“I’ve noticed something about people who make a difference in the world: They hold the unshakable conviction that individuals are extremely important, that every life matters.
They get excited over one smile.
They are willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound.
They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes. Over time, though, the small changes add up. Sometimes they even transform cities and nations, and yes, the world.”
This is about responding.
First. What does RSVP mean? In the context of social invitations RSVP is a request for a response from the invited person or people. It is derived from the French phrase répondez s’il vous plaît, meaning ‘please respond’ <”respond if you please”>.
Sticking with the formal aspect of an RSVP … there are some guidelines.
If RSVP is written on an invitation it means the invited guest must tell the host whether or not they plan to attend the party. It does not mean to respond only if you’re coming, and it does not mean respond only if you’re not coming (the expression “regrets only” is reserved for that instance). It means the host needs to know who is going to attend, get a definite head count, the planned event … and needs it by the date specified on the invitation.
Second. RSVP also has to do with Life, not just parties.
Think about it. Life, in many ways, says ‘please respond.’ My fear, and belief, is that many of us simply haven’t read the rules of etiquette and do not respond.
Look. I often write about how Life is difficult and how Life is tricky and how Life has a warped sense of humor.
But. Life can also be quite respectful and act with true etiquette and grace. I don’t mean big pomp and circumstance moments, but little moments in which doing the little things well matters. Uhm. Like an rsvp for example.
“When you do something noble and beautiful and nobody notices, do not be sad. For the sun every morning is a beautiful spectacle and yet most of the audience still sleeps.”
I sometimes worry people no longer understand what RSVP means. In social event scenarios as well as Life.
Assuming the best, and that the reason guests don’t RSVP to an invitation is a case of ignorance, not rudeness, let me suggest this.
People have a tendency to not respond because … well … it is safer.
Less chance of conflict. And it may seem like the easiest path but think about it from this quote’s perspective.
“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.”
Or they are ignorant of the fact their absence is not noted or meaningful.
But I can’t. I can’t because I don’t believe it is true.
I think we do it, subconsciously or consciously, because it is safer — we get to avoid possible conflict.
Oh. The risk in doing this over & over & over? We become disengaged with Life.
But. Here is the good news. Life will keep sending you invitations. Over & over & over again.
You just gotta RSVP every once in a while.
To be clear. You are not always being invited to a ‘big party.’ Sometimes the RSVP is just for something small.
Saying that permits me to circle back to where I began … willing to feed one stomach, educate one mind, and treat one wound. They aren’t determined to revolutionize the world all at once; they’re satisfied with small changes.
Over time, though, the small changes add up.
That’s why you RSVP to life.
Small changes add up.
Small moments add up.
Small gestures add up.
It is true that Life, in general, is indifferent to you and what you want. However. What Life does do is create event after event which you DO get invited to. That means its up to you to respond. And, yeah, I do believe RSVPing matters even in this scenario. Just showing up is good but not as good as telling Life you are gonna show up. Why? Because it increases the odds Life may actually NOT be indifferent when you show up.
My advice? Just make sure you RSVP to Life one response at a time.