On: manners, reciprocation and the damn RSVP

Oh Facebook, pharmacy such an issue for so many of us. Thanks to all who weighed in with their thoughts. I wrote that Facebook post a while ago, treatment along with this one. Both are thoughts that have been on my mind for a while and I am only getting around to posting them now.


Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others.  If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter which fork you use.  ~Emily Post

I’ve talked before about how for a long time the Mister & I didn’t have much money – especially the jobless period before Moira was born. But even as the couple with little money who lived in the small apartment we were the entertainers. People would – and I’m not joking here – call us up and ask when we were having our next pizza party or say they been over for a while and could they come over for tea? We host a yearly (eight years now) New Year’s Eve open house. Now we also host a monthly (whole foods, plant based) potluck (replacing the pizza party). This is great fun and we enjoy doing it (or we wouldn’t) but – here’s the rub – we rarely get invited anywhere. People come over for dinner but don’t reciprocate. People invite themselves over but don’t reciprocate. When we call people up to see what they are doing they say they are busy or their house is too messy to have people over (let me tell you – no one’s house is as messy as ours, even before children). So when I said in my last post: the Mister and I are still the ones who put out more effort than we receive, this is what I meant.

The Mister and I have spent years speculating on reasons for this. Perhaps it is because some of our old friends are DINKS (double income no kids) who have filled their social calendars with people more important than us (this is honestly how I feel some times). Or, because they can afford to go out to dinner all the time they don’t invite people over. We know part of this is true. When we do get an invite out on the odd occasion it is usually to a late night party at an expensive restaurant to celebrate someones birthday – something we couldn’t afford before and now can’t attend because of children. Or maybe we are just stinky?

Growing up my parents often had friends over for dinner and, sure enough, at some point over the following months, they would be out being entertained by whoever was over recently. Reciprocation. Do people not teach this to their children anymore?  On the odd occasion we are invited anywhere I make sure to send a thank you note (via e-mail but still) the next day. However, I can’t even get people to acknowledge or RSVP when I invite them over. We’ve had incidents where we were expecting friends for dinner and they didn’t show up –  with no word of acknowledgement or apology after the fact. Or, friends when invited for dinner at a certain time show up – consistently – three or four hours late. (No, we don’t invite those people over anymore.) I would be truly embarrassed if that were me.

It is, in a word, frustrating and I wonder if I am expecting too much of people?

There are exceptions to all of this of course and things are slowly changing. I have a couple really good single girlfriends who work all the time and still make the effort to either invite us all over or invite me over so I can get some away time. We also have some newer friends who invite us over. People who call us up and ask us what we are doing and if we would like to come over to their place. Every time it happens we are still a little shocked. Of course, these people also have children our age and it seems that people with toddlers are so grateful to have other people with toddlers that are willing to invite them over (and not get upset when their kid writes on the furniture) – they know the meaning of reciprocation.

I think part of simplifying one’s life (and don’t we all talk about wanting to do that?) is cutting out those areas that are negative or frustrating. I would like to add though that I live a very drama-free life. I hear people talking about toxic relationships all the time I don’t have any of those – either it is because I have a very low bull$hit tolerance or the because all the people I know are essentially good people but some of them happen to be lazy and/or inconsiderate and/or need a refresher course in manners.  I think about manners a lot these days because good manners is something I want to beat into instill in the girls from a very early age.

So what do you think: am I being old fashioned to expect people to reciprocate in some form after we have invited them over? Is it wrong to expect people to RSVP when I invite them to a party? Am I living in the wrong century?

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