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Remember back in the day when our mothers made a really big deal about how important it was to RSVP to birthday parties? She’d follow up on the guest list about a week or two before the birthday party, making nice little check lists to ensure that she had the final guest list figured out before the actual event.
That doesn’t happen anymore does it?
No, it does not. I’m saying this because I’m guilty of it. I’m sure you probably are too.
Back in the olden days, you know when we had paper invites, before there was email, text messaging and years before social media was even a twinkle in our eye, you had to actually RSVP for an event. There wasn’t any other way. We didn’t have automated emails sending out reminders three days before the event. We didn’t have a handy Facebook event to message all of our guests. The only communication we had was me, myself and I. Perhaps the reason why it feels like so many people actually RSVP’d back in the day is because they simply had to.
In today’s society of instant gratification we’ve really lost the art of manners when it comes to invitations. Electronic invitations, Facebook events, and the like, have created this weird ambiguity that warrants a “maybe” response from 95% of our guests. Why do we RSVP “maybe”?
[Tweet “Why do we RSVP “maybe”? That’s not even a legit RSVP! #manners”]
Perhaps it’s because we’re waiting for something better to come along. Truth be told I’ve been guilty of this. I’ve had several times when an electronic invite has made its way into my email inbox and I thought to myself, “But what if something else comes along that is better than this invitation to buy a ton of books only to have my precious child rip them to shreds later basically throwing away tons of money party?” I’m all for MLM’s, I have a few friends who have been able to be successful in their MLM business without being completely annoying or obnoxious when it comes to business but one can only attend and be invited to so many vendor parties before one simply cannot waste any more money.
In an effort to not be rude, and not waste all the money buying products we don’t need, we simply don’t respond to the invitation or we click “maybe.”
Maybe vs. Decision Making
It’s a nice word, isn’t it? I say it to my children all the time.
“Mom, can I have a play date?”
One hour later…
“No, sweetie honey pie, you can’t have a play date today.”
“But Mom you said I could!!!!!”
“No, I didn’t. I said ‘maybe.'”
And that, my friends, is how we have embraced the elusive RSVP as a society. Slowly, one electronic party invitation at a time.
There’s no denying that there was this sense of camaraderie when our mothers were mothering. Things were more simple, children had to entertain themselves and actual real live human contact was a necessity of life. We didn’t have screens to hide behind. We had, get this: THE TELEPHONE. Yes, the one with a long cord that was hopefully long enough to allow walking across the kitchen while remaining intact. You couldn’t click a button to say you weren’t attending a party. You couldn’t even say “maybe” as your RSVP. Why? Because “maybe” meant yet another phone call to confirm whether or not you’ll even be able to attend so really, “maybe” wasn’t even an option. In 1990, I’m 100% certain that my mother would’ve never called my friend’s mother to tell her that “maybe” I would attend her birthday party.
That doesn’t even make sense when you think about it! No one in their right mind would ever RSVP “maybe” for anything!!!
The way I see it we have two options as parents: Continue down this ambiguous road of wishy-washy RSVP’s in an effort to not offend the host OR we let our yes be yes and our no be no? What do we want our children to learn from us? “It’s okay to be wishy-washy, Benny, you don’t want to offend Sally Jo so we’ll just say maybe.” No, I don’t want my children to think that life is better left waiting for something or someone better to come along. I actually do want them to learn how to make a decision and commit to it. No, I’m not going to raise wishy-washy-hope-for-something-better and better-to-not-offend-than-make-a-decision children. I want for my children to let their “yes” be yes and their “no” be no. So go ahead and invite me to your event, your MLM party, your whatever. I’ll RSVP “going” or “not going” and you’ll not have to wonder what my intention truly is.
Bert Anderson is a blogger and social media manager mom of three living outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota. She’s the author behind the blog First Time Mom, where she honestly chronicles the peaks and valleys of parenting. Even though she has more than one child, Bert maintains that whether you have one child or 19, there’s a first time for everything. She’s a lover of coffee, conversations, pop culture, healthy living and fitness.