ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Does R.S.V.P. Mean?

Updated on October 29, 2013
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Liz has been an online writer for over a decade. Her articles often focus on music and culture of the 20th century. She also writes poetry.

Alice was not impressed with the manners of these party guests...
Alice was not impressed with the manners of these party guests... | Source

Basic Good Manners

As the holiday season approaches, I'd like to air a pet peeve. Modern society seems to have forgotten its manners. Granted, the holidays are busy, and everyone is pressed for time, with many parties, children's events, and so on.

However, being busy is no excuse for being rude. If you get an invitation to a party, it is very rude not to let the hosts know whether or not you are able to come.

The hosts need to know how many people to expect, so they can have enough snacks, drinks, main courses, or what have you (or what dishes will be arriving if it's a pot-luck affair).

Don't get me wrong--this applies all year, not just at the holiday season. For there are birthday and anniversary parties; graduation parties; wedding receptions and all manner of other parties happening at any given time. Good manners and being punctual apply year-round.

So, What Does it Mean?

That little tag note at the bottom of the invitation, reading "R.S.V.P." comes to us from the French, and in French, reads, "Repondez, s'il vous plait." It translates as, "Respond, if you please."

  • R.S.V.P. does NOT mean, "I'll show up if I remember or have extra time that day,"
  • R.S.V.P. does NOT mean, "Sorry--I said I'd come, but I changed my mind, and I don't think it's important to let you know,"
  • R.S.V.P. most certainly does NOT mean, "I'll come unless I get a better/more interesting offer between now and your party,"
  • R.S.V.P. does NOT mean, "I can't make up my mind, and I'm waiting to see if something better comes along, so I'm not going to let you know until the day of the party."
  • R.S.V.P. does NOT mean, "I don't know--I'll see,."

The last three 'variations on the same theme" on the list are the pinnacle of rude and selfish behavior, and an excellent way to find yourself not invited to any more parties, especially if you make a habit of this sort of thing.

Always call and respond to a party invitation
Always call and respond to a party invitation | Source

When Do I Have to Reply?

R.S.V.P.'s normally have a deadline date by which the host needs to know how many of the invited guests to expect...the polite thing is to reply at least by that deadline, and preferably before.

After all, it takes time to put on a party, shopping for supplies, decorations, food and beverages. Add to that the time in extra clean-up of the house, making sure everything is sparkling clean for the guests, and the actual food preparation as well. It takes a lot of time and energy.

The host thought enough to invite you--be polite enough to reply in a timely fashion to show your appreciation.

But Can I Get Out of It?

In a word, no. If you have replied that you will attend, then do so!

If another invitation comes up later for the same day and time, you give your regrets to that one, saying you are very sorry, but you have a prior engagement. That is the polite thing to do, no matter how much you might rather go to the second party. They didn't get their invitation to you first, so, oh well; that's life.

Do not call at the last minute and give a lame, vague excuse that "something came up" in order to go to a different event. It is dishonest, and rude; it's in the same category as calling in fake-sick to play hooky from work.

If anything "comes up" to prevent you from attending, it had better be serious, like an accident, a death in the family, or yourself becoming ill with the flu or something. And be honest and forthcoming about that, giving the specific problem; the host will be sympathetic and understanding if you have encountered a genuine problem or loss. Not so much so if you just blow her off, pull a no-show, or give a no-reason lame excuse.

What Kind of Partier Are You?

What kinds of parties do you prefer?

See results

Let the Parties Roll!

In the words of a famous pair of nerds from a certain movie, "party on, dudes!"

But please, party responsibly, and courteously.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2013 Liz Elias


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)