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Miss Manners: ‘RSVP’ still means to respond yes or no

Dear Miss Manners: We just received an invitation for an ice cream social event that asked us to RSVP. For me, this is a no-brainer: Call and say we are going or not going. My husband disagrees, saying we should only tell them if we plan to attend.

Have the “rules” changed and RSVP now means “Respond only if you are going to attend”? Some invitations say “Regrets only,” but this one did not.

I’m particularly sensitive to not being rude. We were always taught to respond either in writing or on the telephone to any RSVP. Although I’ve responded the last two years, this discussion only ensued when I tried to delegate the task to my husband.

Gentle Reader: Perhaps you should take it back. He seems to imagine that the Etiquette Council met and decided that it is now all right to snub people whose only crime is to offer to entertain you, and that hosts should be kept guessing about whether or not they can expect guests.

Miss Manners asks you to inform him that such a basic courtesy as responding to invitations will never change. Perhaps what you should do is put him in charge of organizing a gathering, so that he can experience what it is like to be left wondering.

Snubbed by teammates

Dear Miss Manners: None of my daughter’s varsity tennis teammates will talk to her since she beat them to earn the No. 2 spot. She tries to join their conversations, but they ignore her attempts or say, “It’s a private joke.”

When one girl said her parent could drive to a tournament, she pointed to three other girls and said they could ride with her, leaving out my daughter. My daughter is ready to quit the team -- and she hasn’t even played her first match yet.

Gentle Reader: Among the virtues that school sports are thought to promote is good sportsmanship. Clearly this is not always the case.

But you can teach this to your daughter, under these unpleasant circumstances, by suggesting that she return her teammates’ rudeness with friendliness and patience. Perhaps you could initiate an event for the whole team.

Miss Manners recommends including the parents in this outreach effort. Being older, they may be more embarrassed at showing any jealousy and can therefore be enlisted in your effort to provide a positive role model. In any case, the coach can and should be informed.

Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website,; to her email,; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.