I grew up in a world where people were taught to say “Please” and “Thank you”. It was a world where you RSVP’d on time and followed through on your word. If you said you were going to do something, you just did it – no matter the difficulties or challenges that arose; because it was your word that meant everything.
Nowadays, people use words casually without thought to their meaning or consideration for the expectations that they bring when used as promises.
Last week I got married (photos and posts to come soon). Invites went out with plenty of time to RSVP. The RSVP date came and went, but still people had to be chased down to get a response from them as for their attendance. There are a few problems with this coming from the world I grew up in:
*It’s simply disrespectful to ignore an invite to a wedding. The fact that you have been invited to attend an event where two people share their love and publicly promise to commit their lives together should mean something still and your request to be a part of that should feel like an honor – not a right, not a passing event to ignore. To not bother to RSVP on time or at all is disrespectful to a deeply meaningful request even if it means nothing to you personally.
*It’s selfish to not RSVP at all or to ask for a plus one to attend if that plus one was not invited. In both cases, you are not considering that a lot of planning and money go into the invitations and organizing of the special occasion. Weddings are free for you to attend, but in most cases, they are not free to the couple getting married (or perhaps their parents). A lack of response or a request to add one more to the numbers is only a consideration for yourself. A “Sorry I can’t make it” goes much further and shows respect and consideration over a no-response. A “Thank you for your invite” is enough to show your appreciation for the invite to someone’s wedding. Asking to bring someone whom the couple did not initially invite is a bit presumptuous that they would be willing to pay a great deal of money for you to bring someone for your own convenience and preference.
Then, even when all the responses came in there were still some people who were shocking in their lack of courtesy by not showing up to the event at all either without an excuse or a selfish one.
*Forgetting the date is flat out irresponsible and shows a complete lack of care for the wedding couple.
*Choosing not to go out because you were embarrassed at an event the night before is completely self-centered.
*Just not showing at all with absolutely no reason is rude.
We had a number of people tell us ahead of time that they couldn’t make it, but it was done politely and with enough notice that numbers could be changed. Just remember that a wedding entails planning for table seatings, meal plans, ceremony chairs, drinks, nameplates, gifts and so on. It’s not simply saying “Sorry I can’t make it” and then all is good. For you, there’s nothing more, but for the wedding planning it means more emails, more rearranging, financial adjustments, etc.
By not showing up at all, you leave empty seats, paid-for-food and drink left uneaten and drunk, gifts left behind and wasted, and an overall sense of incompleteness because your presence was desired and expected.
Remember that the world does not revolve around you alone and your decisions do not affect only you or those immediately around you. Everyone and everything is interconnected; thus, our actions and words have everlasting effects whether seen or not.
Please just have some common courtesy for others and use your words meaningfully especially when making promises to others.