sincerely interested in the social dynamics of an invitation, and I’d love to hear your perspectives, my dear readers, on these topics.