Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Life of the Party

Clicking around the blogosphere, trying to catch up on my blog reading from last week, I came upon this interesting discussion at Marginal Revolution:


So my question of the day is: When you go to a party, are you the type of person who is there on-time, or the type of person who shows up much later?

I tend to show up almost to the minute – at most 5 or 10 minutes after the stated start time. I rather enjoy helping to set things up and hanging out with the host in a more relaxed atmosphere, getting to catch up a bit before the deluge of other guests comes. That way, I will already have had a substantial visit with the hosts and am then free to meet and greet all the other folks as they come. I also think it is more respectful of the hosts to show up more or less on time – otherwise, the hosts are just there twiddling their thumbs, wondering where everyone is . . . I know that feeling all too well . . .

When I throw a party, I try to have everything ready right on time, but inevitably everyone shows up an hour late. I’m not kidding – one time Mr. Random and I had a New Year’s Day party at our home, and everyone was supposed to show up at 5 . . . people didn’t start rolling in until 6 or so. During that hour, I was just mortified – didn’t we say 5 o’clock? Do people not like us? Mr. Random and I were at the window almost every other minute, frantic, wondering where everyone was . . . finally, one couple showed up, and as they walked in they were surprised that no one else was there . . . the rest of the folks arrived shortly thereafter . . . to this day, I don’t know why EVERYONE was late . . . I guess everyone was on “Democrat” time or something . . .

I am also a big believer in RSVP’ing . . . one time, we invited a whole bunch of our friends to come over for a party on a Saturday, and sent out the e-mailed invites about a month in advance, and by the Friday before the party I had only heard from 5 people that they were coming. So, of course, Mr. Random and I prepared for that many people. I was way too busy all day Saturday to check my e-mail again – I mean, why would I need to? Well, that night we were in for quite a surprise when 14 people showed up . . . the newcomers said that they did RSVP, and when I checked on Monday . . . yup, they did! . . . but, goodness, give me at least a day’s notice, pretty please?

I don’t know if this is just a D.C. thing, where no one wants to commit to anything in case something better comes along, but I think it’s rather rude not to let people know ahead of time if you’re coming . . . especially those of us on a budget who have to plan ahead very carefully what menu to have and how much food to buy . . .

So, question number two, are you an “RSVP’er” or a “show-up-if-I-feel-like-it”-er?


Virginia Gal said...

I'm always late, but in my defense I'm Indian, we couldn't be on time if our lives depended on it.

I always RSVP exactly as the invitation says - cause like you, I think it is rude not too. People do use the headcount to determine how to plan for the party. I hate people who don't RSVP to see "if something better will come along." Ugh that is just sleazy to me, insincere. I end up not staying friends with people like that - they are not true.

Eric Grubbs said...

I always RSVP and show up early at the party. In the case of the wine tasting parties we have at our house, we strongly encourage people to show up at a designated time. With our big theme parties, people show up at all times of the night.

Here's a funny thing using your example: if you put on the invite that the party is starting at 4pm, then people will probably show up at 5pm as there is some sort of time delay with people. Since no one wants to be the first or last to the party, there's always going to be a sort of periodic arrival.

Merci said...

I always RSVP. If I think I will be very late for some reason, I let the host know. Most of the parties we go to give a start time of, "anytime after 7:00," or something like that, so being on the dot is not required.

I've given up on using email for invitations. Too many people don't check their email regularly.