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Ask Mr. Etiquette

Ask Mr. Etiquette

Johnell Garmany explains how to sail through life without giving offense.

Q. A friend invited me to a party I couldn’t attend. Some time later, when I bumped into her in the grocery aisle, she was sore at me—not because I didn’t show up at the party, but because I never told her I wasn’t coming. Really? —Humbled in Highlands

A. Yes, really. Of course you must respond if an invitation says “RSVP,” but it’s polite to do so even if it doesn’t. Accept or decline; don’t say “maybe,” and don’t be silent. And don’t give your answer at the last minute, or you’ll mess up the host’s planning. Stick to your word. The worst mistake is to say you’ll attend and then not show. This costs the host money and prevents your spot from being filled by some lonely heart. It could also cost you a friendship.

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