In the early 18th century, the system was adopted by some high-society people in England and was popularized in the 20th century by the famous writings and works of Emily Post. It’s a French etiquette that is considered stricter than the usual practice of responding through invitation, and it has become famous and commonly used nowadays, especially here in the Meetup community.

RSVP is “Respondez S’il Vous Plait” (Reply if it pleases you), a phrase commonly misused and abused by some people who recklessly click “Yes” but eventually won’t show up. This is a sickness happening anywhere, not only in our volunteer community but also miserably professed by members from other Meetup groups.

The No-Shows

NO MEETUP anywhere in the world is happy for people like this. When you receive an invitation in your inbox and sign up, it’s assumed by default that you are interested in joining. Like the meaning of the acronym itself, as mentioned above, “Reply if it pleases you,” and if you’re not, then don’t. I tell you, “Life is too short to keep signing up and signing up and …no-show”. Occasional updates are posted by the Organizers to remind everyone on the list to change their status, we annoyingly sound like a broken record but it only require few minutes of your time to respond accordingly. Several worst cases were noted when people confirmed and never heard anything from them on the day, not a text, a call, or at least a post on the event page.

The Last Minute Bail-outs 

Things are all set to roll, and not even a strand of your hair was visible on the day. We are equipped with a ready-made possible list of excuses for this: the blame on the bad food the other night, the hangover from partying, the alarm clock that didn’t work, the unfair boss who demanded work on the weekend and the impromptu sickness are all lined-up in our multiple-choice chart.

We’ll do our best to understand this, but if a chance of a very limited trip and we need to select only few from interested participants, we also hope for your understanding if we less prioritizes your intention to join. As they say, “Life is too short to keep people with too much cancellation on their lives, and you’re in it.” I’m not saying that the only valid excuse are either hospitalization (or worse than that), or either your dog ate your favorite shorts that day, but can you be more creative with your reasons? It doesn’t matter anyway, bailouts are bailouts, and nobody is perfectly happy about it.

The No Replies 

Everyone who signed up for the events is notified to update their statuses occasionally, including an email and a post on the comment page. For some unexplainable reason, people are missing invitations, but even if we managed to send them an exclusive message(s) to get their attention, some still fail to reply and confirm. The funny thing is that when the headcounts are finalized, they’ll eventually show up and make reasons that they missed notices, are very busy, can’t find the emails, lost the phone, no internet, etc.

With this case, I am nearly considering reminding members to check their mailbox settings and locate the “REPLY” button before signing up for an event. Can you imagine feeling better after trying to message someone and ignoring it? Missed or taken for granted? “Life is too short to keep a mailbox account with a hard-to-locate Reply button.” So let me take this opportunity to advise you to switch to the simplest mail settings or, better, purchase a book, “Emailing for Dummies” (I have no idea of the ISBN, sorry).

Are you in the right place? How does your heart define the word “Volunteering?” If you signed up for many Meetup groups but don’t possess any of their descriptions to characterize yourself, or not even the keywords, can you still keep up its pace? Life is indeed too short to be surrounded by the wrong people.

Several groups, tons of “Yes” and meetings, parties here, there, and everywhere, and at the end of the day, you wonder what life is all about or if your soul mate is still nowhere in sight. Have you pictured yourself standing so little before a poker machine where you dare gamble your life’s choices?

Volunteering is about being socially responsible, not mandatory, and depends on your availability. If the responsibility should start from the discretion of community membership, we get involved in meetup groups (dancing, traveling, web, entrepreneurship, etc.). What follows should be the same as your intention of joining and responsiveness. Can you be that?