Location: Charlotte, NC
Yesterday afternoon, David and I hosted a meet and greet and fundraiser for two fabulous women running for local (Mecklenburg County, North Carolina) office. Elyse Dashew is running for reelection to one of the at-large seats on the Board of Education and Leigh Altman is running for one of the at-large seats on the Board of Commissioners. Both are committed to leveling the playing field for all county citizens and making sure that voices calling for unity and social justice drown out the rhetoric of hatred and divisiveness that so many of us find so abhorrent. They are strong candidates and I applaud and appreciate people like them who make tremendous personal sacrifices to make our communities and country better.
But that is not the focus of this post. Instead, I would like to talk about RSVPs. More specifically, I want to address the lack thereof. We ended up having a good showing for yesterday’s event, but there were tons of folks who never responded at all to our invitation. As someone who entertains quite a bit, both personally and professionally (many of the talks I give about my cancer journey involve dinner programs in restaurants or other venues), I have noticed that the social courtesy of the RSVP seems to be jettisoned along with the thank you card and other social niceties. And I am not okay with that.
My inbox is as overflowing as anyone else’s and I admit to sometimes letting things fall through the cracks. But I try to always respond by the RSVP date for something that involves planning and purchases on someone else’s part. It is just not that hard to respond and let folks have a head count. It was disappointing (actually appalling) to me how many people simply did not respond at all to my invitation to attend the event we hosted yesterday. It is a busy time of year and I have no problem with people’s inability to attend; my issue is with not letting me know that. The same thing happens on the road when the folks hosting my talk book a room in a restaurant and people who have said they will come – and for whom meals have been purchased – simply do not show up without even having the courtesy of texting the host to say they can no longer make it.
Most of the things I write about in this blog focus on grand gestures of goodwill and the bright side of humanity. But I want to make sure we don’t forget the little things too. The cards I received in the wake of my dad’s death were so kind and thoughtful and were well worth the time it took to write them. As technological advances change the landscape of how we navigate the world, I hope we remember that certain things still matter. A personal phone call is sometimes in order instead of an email or text. A handwritten thank you card lets the recipient know your appreciation is genuine. And an RSVP is requested for a reason. It is just not that hard to let someone know your plans, especially if your presence is something that was requested and valued.
I am progressive in many ways, but I am old school on this issue. Part of being a kind human is RSVPing. Okay, I will now step down from my soapbox.