Alice, Why Won’t My Party Guests Commit to Showing Up?!?

updated May 4, 2019
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Dear Alice,

I’m planning to throw my brother a graduation party in a few weeks and I’m so frustrated because no one will commit to the event! When I sent around the invites, I got way more ‘maybes’ than a solid yes or no. When I mention it to friends in person, they all say, “Sounds great! I’ll have to see what I’m doing.” I really need to get some solid numbers before I shop for all the food and drinks for the party, not to mention I think it’s super rude to leave someone hanging when they’ve invited you to their home. A lot of the guests are my brother’s friends so I can’t exactly just call them up and demand an answer. What should I do?

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Hating being the Host

Dear HBTH,

Ugh, I feel your pain on this one. This is also one of my pet peeves which is why I wanted to address it here.

So let’s get this out of the way right now:

Potential party guests,

It is rude to “wait and see” if you get a better offer before deciding on your plans for a particular night. Your host needs to do his or her party prep (which probably includes buying YOUR food and drink) so do the right thing and make a decision asap. If the party is formal enough for a written (or emailed) invitation, it deserves an answer.

K? Thanks!

Now, HBTH, I’m afraid you have a pickle on your hands with your particular party because you are dealing with a crew of almost-graduates which means that A) they are college (high school?) students and are not used to making solid plans EVER because, well, college and B) They are even less inclined to respond because, if I remember graduation correctly, there is so much going on that it’s nearly impossible to even think about events several weeks in the future. I’m afraid you are stuck on this one. My advice is to nail down the guests you can and plan to serve casual food and drink (think: snacks that can serve many or few and beers or bottles of wine that you can always keep for later in you have fewer than expected).

I’m sure your party will be perfect (and much appreciated) no matter what. Good luck!



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