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Why do we suddenly need to confirm plans?!?

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What is with this? Ok, I get if you schedule, say, a dinner out with a group of people a week in advance it's a good idea to just double-check that everyone can make it the day of, or the day before. Although frankly, if I'm invited to an event I don't expect or need a confirmation, I just show up, AS PLANNED, unless told not to.

So, I've been away off and on for the Holidays and vacation time in Germany, and have a friend that has wanted to get together. She called this week and asked if I had plans this weekend, I said no and we tentatively planned to go hiking Sunday (today). Last night I sent her a text confirming hiking at 4 followed by me cooking dinner. She replied, via text, "sure, sounds good". Here it is, 4:45 and I've heard nothing from her. I've started dinner, my first ever attempt at homemade rolls no less!, and she just calls wondering if "we're still on?" Umm, why wouldn't we be? Granted, it's cold out (35ish degrees), but I cold see showing up at the correct time and deciding on a glass of wine instead of a hike, but to just not show up unless I confirmed? Now, she's still coming over because I let her know that from my perspective it was always "on". So now she's going to show up at 7 for a dinner I'd planned around 6. Guess my first rolls will have to be served cold with a side of, "I'm pissed off".

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  1. I'm confused....is this something that has been happening alot of late..with many people? One example does not an alarming new trend make.......

    2 Replies
    1. re: im_nomad

      Well, I thought it was just me (even before this instance), so didn't think much of it, but I've recently seen it pop up on some etiquette sites. It's even a question on the etiquette column on this site, although I must confess to not being a fan. I guess that's the point of my post, are other people experiencing a similar phenomenon where they have firm plans, but neglect to call/email/text to remind the group that it's still on, and, as a result, people don't show up? Maybe I just have inconsiderate friends. Afterall, the friend tonight did show up 20 minutes late...

      1. re: mjhals

        Wait she showed up at seven twenty instead of seven? Gah. Yeah this is a trend I think. People like to keep their options open, in case a better offer comes along, or they just don't feel like it when the time comes. People sometimes want to do what they want, when they want and the hell with planning. To do this and still have a social life, they need flexible accomodating friends who are ready to switch thing up at the last minute. Guess which one I am? If I don't stop bending to everyone's whim pretty soon I'm going to get whiplash from all the u-turns I make in my social planning. Hope your rolls turned out anyway.

    2. I think there's just a general loss of the ability to make decisions or commitments in our society. I'm not even going to try to say why.

      1 Reply
      1. re: yayadave

        I'm willing to commitment to agreeing with you!

        In observations within my various groups, this seems to happen more when the planning is by e-mail rather than phone or person to person.

      2. I'm with you mjhals. If I've been invited somewhere and have accepted I assume that it's "on" unless I hear otherwise.

        However, if the weather is extremely bad (it's been -20s here often this winter with blowing snow and poor visibility) I will get in touch with the other party the day before (if the storm has been forecasted) or early in the day to see what's going on or let them know that I can't make it anymore. Usually in that situation everyone's been advised to stay off the roads anyway so they're rarely surprised.

        1. I had a friend send an e-mail recently about an hour before our party asking "are you still having your get together tonight?" I was flabbergasted - did he think we would have sent out invites and just cancelled without telling anyone? He had not given us an RSVP - maybe this was his way of confirming? In the end he did come. I should note that he is a very sweet guy, not at all rude or thoughtless normally.

          What I'm wondering is - are people having to confirm because they've had an experience of the host/hostess dropping a plan they've made? Maybe this calling to confirm is a reaction to prior experience. We all complain about guests who don't bother to confirm/keep plans. Maybe there are equally rude hosts out there contributing to the problem.

          5 Replies
          1. re: lupaglupa

            I think what your friend meant was, "I forgot to RSVP and I am wondering if I am still welcome?" He didn't really think the party was cancelled, but he was feeling a little sheepish and possibly even giving you an "out", if you hadn't planned on him coming and couldn't accomodate him last-minute.

            1. re: julesrules

              We're realy good friends and he's not the type to do something like that - I really think he was sincerely asking if it was still on.

            2. re: lupaglupa

              I agree with the experience of hosts who are known to drop plans last minute etc. I have a friend who regularly has cancelled parties and such to the degree that people feel the need to ultra-confirm.

              I think it's perfectly polite to contact a host/hostess before a party to confirm plans, also gives an opportunity to confirm "is there anything I can bring?" Guests who need to be reminded of the fact that they agreed to come and otherwise don't show....well that's another story.

              1. re: lupaglupa

                lupaglupa- this made me laugh out loud. i haven't yet experienced the 'are you still having it' phenomenon, but i have noticed that people don't commit to coming anymore. i sincerely hope hosts and hostesses have not started dropping their party plans last-minute. then we would truly know the end of days is near. ha ha

                1. re: njchowgal

                  This is a problem for caterers too, nobody seems to book until the last minute. It's definitely a trend.

              2. I'm not seeing this trend with my friends but then we kind of distance ourselves a bit from the people that do this to us. We have one friend who we tolerate but never count on and never wait for but we love here anyway. That is the exception. She and her hubby often don't get invited to smaller gatherings because it is annoying. I think it is just lack of consideration for other people. I'm old fashioned - I show up on time. I usually call the hostess (if close friend) on the way and ask if there is anything they need. Often we've been asked to stop for ice, etc. so someone doesn't have to run out for something forgotten. Lousy trend!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Linda VH

                  I have a similar flaky friend and one way our small group handled it was to make our plans (date, time, place) without consulting her, then invite her along for the ride, so to speak. It just felt way less annoying when were weren't working around her to make the plans she would eventually flake on. Then if she showed up, great, if not, oh well.

                  1. re: Linda VH

                    yeah I know a couple of people like the "flaky" you describe....one of them I know has a bit of social anxiety...so often has good intentions when accepting, but things change on the day. Some people are just in a winter funk or what not as well, and might need an extra push. Sometimes we like to be talked into stuff. Or maybe parties are a sore point between someone and their SO, and they're prone to pre-party arguments, and end up not coming.

                    I'm not normally a flaky person, and i'm good with keeping plans and such. I relay the experience of a few years ago, post-bad-breakup, for a little while when with very good intentions and a desire to get back "out there", I accepted a few invitations that I ended up bailing on the day, when I couldn't give myself the kick in the arse I needed. I'm sure I annoyed a couple of people around then.

                  2. With tentative plans or a formal invite ... I always call a day before just to check. I never ask is it on. Obviously if she is any friend she would of called if it wasn't. But I would simple ask if I could bring anything or help out. Sort of the same thing as asking but in a subtle way. I know my schedule and never ending interuptions so I can understand if something did happen. Especially if it was just a simple get together. And time. 6 pm dinner I am there a few minutes before the requested time. I hate when people are late. Open house is different but at 7 pm party means 7pm, not 8 guys and girls. Annoying.

                    1. Plans made last week to go hiking, confirmed last night via text to meet at 4, then a no-show and WTF, rescheduling of day and dinner plans...

                      You DID confirm and your friend is rude.

                      I knew people like this and stopped making plans with them because it made me feel bad (selfish, I know). If they didn't show up or at least call within 20 minutes of the time we were planning to do something, I'd go and do it anyway, without them--in the time of cell phones, they can meet at the appointed place or en route, but there's no way I'm waiting around for them because that puts me in a crappy mood which lingers. I felt like a dolt who's being taken advantage of, and the care that goes into the preparation and your get together with said person is less than ideal because you're pissed. There are exceptions (ie forgetting to set the alarm but then letting you know they'll be right over, apologies for looking disheveled! or an accident--I fell head first down the stairs getting out of the tub...my car won't start or the cat/dog/child/SO is sick and I can't make it), but with some people, this is how they are, either waiting for better plans or simply inconsiderate.

                      Regarding the weather, yes, it was in the low 30s yesterday and we went for a hike. I was freezing the entire time, but felt better having done it. That we found the cache on our first try was good too (although the dog tried to steal the marker).

                      1. I'm not sure when this trend started, but I usually confirm because I have been in the situation where someone, for whatever reason, just assumes that plans have been canceled. It's also an issue our society though, I think. One of my biggest pet peeves is inviting someone over, usually I'll say "between 6-6:30" to give them some wiggle room...and then they show up at 6:45. Maybe it's a control issue?

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: Fromageball

                          No, I agree. 6 or 6:30 means that. If someone told me 6 or 6:30 I would be there at 6:10 no later. I understand cooking and time tables. If they said seven dinner at 7:30 I would be there at 7:00 when they said. I think you are right. Nothing wrong with that. You are organized and on top of things. control maybe, but it is a good thing.

                          1. re: kchurchill5

                            Having grown up with parents who were always late for everything, I was scarred enough to not want to follow in those footsteps. I changed all of the clocks in the house and cars (plus watches), but they were furious when they found out what I had done (ignoring the fact that they had actually been showing up on time for a few months); I did this a few times. Ditto with having to tell certain people the time was 6:00, instead of 6:45 or 7:00...either work with what you have, or give up and get on with enjoying your life. Waiting around frustrated is a waste of time.

                            1. re: Caralien

                              yes, sometimes its easier just to change your clocks than change a person. My husband is chronically late...my Dad once made a comment that he was running on "Jerry time." Its partly cultural, I'm sure. US folks are much more anal about time.

                              Now I just lie. If I want him home for dinner at 7, I tell him dinner is at six. And I out-and-out lie about what time I have to be at airports. Unfortunately, he's starting to get on to that one...he'll ask me "what time does your flight leave"
                              and then ask "Now what time does it REALLY leave?" :-)

                              Seriously, if you know someone is always late, just lie about the time you want to start dinner and get on with life. Its not worth getting upset about.

                              1. re: janetofreno

                                I don't think it's cultural. My father was third generation Californian, 10th generation American.

                                1. re: janetofreno

                                  I do the time-lying with various friends of mine, it works until they figure it out. My parents tell a funny story, where one of their friends was chronically late so they started telling him that whatever it was that they were meeting, that they were meeting 30-40 mins before they actually were. This worked until the one day that he actually showed up "on time" and no one was there and got angry. :)

                            2. re: Fromageball

                              Yes, but I have in-laws who sometimes think that 6pm really means 5:30. That's annoying becuase I am usually scrambling to pick up the living room and finish pulling myself together. Not sure if it's a control issue to an inability to time traffic. I have to say, I would rather them come at 5:30 for a 6pm dinner than 6:30 for the same.....

                              1. re: jenhen2

                                I have that too. My parents always show up 20 minutes early ... like clockwork, lol. They will never change.

                                1. re: jenhen2

                                  It's a side effect of always wanting to be one time. You leave super early just in case there is a delay. I used to do that, drove my friends crazy now I try to be a little late and am exactly on time!

                                  1. re: PurpleTeeth

                                    There's the saying that if you're on time, you're late. If you arrive somewhere early you can always piddle around outside for a few minutes if you want.

                                    1. re: jgg13

                                      Haha, my band director in high school was quite fond of this phrase and I since my pet peeve is being late immediately took to it.
                                      The downside is that I've randomly driven around a neighborhood or stopped for non-perishables at a grocery store many a time due to being so early. I'm getting the hang of actually being on time now and keep my fingers crossed nothing delays me.

                                      1. re: Lixer

                                        I just always make sure to pessimistically estimate how long everything takes in terms of the steps of my journey (x minutes to walk to the subway, y minutes to get to the stop i'm going to, etc) so I pretty much always arrive pretty early for things if I'm left to my own devices. When dealing w/ other friends though they tend to get mad when they realize that I'm factoring in a 20-30 minute grace period :) My goal is to never be late, even if things go awry (to a reasonable degree, of course).

                                        1. re: jgg13

                                          there are two kinds of people in the world, and they often marry each other. I'm like you; always build in a fudge factor, and for trips to the airport, multiple fudge factors for each leg of the journey. It keeps my blood pressure lower. My husband schedules things "as if traffic never happens", even on the regular commute that has "standard" traffic delays 99% of the time. Sigh.

                                2. re: Fromageball

                                  I had a rather huge blowup with a few friends based on extreme tardiness. I RSVPed for them after verifying more than once that they'd come because the hostess was making a good deal of food, and then 3 hours in they decided it was a good idea to call to check in. I don't get all that mad about 30 minutes late because I have a lot of friends with whom I must use the Caralien approach and lie about the time, but in no way is 3 hours late acceptable.

                                  1. re: queencru

                                    3 hours ..yikes. Not sure if they would be on my list next time :)

                                3. Yeah, the rolls sucked. They were edible right out of the oven, piping hot, but they went quickly downhill after that. I'm not much of a baker I guess.

                                  Also, in this instance I'm definitely not one to cancel without telling people. So, while that's an interesting theory on the increase in this type of thing, and may account for other people's experiences, not in this case.

                                  Interestingly, I'm having my 30th birthday dinner on Friday at a place that will not seat you unless your entire party is present. AND you're likely to lose the reservation if you're not all there w/in a reasonable time. This friend is coming, and has also invited along her parents, and I have this sinking feeling that she's going to show up supremely late. So, my follow-up question is, how long do I give her on Friday before I tell the restaurant, "we're no longer a party of 8, please just seat the six of us?"

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: mjhals

                                    As soon as possible, as the table will have to be rearranged and servers/bussers realigned for fairness purposes (as equal as possible considering average headcount distribution) by the managers.

                                    1. re: Caralien

                                      I'll definitely try to do it as soon as possible, otherwise I doubt they'll be able to accommodate us. I guess I'm just trying to figure out how long do I give her, if she does run late, before I pull the plug and alert the restaurant that we are now a smaller group? 10 minutes? 15? Frankly, I'm inclined to give her 5 minutes after Sunday's debacle, but that may be a little harsh.

                                      I'm having dinner tomorrow night with her and two other friends who will also be attending the birthday dinner. I'm think of, tactfully (hopefully), mentioning the restaurant's policy at that time, and gently saying something like, "so if you find yourself running even ten minutes late, please let me know because we'll have to alert the restaurant and they (the restaurant) won't be able to accommodate that", that's reasonable, right?

                                      Sigh. I know I'm only (almost) 30, but it seems like I never used to have these problems. People would just rsvp, cancel appropriately, and show up on time. Then again, I may just be borrowing trouble regarding the birthday dinner, and the friend in question will show up 5 minutes early. Fingers crossed.

                                      1. re: mjhals

                                        I'm rooting 4 ya... (You poor, poor 30 year old...Grrrr....) Hope for the best but expect the worst. Great idea to drop the hint abt. the resto's "STRICT" policy ;). Don't give her and her clan more than 15 mins. leeway time as that that's what most restos usually allow for the "flake factor" Courage!! Adam

                                        1. re: mjhals

                                          I think now that people have cell phones, they don't worry so much about punctuality, they figure they can just call and say they're running late. I find it very rude myself.

                                          1. re: mjhals

                                            mj, your dinner with your friends was on Tuesday - how did the conversation go re: tonight's reservation? (ETA that I read your follow-up post below.....)

                                            If it was just kind of brushed off with a "yeah, OK", I'd call her NOW and *tell* this friend that, if she is not there by 6:15 (if your reservations are for 6pm), that you will have to downsize the party to 6 or risk losing the reservation, and you're not willing to do that. Check with the restaurant as to how long they can hold your reservation and use that as your reasoning. "Gentle" doesn't seem to work with this person.

                                            That way, she's been informed, and if she doesn't show up until an hour later, that's her problem - she'll be having dinner with her parents - and perhaps not at that restaurant if they can't squeeze in a table for 3.

                                      2. Gotta say, I'm old (53) and old school. My parents passed on to me and my sibs, the importance of being gracious. In addition, they did teach us to be on time for an invitation to dinner and to be courteous. This is something I've passed on to my kids (25, 22, and 19) as well and it has served them very well socially.

                                        In the past, before the days of the internet, and just because I have a tendancy toward O/C and neurotic behavior, I would always call up to confirm any sort of engagement--whether it be me as the invitee or me as the invited. It is always a positive thing to be one step ahead at all times--a practice that comes in very handy indeed.

                                        The sad issue here is that, I do believe, good manners and common courtesy are becoming a thing of the past. For some reason, people tend to have everything in an "all about me" frame of mind and carelessness towards others.
                                        Might I suggest, the next time you are out with this person, start a general conversation about "whatever happened to common courtesy and being well-mannered"--if the person cannot contribute to the discussion then you will have a flavor of where their courtesy and manners are and YOU will be the one to make all future confirmations:)

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: jarona

                                          It's all about too much TV. Young people learn their behaviors from the telly.

                                          1. re: yayadave

                                            Tell that to my parents, who are always late, never confirm, and grew up properly in strict households. They're boomers, BTW.

                                            I know people of all ages who have good manners as well as many of all ages who have poor manners. It's not a generational gap. Some people are simply rude and inconsiderate.

                                            1. re: yayadave

                                              I doubt it. Some of the people I know who are the most self-absorbed had strict parents who did not allow for TV. The reality is that every generation complains that the newer generations are losing their manners because of some new technology. As Caralien pointed out, there are rude and inconsiderate people in every generation.

                                              1. re: queencru

                                                These quotes, over 2 millenia old, seemed appropriate:

                                                "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyondwords... When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise [disrespectful] and impatient of restraint" Hesiod

                                                "The world is passing through troublous times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress." Aristotle

                                                "The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers." Socrates

                                                1. re: Caralien

                                                  You give me hope Caralien! Those quotes are terrific.Guess we all grow up to "be our parents"

                                                  1. re: Caralien

                                                    These quotes are GREAT, Caralien!

                                            2. When I make a plan, i stick to it. I dont RSVP yes unless I am 100% sure I want to go bc I hate to bail on people. A few weeks ago a friend invite me and my SO to dinner. I called friday ( dinner was sat) to confirm but also to see if there was something I could bring. THey said a dessert would be appreciated. I woke up sat, made pie dough, blind baked it, and as I was making pastry cream for the tart, they called and cancelled, bc their apartment was messy they said. WHAT? My SO and I joked that we would have stopped by to vaccum... oh well. I think people are inconsiderate, as others have mentioned.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: cassoulady

                                                That just beats all. I'm surprised that you didn't go over there and give them the old 'pie in the face.'

                                                1. re: lupaglupa

                                                  i dont get it, why invite people over if you are going to cancel.

                                                  1. re: cassoulady

                                                    They have a reason, but it's not for us to know I guess. More than once I've had different people cancel because they suddenly developed a "headache", and once I had someone call a half hour before with an unbelievable story of sudden diarrehea (you could just tell she was lying, she didn't even think it out). Ever heard of Aleve or Immodium? I would be so embarrassed to cancel at the last minute, unless I was on the way to the hospital. But because their house wasn't clean, at least it's a funny story!

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Trust me, if you've never had a migraine, a lot of times it is bad enough to cause you to cancel a night's events. I am not saying that the majority of headaches are to that level, but I've certainly had migraines where the smell of food was just unbearable. There's just no way I could have hosted an event in that condition.

                                                      1. re: queencru

                                                        I do get migraines often, I'm just lucky I guess that they don't incapacitate me. If a big event is coming up, I'm careful to avoid all the triggers.

                                                        1. re: coll

                                                          I'm not going to diagnose you over the internet :), but to me, one definition of migraine is "incapacitating headache". I'm sure there are people who say "migraine" when they mean "headache" or "don't wanna", but I hope those people are relatively rare, as it can be such a severe condition.

                                                          On the subject of digestive issues, I would really rather guests stay home if they are suffering that way! For many reasons, but the possibility they have a contagious virus is top of the list.

                                                          If someone is regularly making these excuses, it can be a tough call. They may actually suffer from chronic migraine, IBS, etc, and to exclude them on that basis would be terrible. When I know someone is ill (and this may even apply to someone I suspect is blowing off events because they are depressed), I try not to count on them, but keep inviting them to group events that don't depend on precise attendance.

                                                          1. re: julesrules

                                                            I'm sure Coll has already gone to the doctor and knows she suffers from migraine. It's just like any other headache and can be severe or mild. Typically if you know how to avoid the triggers, you can at least keep a migraine manageable. I know in my case, going to a party is about the worst thing I can do if I feel a migraine coming on or have a mild headache. Being in a car at sunset/dark, smelling all the foods, and hearing all the loud noises are just the worst combination for me.

                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                              My migraines are getting less intense as I get older, but they always last exactly 3 days. Maybe that's why I got used to them, I had a lot of practice. Once I feel it coming on, I can sort of plan around it. I used to get really nauseous too, thank god not anymore, at least now I can take a pain pill and keep it down. Luckily mine seem to start AFTER some kind of big event rather than before. Just lucky I guess!

                                                              There are three different women I can think of that regularly used this excuse in the past, they were spouses of old friends and I'm pretty sure it was just the kind of excuse their husband couldn't argue with. It's not like they would call me later and say let's get together another time. It doesn't bother me all that much, just at that moment since it was always a half hour or less before they were supposed to arrive. I usually only invite one couple over at a time, so there goes the night. But they were all sort of nuerotic anyway and we only invited them to see their SOs who were old friends of my husbands.

                                                              No one who is allergic to smoke would consider coming over to our house, I have to remind my husband sometimes to cool it before guests arrive! We should do the opposite if we get invited somewhere that we don't want to go, ask if we should bring our own ashtrays (PS I've never smoked myself, aside from second (and third) hand, just used to putting up with it).

                                              2. Just an update, I believe the friend in question may have learned her lesson. Just received a call from her confirming the b-day dinner plans and assuring me that her and her parents will be at cocktail hour at my place before proceeding on to the restaurant. I invited everyone over for pre-dinner drinks to gather early and then move on to the restuarant together. I thought it would, first of all, be fun, but also kind of "pad" for late arrivals.

                                                I think friend did get the hint after the situation on Sunday because she showed up on time for our Tuesday outing and now has confirmed for tomorrow. I'm now much more hopeful, but will of course keep you all posted. BTW- glad I'm not on my own on this!

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: mjhals

                                                  I'm glad to hear that. Regarding the original situation, let me suggest an option: if you are making something that needs to be served promptly, say to her or other guests, "You're invited for 7 p.m. and we'll sit down at 7:30." That way, you stick to your menu, and they can either walk in the door and head right to the table, or show their manners and arrive close to 7 p.m. so they can give you a hand. Either way, you are in charge.

                                                  I don't know why Americans have such a horror of being prompt; it's a control issue, but it's also rude not to be on time.

                                                  1. re: brendastarlet

                                                    I don't think it's a horror of being prompt. The U.S. is a multicultural country where people have different ideas about time. For many hosting a party, the start time is the absolute earliest time you can get there without being rude. The host(ess) might prefer you to come 30-60 minutes after that. I don't think it's that hard to make it clear on the invitation that dinner will be served at X time, but if you don't do that, a lot of people might not expect to sit down right away. Typically if I go over to someone's house for food, I usually end up waiting 30-45 minutes anyway.

                                                  2. re: mjhals

                                                    great news!

                                                    I had forgotten about inviting everyone over for cocktails first--that always helps. Maybe she reads CH?

                                                    1. re: mjhals

                                                      Nice to read!

                                                      And have an enjoyable 30th birthday party/dinner!

                                                    2. So, to report back, everything went fairly well. Had cocktails at my place from 7:30-8:30, then had the dinner reservation at 8:30. Friend and family showed up at about 8:10. I was able to pour them a quick glass of champagne before I hustled them out the door. They claimed to have trouble parking, which was confirmed by other guests that parking was hard, of course those other guests arrived on time by budgeting for that sort of difficulty. Still, I can't complain, we made our reservation and had a great birthday dinner with friends. Padding the time with a flexible cocktail hour was the only way to make it work though.

                                                      Lesson learned, the next time she wants to get together, I'm going to ask her to make then plans, then I'll confirm (and show her how NOT to run 30 minutes late).

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: mjhals

                                                        Happy Birthday! Happy to hear everyone was able to join you.

                                                        Your idea of the flexible cocktail hour was quite good, especially with the potential situation you had!

                                                      2. Your situation seems quite weird to me. What I find difficult to deal with is what I call "noncommittal guests." Here's a prime example: We invited another couple over for dinner approximately a month ago, as that was the first free weekend for everyone. About a week after the invitation was extended, the wife says, "I think we can make it. . ." A week or so later, she says, "I think we can make it. . ." Then nothing. About a week before the date, I send an email, confirming the date and giving a time. No response. 3-4 days later, I send a second email. No response. I'm hoping that I'm correct in assuming that they're not coming, because at this point, it would be pretty difficult for me to feel anything but annoyed. Has anyone else encountered this type of situation?

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: phoebek

                                                          If I were you I'd go out that night - leaving earlier than the scheduled time and staying out late. If they show up to a dark house - so be it.

                                                          1. re: lupaglupa

                                                            I think that's a great idea, but I'm likely to see my friend (the wife) today, so I'm planning to be assertive and tell her that since we didn't hear from them, we made other plans.

                                                          2. re: phoebek

                                                            If there's one thing I've learned, people have different levels of interest when it comes to electronic communication. You can't assume anything just because someone fails to respond to an email within a few days. Even people who love email may have technical problems at home that prevent them from accessing their account. If you want to be sure, give the wife a call!

                                                            I don't have Facebook, but almost all of my friends do. They make plans without sending email invites or mentioning it in person and then get offended that I was clueless. I could join Facebook to make it easier for them, but I don't feel like that's something I need to do. If I want to make plans, I just try to choose a method of communication that tends to be preferred by the potential guest. If at that point, the guest is still flaky or unresponsive, then I get annoyed.

                                                            1. re: queencru

                                                              I understand that people don't always respond to emails promptly, but this person usually emails her dinner/party invitations and has internet access both at home and work. I've also tried to call, but got the message that their voicemail box was full.

                                                              1. re: phoebek

                                                                If the voicemail box is full as well, it sounds more like they're out of town and haven't had a chance to check, or something else happened.

                                                                1. re: queencru

                                                                  Yes, queencru, as it turned out, you were absolutely correct. My friend had responded by email, but for some reason it never came through. In the end, we went forward with the dinner party and had a lovely time! Lesson learned: always follow up by phone.

                                                              2. re: queencru

                                                                I have a friend who has the opposite problem. There are an increasing number of plans/bits of info/etc going on between our various friend circles via facebook and she refuses to join. As you note, invariably she ends up on the outside looking in on this or that and gets offended.

                                                                1. re: jgg13

                                                                  I think there are plenty of valid reasons not to join. I know so many people who are obsessed that unless I was ready to devote as much time as they do, I know they'd take offense and assume I was angry at them. You can send invitations and pictures to email addresses, so it's not like the invite issue has to be a real problem.

                                                                  1. re: queencru

                                                                    I'm not saying that she has to join. It isn't quite as often the invite issue as it is just general knowledge. We had a friend coming in from across the pond, who hasn't been back to the states in a few years, he was busy so just gave the details on FB ... well, when she found out that he "excluded" her, she flipped out on him. I know I do that sort of thing all of the time, if I can mass contact people I will, and I don't always have time to sit and think through who are the handful of other folks who won't get the message.