THE TALKING FRANKLY GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE IN THE MODERN WORLD
In no way are these posts endorsed by the likes of June Dally Watkins or any professional royal butlers.
Let's start at the beginning.
What is etiquette?
Etiquette is defined as "the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group"
You may know this more commonly as 'How not to be an arse'.
We start today with the lost art of the RSVP. RSVP is French for 'répondez s'il vous plaît' which means 'Please Reply'. Why we use the French I don't know - I suspect it's because everybody loves an acronym and a second language makes us 'tres chic'.
Let's start with a quiz to help you identify your own RSVP habits:
A friend sends you an invite to an event. They use Facebook or email to send it because this is 2014 and that is how we communicate these days. Do you:
a) read the invitation, check your calendar and with partners, etc and reply by the RSVP date?
b) read the invitation, and reply maybe but you have to check your calendar, talk to your partner and forget all about it, leaving the poor bastards hanging?
c) read the invitation and reply yes, knowing full well you aren't going to go but hey, it's not you paying for catering?
d) read the invitation, reply yes figuring that if you get a better invitation you'll take that instead because hey, it's not you paying for the catering?
e) read the invitation, and don't reply at all because you don't want to commit?
f) read the invitation, and don't reply at all because, actually, you don't know why, you just didn't?
f) don't read the invitation?
If you answered anything but A, you're an arse.
It's okay we can fix this.
There is no good reason bar a scenario that requires Jake Gyllenhaal to rescue you from a freak ice storm that takes over the world to not reply to somebody when you are invited to something. Apart from accidental death, but that is a fairly rare occurrence so unlikely to count as a genuine excuse.
The basic rules are this.
- Reply. ALWAYS REPLY.
- If you say yes and that changes for reasons you can't control, let them know ASAP.
- If you say yes, don't blow them out for something cooler. If the opportunity is a once in a life time, talk to your friend - they'll get it.
- If you say yes, turn up.
- If you say no, don't turn up.
- If you don't reply, don't expect to be invited again. The one strike rule applies because generally if you're an arse once, you're an arse all the time.
- If you forget, ring them and own up. Apologise.
When people invite you to something it's because they want you there. If you don't reply, it's basically telling them you don't value them, or the invitation. Even if it's a business invitation, somebody has taken the time to ask you and you should be polite enough to say 'Thanks but no thanks'.
When it comes down to it, don't make them do the following up, it feels very much like begging and I can assure you, whoever you are, you're not that cool.
So in summary - RSVP etiquette can be summed up with one key point.
- Don't be an arse, reply.