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Danny Wallace: The perils of forgetting to RSVP to a party

"Did I RSVP? I don’t think I RSVP’d."

Danny Wallace: The perils of forgetting to RSVP to a party
01 November 2017

Someone I don’t know all that well is about to reveal themselves as absolutely furious.

They start off nicely enough, with a jolly post on Facebook.

“Well what a fantastic evening last night was,” they write, popping it underneath a picture of them standing in a pub with a pint.

“Thank you so much if you came along to my birthday party!! It was absolutely amazing to see you all!!”

Oh yeah! His birthday party. I think I remember there was a mass email about that. “I feel so lucky to have so many excellent friends who care deeply about me!”

That’s nice. I am pleased for him. “Thank you also for your cards!” He got cards! Though he doesn’t mention presents. Still, cards are good.

“The only sour note,” he continues, in a subtle change in tone, “were the people who did not even BOTHER to RSVP.”

Uh oh. “It is frankly unbelievable that these people could not bring themselves to respond… I contacted them BY EMAIL.”

Did I RSVP? I don’t think I RSVP’d. “From now on I aim to rid myself of those around me who are TOXIC people and move forward without them in my life for my own wellbeing.”

Who’s he talking about? Me? I read to the end, wide-eyed.

“I do NOT NEED THEM. Lots of love, Simon.”

Underneath are lots of comments from Simon’s proper friends. Some are claiming ignorance of the party, but he is having none of it.

“I emailed you about it to your work and your private account, Lisa, so maybe you want to check your junk mail as apparently I am going there for some reason.”

Others are desperately claiming there were last-minute changes of plan. “That is fine, I am aware that life happens, all I am asking is that you have enough decency to inform your host that you will no longer be attending.”

Host? It was a night down a pub by a Nando’s, he hadn’t booked The Dorchester. And all the while, all I want to shout is ‘mass email!’

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Because this was not a handwritten invitation on thick embossed card for which he’d done a calligraphy course. This invite was not hand-delivered to my house by an urchin on horseback who made you sign for it then looked deep in your eyes and soulfully said, “Simon really hopes you in particular can make it,” before gripping your wrist and mouthing, “Do not anger Simon!”

It was just a mass email! Delivered en masse! And when I get a mass email – one that usually starts, “Hi all, apologies for the mass email!” – my eyes glaze over at the words, for I am merely one of many. I think you should be allowed to dismiss mass emails.

There should be no shame in saying, “Yes, I got your mass email, and I ignored it.”

But people who send mass emails seem to think they are of the upmost importance. “I expect you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you all here!” they imagine themselves saying, pacing around an electronic drawing room as we hang on their every word. “It is because I wish to gauge interest in my starting a squash group.”

“Ooh!” we are supposed to respond. “Tomorrow, I will gather you again as I ask whether anyone has a spare room going in the Chiswick area for a friend-of-a-friend. And on Monday, a further gathering, as I announce I am selling a 2011 Sanyo microwave!”

It’s like someone standing up in a restaurant and shouting, “Hi all, I might order an egg!”

You don’t expect everyone in earshot to form an orderly queue and then give you their own individual take on you ordering an egg. You expect them to just nod and wish you all the best with it.

Well, might I suggest the sender take the time to do things properly in the future! How hard is it to type someone’s name, then painstakingly craft an individual message in the body of an email six or seven hundred times over the course of two or three days?

I think about whether I should respond to this man’s post.

I mean, maybe I should have RSVP’d, but then I barely know him. Did he really need to know I was not coming to know I was not coming? But this is a trap!

Anyone responding with an excuse or apology is exposing themselves not only as people who did not RSVP who must now beg his forgiveness, but also as people arrogant enough to think he’d care if they turned up or not.

I must find a way around this. So I write him a personal email. Privately. Thereby healing his wounds and showing him how you do things at the same time. Then he’ll have to reply – it’s a personal email! – and we’ll both feel better! So I write the email:

Hey man – sorry I didn’t make it to your thing. Danny.

I press send. I wait two days.

He does not reply. Oh my God, the guy is toxic. No wonder he only got cards.

(Image: iStock)