Updated: Jan 14, 2020
The Etiquette of Social Media Invitations
While using social media I've noticed a new phenomenon... people making excuses on Facebook walls and in message groups about why they can't attend events. The host and everyone else who's invited gets to see these. I think it's not only bad etiquette but a little unthoughtful and unkind to do this, whether it's a business or pleasure event.
If you've been doing this, please don't feel bad. I'm not writing this to allocate negativity or blame, I just want to highlight it for you in case it hasn't occurred to you. It didn't occur to me at first, but it's been a growing feeling to the point where it actually makes me cringe now every time it happens, so it's prompted me to blog about it.
For a skincare launch I put on I was going to be providing free drinks so wanted to make sure people contacted me to show interest and I'd have an idea how many drinks we would need. It wasn't a successful way of doing it, as many key people in my life didn't see the invitation and I never got round to having proper invitations printed. My mother-in-law told me how much she would have enjoyed it, after seeing the photos, and other friends said the same. I was a bit gutted as I would SO have loved them to be there. Lesson learnt for next time - you need to make a proper list and invite people individually.
I had created it as an event on Facebook but after I'd gone through the first 50 clients, family and friends on there I realised this was going to be a time consuming process, and that most of them would probably have other plans. Even so, I noticed people started trying to post on the event wall with reasons why they couldn't make it. Some of these happened on the day of the party. Being a sensitive person I found that seeing the NOs brought my spirits down a little, even though I knew loads of lovely people were still planning to make it. I found my attention being drawn to the ones who couldn't. Some people sent private messages, which I appreciated, and with those who tried to write their reasons on the wall I just didn't approve the posts. Each person meant well, but they didn't realise that they were one of several, and those mount up to put a bit of a dampener on the feeling when you're spending your day organising a fun evening for those who can make it. I used to get so nervous about these kind of things as it was. Even if you're relatively confident, you find yourself wondering if anyone is going to turn up at all. You'll be the loser propping up the bar surrounded by the empty glasses from the 'complimentary' drinks and helped into a cab by the bartender.
We had a fabulous night at the launch party, but it did give me more food for thought about writing the article that was growing in my mind. The power of NO is something we might all be underestimating.
If you're going to say NO, do it privately!
A friend set up a Facebook event for her birthday and whaddya know? A wall full of excuses and reasons why people couldn't make it came flooding in. I felt so protective over her (also sensitive) feelings that I took it upon myself to write on her wall, words to the effect of: 'If you are a NO for this party, why not send (person's name) a private message, and keep the event wall for YES replies!'
I also come across countless group messages on Whatsapp and Messenger where people are inviting others to something or other and are swiftly inundated with people saying no. Even the toughest skinned of people must find this hurtful? Or is it just me? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
My suggestion for social media invitations etiquette is simple: if you're a NO, and you think the person needs to be informed for catering reasons or you're a key player in their life, then take a minute or two to drop them a private message. If you're not that close, just ignore the invitation - they won't even notice. If you're a YES, then add to the positivity, lift their spirits, and plaster a great big YES on their wall or group. It's so simple to make a kinder choice rather than pissing on our friends' bonfires.