Style and Substance: The lost art of social courtesy

creative life coaching solutions

Michele Armani and Sally Meisenheimer

Michele Armani and Sally Meisenheimer

Dear style & substance:

What has happened to the art of social courtesy? What I mean is: why do most people not reply to an RSVP or worse yet, not want to commit to anything?

Seems as though you are referring to us as a “maybe” society. We too find that responding to an invitation, in both personal and professional settings, has become a lost social courtesy. We do live in a more relaxed society than perhaps our grandparent’s generation and that could be one reason why people do not respond to an invitation, they may not know the expectation. That being said, we are in a position to set the standard! Responding right away by saying, emailing or texting removes the angst of the host or hostess. Should you be unsure…responding with, “I need to check and see, I may have a conflict or I am not sure and will get back to you by (the day)” at least relieves some of the uncertainty. Knowing best how your coworkers, friends or family operate is half of the problem; some respond easier to the phone, some to email, etc….so when inviting, meet people where they are most likely to respond. In having to make a follow up call when people fail to RSVP; make it as painless as possible before you feel those negative emotions setting in…in this way you can set the “new courtesy” standard and hopefully others will take your lead.

Not responding could also be due to the fact that people are overbooked for time and living a very fast paced life. Again, not an excuse, but a reality of the times. Make responding very simple in using the Regrets Only response. This can be tricky when planning for refreshments and other party necessities, but it does simplify. Depending upon the occasion, you may include a self addressed stamped envelope with a response card or, as a sign of modern times, you can send an e-vitation, an electronic invitation, to which your guest can respond electronically.

Good manners are the foundation of any relationship and you can set the expectation by making your own timely response in all matters!

A S K Style & Substance:

Michele Armani and Sally Meisenheimer

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