Etiquette Tips From Advice Guru Liz Pryor: Don't Forget to RSVP

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High-Tech but Out of Touch?

Email invitations are the growing, easy, paper-free alternative, with only weddings and very large functions remaining the exception, for now. Through these invitations we are actually provided a list of invitees.

We are able to read who will attend and who will not and why they will not attend. We are even informed through email about the status of attendance.

We're provided an opportunity to let our host know we will "maybe" attend. Yet often, we still don't respond.

The method has obviously changed, but so have we. Has the electronic option for social purposes dumbed down our manners?

Here is my thought and reminder. Failing to RSVP, forgetting a gift, skipping a party, showing up in the last half-hour, handing in a maybe, and not following up with a concrete answer -- and in your mind imagining it's OK to not have acknowledged an invite -- are all behaviors that directly shout out to our generous hosts that we have little to no regard for them.

Whether you intend that to be the message or not, it is how it's received.

I am hearing the anonymous, aghast and frustrated responses on a daily basis from the hosts of gatherings all across the country.

Perhaps we should go back to imagining what our parents might say, and what we hope to remind our own children: To do the right thing, it makes for a better world. Yes, in a small way, decent and thoughtful behavior adds to all of our lives.

As we ride the wave of change, it is crucial for the integrity of relational social behavior that we remain conscious of how our behavior is met with those we care about in the world.

Occasionally, it's possible to look at the entire picture of change and notice something so small it might look to be the size of a bleep on a huge world screen. It's the tons of bleeps on that screen that ultimately, however, make a difference.

Our job might be to pay enough attention to catch ourselves in time, so that we can continue to model and pass on the practice of kind and thoughtful behavior toward one another.

Regardless of the changes that take place in our world, people remain people. Feelings and emotions remain the same inside of us. Technology will never change that.

What can we do?

We can keep close in our minds the old notion that we want to treat others as we would like to be treated. Small acts of decency in large numbers make life-changing impact.

Next time you receive an invitation, you know what to do.

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