Remember when Evites were all the rage? No longer were you forced to send out boring mass emails to your friends each time your birthday rolled around, or worse yet, mail out actual invitations. Instead, you would spend a good hour searching all the design templates to find just the perfect one, and then spend many more hours tracking – aka stalking – everyone you invited. I shamefully recall on more than one occasion checking my Evite status every hour on the hour, waiting to see who had RSVPed, or more importantly, who had looked at my Evite but refused to reply. It drove me crazy.
Now we have Facebook invites. Lots of them. On average I get invited to about a half-dozen birthday parties, show openings, or other social engagements per week, yet don’t doubt that I’m on the low end of the Facebook invite spectrum. However, sometimes I’m puzzled by these requests; on occasion I’m invited to stuff that’s not even in my time zone. Perhaps New York. Maybe Chicago. Wherever. I also get event suggestions where apparently Facebook is encouraging me to crash parties to which I’m not even invited.
Before Facebook, I was pretty conscientious about RSVPing. Considering the time and energy that I knew most people had put into their invitations, I figured that I could at least give them a heads up if I was showing. Though now that we have this Facebook madness, I’m beginning to slack a bit. I suspect that most people are inviting me not because my presence would add a certain je ne sais quoi to the party, but rather because I happen to be one of their seven hundred best Facebook friends. Sure, I have my friend-friends for whom I don’t even have to think twice before RSVPing, but sometimes – er, most of the time – I get an event notification and think, “Why was I invited to this?” Considering that it takes no more than a click of the mouse to add me to their list, I’m pretty sure that most people look at my name and think, “Eh… Okay, why not?” In fact, I wonder if they would know if I showed, as I’ve received more than a few random Facebook invites. You know, the ones from the folks that you met at your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister’s birthday party two years ago. I’m not a gambling gal, but I’d bet good money that they wouldn’t be able to pick out my face from a lineup.
Yet I typically give some kind of response, even if it’s a lame “maybe.” Maybe can come in handy, like if you legitimately think you might be working late the night of their birthday party or overtime the same weekend that their play opens. It’s great if you like the wait and see game where you check the invite page every few days to monitor who else RSVPed before deciding if you want to go. And sometimes maybe is awesome because you’re just not sure and would rather wing it the day of.
Such was the case regarding a certain invite I received not too long ago. It was for the birthday party of a dude that I had met a few years back at a mutual friend’s shindig. Since then, I’ve seen him a total of once more at a party last year. Can’t say that this fellow and I had any soul-searching conversations during either occasion, but of course we somehow ended up being Facebook friends. Considering that neither of us has ever bothered to say hi since connecting online, I’ll admit that I was a tad surprised to get his invitation. Yet once I saw that more than a hundred folks were on his invitee list, it made a lot more sense. He doesn’t like to discriminate. That’s cool. I immediately hit the “maybe” button and continued on my merry way. Odds were slim that I would go, but hey, never say never.
I promptly forgot about the party. The celebrated day of his birth came and went… and then I got an email from him. Not a Facebook message, but an authentic email, meaning that he had taken the trouble to locate my address. Given that he had never, ever sent me personalized correspondence before, I again was shocked to see his name in my inbox.
It was a guilt email.
He informed me that I was “missed” at the party. Also, he had worked really hard to put it together. Moreover, I lost out on all the fun stuff that had happened at the party. Lastly, he hoped I was well.
Was this for real? I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Hadn’t I replied with a maybe? I never said that I was definitely attending, but from the way he felt about my absence, you would have thought that I had personally offered to bake his birthday cake and then bailed on the party. A part of me was horrified. Did I deserve this scolding? Was I a huge jerk for not coming to a birthday party that I had never promised to attend in the first place?
But a bigger part of me was pissed. What the hell? Who reprimands someone for not coming to a party? Considering that this guy had never once asked me to grab a coffee, or messaged me to see how I was doing, or even commented on one of my silly blog posts, he definitely had strong feelings about me not being there for him. I guess my friendship meant to him than I had realized, which is too bad…
I defriended him. Also, I am now wide open the weekend of June 22, 2013 if anyone wants to hang.