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Sep 21, 2012 09:52 AM

When (and whether) to follow up on a dinner invitation we've extended to another couple?

My husband and I have invited a couple over for dinner, two weeks ahead of time via email. After 5 days, the lady (to whom I addressed the email) has not yet responded.

Should I follow up? If so, when? Is it fair for us to want to either firm up plans, or be freed to make new plans if they're not available or interested? Or, should we just roll with such schedule ambiguity, even until the day of the proposed event? Let's say a few more days go by. Should a non-response be understood as "hint" that they wouldn't enjoy coming over—or simply inertia, an oversight, or busy-ness on their part?

As a couple, we are mild-mannered and both a little introverted—especially my husband—but we are kind and hopefully worth having as friends. Inviting new friends over takes some mustering of nerve for us. As such, the last thing we want is to appear (or to BE) needy, so that's why we're seeking opinions here.


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  1. Email is not 100% reliable. Could have gone into SPAM folder, could have been overlooked or they could be ignoring you. I would definitely give them a CALL and ask if they got your email, will they be coming or not. The idea of waiting until the day and just wondering if they'll show up would be the worst way to deal with this.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      Hey, thanks so much for taking the time to respond! I'll give them a call.

    2. It is possible, that your email went into a spam filter or such, and was not recieved at all - so no awareness of an invite to respond to.

      I would pick up the phone and issue an invite via phone or phone message and nicely make it clear you would like a response if you have to leave a message; something like 'we look forward to hearing if that would work for you". Don't mention the email that was not responded too unless you can engage without leaving a message, and it feels natural.

      I think giving the benefit of the doubt for at least one more effort at reaching out is much more pleasant than the possibilities of rudeness and laziness on their part that are the other end of the options.

      Trust me, I have plenty of stories at that end, but prefer to think technology is foiling you, rather than the person you want to have for dinner!

      1 Reply
      1. re: gingershelley

        Thanks for your kind response! I'll call them.

      2. It is completely fair to want to firm up your plans. I mean if you ARE having them over, I assume you need to shop, cook, clean, etc!

        There are a million scenarios as to why they might not have responded yet... didn't see your email, forgot to send a response, sent a response that got lost in cyberspace... you just never know until you ask.

        Since they didn't reply to the email, I'd call and ask if if they can come to dinner.

        6 Replies
        1. re: jujuthomas

          and just as the OP's email invitaion might be circling cyberspace, the email reply may have been sent and not rec'd

          1. re: bagelman01

            Thanks, guys!
            It's unanimous that I should give them a call . . . so I will!

            1. re: EWThomas

              Report back on how it goes. And also, if they can't make it (or don't respond), don't read too much into it. People do get busy and overwhelmed to the point where a simple dinner can seem like a lot. I do think they should give you the courtesy of a response, but don't second guess it (or especially yourselves!!!) if they do say No.

              1. re: EWThomas


                Just for comparison purposes. This coming Sunday we are hosting a 90th Birthday Dinner party for my mother (in a private dining room in her aprtment facility). It is for immediate family and some of her 'still alive' contemporaries. 30 people were invited, all by snail mail invitations. Invitaions went out Aug 12th and had an RSVP deadline of September 13. Requested RSVP by phone to my number (siblings live out of town. All 30 invitees are attending, BUT only 10 RSVP'd to me. One mailed a note to my mother (almost blind, doesn't read), 12 called my mother (she couldn't remember the names), one called my brother. I had to contact all by phone top confirm.

                The best was the 88 year old who told me she was highly insulted that she didn't receive an invitation, but had already sent a gift with a note that she see mom at the dinner.

                Social graces have disappeared. and those old enough to have always done the right thing are losing it.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  I can relate,many in my family have made it well past 90.We have many "dropped step" party stories.Good wishes for your dinner.

            2. I think the recommendations for a phone call are a great idea and if you are worried about seeming needy, you can always use the excuse of checking on food allergies or strong dislikes for the menu.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Scooter8

                I'm with Scooter8. The "just checking" approach works best. Quite honestly, though, EWT, dinner invitations are rare these days, with everyone meeting in restaurants/bars. I wonder if the invited people are stalling because they're considering that they'll have to reciprocate eventually, and maybe they're not feeling up to the task.