If you’re like me, you’re getting more and more invitations through Facebook. Sometimes the invitations are for small events, like birthday parties or intimate get togethers, others are big events where everyone and their sister is invited.
You might wonder, as a friend of mine does, how to respond to the invitations. Do you need to always respond? Are there times it’s OK not to respond? Do you need to give an excuse? And, while we’re on the topic of online invitations, how about evites? How does one respond to those?
Let me start with Facebook invitations. The very nature of Facebook makes the invitations that come from them much more informal, even more informal than evites. Facebook has something called “suggested events” which are events that are suggested to you because of your connection to your friends, pages you like, places you’ve checked-in at and the apps you use on Facebook. So they haven’t necessarily been sent to you directly from your friends.
If the invitation is for a party a friend is hosting, you should respond whether you will attend or not. For instance, one of my friends invited me to a birthday party she is hosting. I declined because I’ll be out of town.
I also have several suggested events to things like a seminar, a Rat City Rollergirl event in the Pike Place Market and a networking event. While I’m certain the organizers would love to have me there, the invitation is more of an announcement and less of an actual invitation. I don’t typically respond to those unless the organizer is a good friend.
When you do decline an invitation, whether it’s a Facebook invitation or evite, you do not need to give a reason, unless you want to. I try to be honest, and if I really wanted to attend the event but can’t due to a conflict, I will write, something like, “Darn, I’ll be out of town, I’m sorry to miss it. Thank you for thinking of me.” But, if you aren’t sorry to miss it, don’t fake it. If you really feel compelled to give a reason, simply say you have a conflict. That conflict could be you washing your hair, but they don’t need to know that.
Let’s talk about evites. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but evites are more personal because they come directly to you via email. Evite does not “suggest” the events like Facebook does. So, they do require a response even if you can’t attend. Let me repeat that, you must respond to evites whether you can attend or not. If you can’t attend, it is not necessary to give a reason.
Now, let’s discuss invitation etiquette. If you are hosting an event such as a birthday party, baby shower, anniversary, etc, using Facebook to invite people is really not appropriate. It’s too casual and very likely overlooked. I often miss invitations to events that are posted on Facebook because I don’t see them, or I get on Facebook and get off quickly.
Not only will you likely have lower attendance and response rates from Facebook invitations, it’s really too informal for more personal celebrations. Send an Evite or Paperless Post. For more formal events such as a milestone birthday or anniversary, graduation or wedding announcement a mailed invitation is more appropriate.
What do you think about Facebook invitations? Do you respond to them? Why or why not? Do you respond to evites? If so, why, if not, why ever not?