A frightening epidemic

I'm SickThere is an epidemic spreading in the Northwest. It’s infecting people right and left and it’s a doozy. Haven’t heard about it? You may already have this disease and not even know it. It’s the RSVPitis epidemic. I’m telling you, it’s bad news.

When you’re infected you suddenly stop responding to invitations, even hand-addressed ones sent via snail mail that include a stamped, addressed response card. Or you might get the version where you do respond to the invitation RSVP but then decide at the last minute not to show up.

This epidemic is wreaking havoc on people’s lives. Hosts are having meltdowns because they have no idea who is going to show up at their party, wedding or event. Worse, it’s affecting people’s financial well-being. After paying hundreds, even thousands, for food and drink, decorations, party favors, maybe even a venue, these hosts are stuck with a big bill for people who were infected with RSVPitis and didn’t show up despite saying they would.

Let me tell you the sad story about Jane. Jane threw a party for her husband’s retirement. She invited ninety people. Of the fifty-two who said they were coming twenty didn’t show up. Only six of those twenty people infected with RSVPitis were coherent enough to let Jane know that they couldn’t attend at the last minute. Poor Jane, she had to pay the caterer for twenty people who decided not to show up after all. Imagine her and her husband’s disappointment that their “friends” got sick with RSVPitis and left them hanging.

For some reason, it seems people in the Northwest are particularly susceptible to RSVPitis. Could it be the rainy weather dampens our brains? Maybe the “Seattle freeze” Seattleites are known for freezes your heart. Perhaps our “nice” Scandinavian descent makes people passive-aggressive (If I respond that I can’t attend the party I might hurt her feelings).  I don’t know; I’m boggled by it. And it just breaks my heart that so many people are sick with this disease.

However, take hope, there is a cure. It’s not perfect; there is a 49% recovery rate. The cure involves hosting several big parties. When you are devastated by the number of infected non-responders, and people who said they weren’t coming but show up anyway, and the folks who responded that they were attending but then don’t show up, you’ll suddenly be cured and will be imbued with a brand new, spanking-clean conscious. Suddenly, when you’re invited to a party you’ll respond within three days, either saying you can’t attend or that you can attend. And then, this is the truly miraculous part, you’ll actually do what you said you would do. You’ll attend when you responded that you would. Or, you won’t attend because you said you had other plans, and you really do. Or you at least don’t show up because you changed  your mind.

It will truly be a joyous day when this epidemic is eradicated. In the meantime, be wary, don’t get infected. It’s a nasty one!!

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Rosemary Newman on January 20, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Nice post Arden. I couldn’t agree more. Happy 2016!

  2. Arden Clise on January 20, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    Thank you Rosemary. So nice to hear from you.

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