If you REALLY want to drive me crazy, respond to a party invitation at our home with the word, “Maybe.” How do I buy food and drink for Maybe? Will Maybe be bringing her husband and 3 kids or are they also Maybes? Does Maybe need a chair to eat? Does Maybe have dietary issues for which I’d like to prepare? Here’s a secret Maybe: at some point you will have to make a decision about whether or not you are coming. If you are waiting for a better offer for your kid’s Tuesday night between 6-8pm, feel free to roll the dice and say no. I’m not asking you to marry me. I’m asking if you plan to bring your kid to the end-of-season soccer team party. Is this really a huge commitment for you?
When our daughter was younger we used to host an elaborate Easter Egg hunt with prizes for all of the kids in her class. Once a mother called 15 minutes before the event to tell me her son wouldn’t be coming and another parent showed up not having RSVPed with two siblings in tow as well. I can be flexible if it’s just one or two people but with every passing year the social norm seems to be that responding decisively to invitations is optional.
The punishment for not responding to invitations or emailing “Maybe, I’m not sure” to parties should be to have to host the next party and experience what it’s like when you plan a party for 30 people and 23 of them respond with “Maybe, I’m not sure.” There are two appropriate responses to an invitation: “Yes, thank you so inviting me!” or “No, I’m sorry we won’t be able to join you. It sounds like fun.”