RSVP is Dead: How Modern Technology Killed the Meaning of RSVP

MailboxThink about the last time you tried to plan an event with your friends. Was it awful? Did you immediately regret pressing the send button to all your friends?

For the last several years, I’ve either been avoiding hosting events for my friends or fooling myself into thinking I finally have enough friends to put together a stress-free party (wrong every time). One of the particularly annoying parts about trying to host an event is getting any of your friends to tell you if they are or are not coming.

RSVP used to solve this problem, but the real meaning of RSVP is now dead. Modern technology killed it.

According to a How Stuff Works article, “RSVP comes from the French phrase, “répondez, s’il vous plaît,” which means “please reply.” The person sending the invitation wo­uld like you to tell him or her whether you accept or decline the invitation. That is, will you be coming to the event or not?”

Before technology gave us the convenience (and horror) of constant communication with our friends, RSVP was guests’ one-time shot to confirm or decline attendance. According to the rules of etiquette, these are the only two options. If friends aren’t sure if they can attend the event, the polite thing to do is decline the invitation. That means ‘maybe’ is not a thing. Do you hear me Facebook? ‘Maybe’ is NOT a thing.

But alas, modern day friends can click ‘maybe’ or ‘unsure’ or ‘I don’t know’ without a second thought, knowing they can always come back to their decision. Some friends even have the audacity to simply not respond until one day before the event, at which point I want to promptly rescind my invitation (unfortunately I’m usually too desperate for guests that I let it slide).

I long for the days that guest lists were split into two clean, uncomplicated categories. Planning dinner parties and Super Bowl soirees must have been a breeze. “Yes, my college roommate will be joining us,” and “No, your mother’s dentist was busy” – instead of, “I texted her earlier, and sent your friends a Facebook message…no response.”

Those days are gone along with the simple, straightforward RSVP.

For this reason, allcal chose not to include RSVP in our event-planning system. We decided an ongoing Chat would make it easier to get immediate responses from all your friends at once. We also added a flexible Reminder option, that lets hosts send an automatic message to friends reminding them about the event (or to respond before you stop by the grocery store).

The allcal team unfortunately can’t bring RSVP back to life, but these unique features will help event creators and attendees communicate in a way that’s useful for everyone. I can also promise you this – if allcal ever does decide to add a RSVP feature, this particular team member will let the developers add a ‘maybe’ option OVER HER DEAD BODY.

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