Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Not Quite Your Momma's Miss Manners - Part 4

Hello, my lovely readers! The muse is upon me once more, encouraging me to provide a little lesson in etiquette and good breeding. Today's topic: making, breaking, and keeping plans.

Ah, plans! One of the joys of friendship, family, dating, and the like. Ah, plans! One of the pitfalls of social interaction! In today's world of Facebook events, eVites, and casual contact, we seem to forget the basic rules of social planning. Well, lucky you - I'll help you get it straight!

1) The Invitation
So, you want to hang out with a friend? Maybe go to a movie, hit the bar, walk in the park? Sounds good. Want to ask someone on a date? Lovely. Let's start with how we ask:

a) Friends & Family
If you are making plans with a friend or family member, do this in whatever way you feel best. Phone call, text, Facebook message - your choice.

b) People You Want To Date
If you are trying to make a date, I SUPPOSE you could text, but it's nicer to call. I've covered this before. PLEASE be specific. Do not ask "wanna hang out sometime?"
Instead, offer an actual event (dinner, coffee, etc.) and an actual date. That's why they call them "dates."

c) Group Things
If you are doing something in a group situation and want someone to come, refer to the friends & family rule. Be aware, however, that some people view Facebook invites as less meaningful than a text or call requesting that they come to your shindig.

2) The Confirmation
Alright, listen - if you really want to hang with/date someone, for the love of all things sacred, CONFIRM THE PLANS. This goes for any interaction. If you have ever asked me to hang out and I call or text you the day before to ensure that we are still hanging out, it's not my way of trying to get out of it. This is my way of ensuring nothing has come up - and that we can still party!

In an ideal world, the person who extended the invitation should be the one to confirm the plans, but if you are unsure, check them yourself. I may sound mean, but if a guy asks me out and fails to confirm the plans (unless they were very clear to begin with about when, what, where, etc.), I am really not inclined to view him as a responsible, respectful person.

The ideal time frame for plan confirmation varies, but generally, you should speak to the person at least 1-3 days in advance of the plans (unless they are same or next day plans). In the case of a formal, mailed invitation requesting an RSVP, respond as quickly as possible.

3) Keeping Plans
For the love of pete, SHOW UP ON TIME! If you know you will be late, CALLThat's all.

4) Breaking Plans
We've all been there - something suddenly came up, you feel like crap, etc. In the event that you must break plans with someone, do so as soon as you are aware that you cannot keep them. Also, make sure that you apologize for this and offer to reschedule. If you agreed to go to a party that would normally require gifts and you must cancel, you really should send a gift anyway. Not being able to afford a gift is not a reason to cancel (although it could be a reason to decline in the first place). If you cancel at the last minute, your friends have a right to hate you a little.

5) The "Maybe"
Oh LAWD, for goodness' sake, if you want to, say yes. If you don't want to, say no. "Maybe" should only be used if you have another obligation and are unsure if you can make it. In this case, be honest. I once agreed to two parties in the same day and made both hosts aware of the fact that I had to split my time, so no one got their feelings hurt. That being said, be realistic in your thinking - do not commit to two things at relatively the same time that are across town from each other. Beyond being rude, that's just stupid. Additionally, do not shop around for a bunch of plans, then pick the one that sounds the best. That's REALLY rude.


Once again, this is just what I was raised to do and what I have found works. It is also what I prefer to do and have done unto me. I'm no expert, but I'm also not a flake when it comes to plans.

Y'all behave yourselves, and I'll see you soon!

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