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Rudeness! Maybe?

Help me out here, people. My brother and I and our respective spouses are hosting a joint 60th birthday party for my parents next weekend. (At my house, because I'm insane.) The invitations went out three weeks ago with a RSVP date of this Saturday and my phone number and email address.

Several people have responded with their acceptance or regrets directly to my parents. I think this is rude, since I am the hostess, it was my information on the invitation, and the guests of honor should not be responsible for dealing with the administrative details of the party. Oddly, it is largely the people I have never met who have called or emailed me and the people I have known most of my life who have spoken only to my parents. Now, I will be the first to admit that I am quick to take offense or claim a slight where, quite possibly, none exists. So I want you to tell me, is that rude? Should I rightfully expect people to respond directly to me, or should I be happy that they have responded at all and won't be on the list of follow-up calls I have to make next Monday?

Comments (76)

Rude. What if it were a surprise? And you're right, they shouldn't have to deal with all the details like that--it's their party, and all they should have to do is show up.

But I'm pregnant and hormonal too, so take my opinion for what it's worth:-)

Rude. You are the one who went to the trouble of getting the invites out, your info was listed and the party is at your house. Sense a common theme there? YOU not your parents. As someone already said, what if it was a surprise and they ruined it?

However, having said all that, it seems like no one RSVPs anymore at all, so maybe something is better than nothing. I'd still be irritated, but that's just me.

You are totally right, it is rude. RSVPs should be directed to the contact person listed on the invitation.

Hosting a party so soon after the move to a new home is an impressive undertaking. You are a much better woman than I will ever be~~~good luck.

You are totally right, it is rude. RSVPs should be directed to the contact person listed on the invitation.

Hosting a party so soon after the move to a new home is an impressive undertaking. You are a much better woman than I will ever be~~~good luck.

Its totally rude! And if it were me, being all passive aggressive like I am, I would probably make the follow up calls to the people that RSVP'd to my parents and then make some little comment like "Oh! I didn't know you RSVP'd since you DIDN'T CALL ME, YOU BIG MORON." Or, you know...something like that.

Rude, rude, rude. BUT I'm amazed people responded at all. It seems I always have to call everyone and even then some of them can't give me a definitive answer. And I like Karly's idea. Totally call them anyway.

Rude, rude, rude.

people did this to me for both my bridal shower, baby shower, and even for my wedding. (RSVP card was to go to my parents). I was like seriously people,I don't have anything else to worry about? Why are you RSVPing to me?

At least they are RSVPing at all.

Rude. I agree with everyone above. It's nearly impossible to get people to RSVP so at least you know who will be there. However - why would anyone think to call or contact anyone other than whose info is listed? As if they are saying "Gee, beth couldn't possibly have meant that we should call her - we'll just call her parents, the guests of honor instead. Silly Beth" Whatever. Rude rude rude. I hate rude.


I can understand if they want to let your parents know personally that they can't attend, but they need to let you know as the histess. And I totally agree with C- way to put the guests of honor to work collecting the RSVPs.

But, yes. On the bright side you won't have to call these people.


I can understand if they want to let your parents know personally that they can't attend, but they need to let you know as the histess. And I totally agree with C- way to put the guests of honor to work collecting the RSVPs.

But, yes. On the bright side you won't have to call these people.

Rude! But seriously, in this day and age, if you at least heard anything from anyone, you are way ahead of the game.

Although I think it's ridiculous that anyone would assume it was a surprise. A surprise party would say "Shhhh! It's a surprise!" on the invitation. I just thew my mom's 60th and nearly everyone that did RSVP asked me if it was a surprise. I wanted to say, "Hey dummie, did it SAY it was a surprise???"

Is there a word for not rude, but definitely bad form? Because I think it's that.

They did want to do what they thought was right by RSVPing, but their good intentions were fairly badly misdirected.

I'd follow up with them and say something like "thank goodness, my parents passed on the message that you've (appropriate response here). we look forward to seeing you/will miss you and if you have any other questions please contact me."

Hopefully they're not too thick to get that subtle hint.

Well it looks like you're getting we internets all het up on your behalf! I, too, have to agree. At the very least, if they really want to tell your parents, they need to tell you TOO, because how are you supposed to plan without that vital information, geez.

So rude. This makes me crazy and people do it all the time. We just had a similar situation 'round these parts. Grrrr. So irritating!

TOTALLY rude...rude AND tacky! No, your parents should absolutely not be expected to have to deal with that...what if it's uncomfortable,what if they are busy.....what if they are happy the person isn't coming and are bad liars:) Whatever the reason, they should be left out of that whole process. Oh, HI! de-lurking. Love your site:)

I'm not sure if rude is the right word. Poor manners, perhaps. People probably just felt more comfortable calling your parents. But, I would definitely NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF. In the grand scheme of things, who cares. THey RSVP'd...I think it is worse the ones that don't call one way or the other.

I don't know if it is rude. Maybe they are just doubling up, using the phone call to let your parents know about their attendance in order to chat at the same time. Maybe, since they have known you since birth, still think of you as a kid. Even though you have a kid. I don't know.

I think it is both rude and bad manners. It is amazing how many people I have had to contact for not RSVPing to a bridal shower, birthday party, etc. I could maybe understand some people calling to let you know they wouldn't be able to come and contacting your parents because they wouldn't see them in person.

I'm going with rude too...but people these days don't seem to remember much about good ol' fashioned manners! Don't get too worked up over it's not worth your energy and I'm sure your parents are super appreciative about the party - so I'd try to focus on that :-) Have fun!


If you had nothing better to do I'd suggest you call them ANYWAY and then, when they claim that they already told your parents you could say, "OH! See that's so odd bc I thought I'd put MY information on the invitation for the RSVP. Oh well, guess it somehow misprinted on yours!"

Seriously rude. I'm all annoyed on your behalf.

In fact, give me their numbers, I'll do the follow up calls.

Were they giving their regrets to your parents? Because maybe they wanted it to feel a bit more personal by apologizing for not being able to go.
Although on that token, they could have RSVP'd to you and if they felt the need, then called your 'rents.
Hmmmm. I still say it's rude.

Proper etiquette would have been for them to use the contact information that was provided for them. If guests are unable to attend and wish to extend their regrets to your parents, a note or even a telephone call [after] the party would have been, in my opinion, more appropriate.

I feel fairly certain that rudeness isn't quite what they were shooting for.

I'm big on etiquette, and they should absolutely have called you to let you know they'd be there or not. If they talk to your parents more often, then sure, they can mention they'll be coming or not, so your parents can know if they'll be there, but expecting your parents to relay the message is asking your parents to go out of their way for their own party, and you're right in wanting the hostess duties not to fall on the guests-of-honor.

But, I'm sure the guests didn't mean to be rude, so it's hard not to overlook it.

You have every right to be bugged, even if it's a situation that will probably occur again, as some people just don't know their Emily Post ;)

Totally rude! And I would call each of them after the RSVP date to ask if they are coming. When they tell you they already told your parents they were-kindly remind them you are the one throwing the party, ordering food, etc. That's total BS. And btw just for the record-don't ever put RSVP regrets only on invites thinking it will save you the trouble of having to call people...totally backfires on ya as people just don't show up even though they didn't call. @#$! You can never win.

Eh, I don't know. I see everyone else is pretty adamant about their answers so maybe I'm wrong but I can see a few instances where it might not be the "right" thing to do, but may not really be rude exactly either.

Maybe they saw your parents and figured they better answer while they had someone. I can see especially if its casual, a home party for family, that they would think a casual response would be ok. Maybe they realize how busy you are with the move, Mia and the pregnancy and thought it better to mention to your parents than to potentally bother you at a bad time.

I can see your point as well. I just doubt it was an intentional offense made. Not the right decision but not a rude one necessarily.

Rude. Thankfully it's not a surprise party. But because I try to look at the bright side of all things, at least you don't have to call them on Monday.

Put me down for rude, for all the reasons mentioned above....

It's nice of them to let someone know, but very poor thinking on their part not to let it be the person they're supposed to RSVP to! I'd call it rude, because it's rude when you don't RSVP, and without your parents letting you know that they told them, they effectively have not RSVP'd.


And I would call them, since "I haven't heard from you directly..." That's just bitchy me though.

I vote for rude. Like others said, what if it was a surprise?
I like Snapper's idea - gets your point across doesn't it?

you know when the internet calls it out as rude - it must be pretty bad - I'm just sayin is all

Honestly, since its not a surprise party I would just be glad they responded. Although now I might be concerned that they didnt really pick up on the fact that its at your house and not your parents since they are calling them.

Rude! At least they are responding, the last shower I threw, I had half the people not rsvp at all! Some said they would be there and never showed up!

It is a little rude, but unintentional because they're so familiar with you and your parents, so it might be lower on the rude scale. I dunno. Hard call. You could always ask your parents to referr these familiar people to you instead.

What is really rude is having a party, seding out the invites, asking for RSVP, getting no response and then having everyone just show up. Which happened to my friend.

Absolutely Rude! You provided the information where to respond. I think the people that responded to only your parents should get less cake and wine than those who responded to you!

I don't know if it's necessarily rude, but it is a little dumb. Why wouldn't you be direct with an RSVP? What if your parents forget to pass these along?

My guess is that they feel more comfortable calling your parents instead of you. But still. Dumb.

To me, rudeness requires malice, or at least nastiness, whereas I think these folks are just demonstrating ignorance and/or stupidity. That said, they totally did the wrong thing and I would take the passive-aggressive route suggested by Snapper, but I would be completely nice about it. That way, I'd also make sure they understood the event was at my house (well, your house) and not at the folks'.

I assume my invitation will be arriving shortly.

Wow...this is just a party people...not an invitation to the White House. I would not make friends or family of my parents, who came to help celebrate, feel bad by being passive aggressive with them. WHY? Why do that? Will it really make you feel better? Will that reverse the fact that they called and talked to them instead of you? Come on...way too many people get way too angry and worked up over entirely too little. And yet people complain about how we all have somehow lost our "good manners" like in the "old" days...well, calling these people anyway and pointing out how some number must have been mis-printed on your invitation,etc. is really no better. We've then lost our ability to be kind and forgiving and not let every little thing work us into a frenzy!!!

I think it is very rude! What is wrong with people today... they have totally lost the concept of what an RSVP is and it drives me nuts!

RUDE! I swear, people's brains just shut down when they see R.S.V.P. I like Karly's idea of calling them anyway and being snarky. ;-)

Oh, and this is totally Miss Manners worthy. You should it to her. But those people wouldn't recognize themselves anyway.

Haha... I was going to say what a few other people have said -- to call up those people who RSVP'd to your parents and not to you, saying you're following up because you never heard from them. And to do it right around dinner time.

Of course it's extra work and I'd probably never actually do it because really, it's just being unnecessarily inconsiderate back. But man, would I want to. I have these grand ideas of teaching people lessons so they stop being rude or inconsiderate or general jackasses (in many everyday situations, not just here), but I never do because they probably wouldn't even really get it anyway.

Ok, I didn't read all the replies, cause all I saw were people saying how rude it was... My X-MIL threw a surprise party for her hubby... the RSVP said to call their daughter. They had several people call HER to tell her they weren't going to be there and to wish him well for them. Perhaps it wasn't really rudeness, but them wanting to send along thier well wishes to them? Am I being too kind?

Anyway, hope it's a great party, and sorry people can't follow simple instructions, but I do have to agree with the fact that you're lucky ANYONE is even calling... nothing like having a party, and not knowing how many people to plan for cause only 2 of the 20 have RSVPed.

It wasn't a surprise, I hope?
It is nice that they are RSVP-ing at all. No one seems to understand what that even means, but still... if you are the one hosting then you are the one who should be notified. Really.

Good luck. Oh? Just a personal observation? You are insane. But maybe that's just my reaction when I hear someone is hosting a party. Without a gun to their head. ;) It will be fine. You have a new house, right?

Not Rude - the people who are declining probably feel bad that they cannot attend, and want to wish your parents well; those that can, are excited and want to share with your parents that they will be there. I have friends who I am also friends with their parent, and have conversation and relationships beyond the immediate friend with the parent, and I could see me doing this same type of thing.

However, if you truly want to get even, call all the people back who RSVP'd to you, and ask them to bring a special spoon for ice cream. Then at the party, when it comes time for the ice cream, only those who RSVP'd through you will get to enjoy it. Will send a subtle yet important message ( "CALL ME OR SUFFER MY ICE LIKE WRATH" ) all in a cutesy package.

Just relax....having a huge party to plan will bring way bigger issues to stress about than people not RSVPing the right way. Take a chill pill.

Rude. But I've been totally guilty. Well, not of telling the guest of honor necessarily, but of not wanting to call the bride (who I don't know well) or bride's grandmother (seriously, it said to rsvp to either of them) and so we just told the groom who we *do* know and who lives with the bride. But I was feeling badly about it.

But, having planned enough parties to which no one bothered to rsvp either way, it's nice to actually know if they're coming or not, even if they didn't follow rules of etiquette in getting the info out there.

This is one of my pet peeves- when you respond to an invitation, you are to use the contact info listed on the invite, or at least pay attention to who the organizer is! My in-laws do this All.The.Time and it drives me nuts. My husband's aunts will tell my MIL that they intend to come to a party we are having, then when I call to follow up because I haven't heard, they act all put out "Well, I told Rose last weekend!" to which I say "Oh, I haven't had a chance to talk to her at all this week" or whatever. I don't live with my MIL, I don't talk to her on the phone on a daily basis, MIL may not remember that Aunt SoAndSo said on Monday morning that she intended to come to my party when she does happen to call me for something else on Thursday night.

"Rude" means unmannerly, so whether it was intentional rudeness or unintentional rudeness, it was still rude to respond to the guests of honor instead of the hosts.

Okay, now that I took a moment to skim all the other responses, I didn't say anything even remotely interesting. It was what everyone else said. But Heather's comment above made me want to post again. She suggested that perhaps those who've known you your whole life just still think of you as a kid even though you have a kid....

And this is something that just Infuritating. I hate being treated like a child by relatives. I have a child and another on the way. A mortgage. Two cars. I have had my own address for 10 years. And I am the youngest of four children.

But my mother still gets shower invites for "Sally and daughters." Two of her daughters live 1000+ miles from her. I live near my mother--near enough to be invited to and expected to attend family functions. But I refuse to attend any event to which I was not invited. And my mother getting an invitation that doesn't even address me by name, let alone address me as a functioning adult instead of an appendage of my mother's, in not an invitation.


Ditto the RUDE. They should have called you and then, followed up with your parents sending their personal regrets. Invitation clearly had your information listed and to call you, not your parents. Bad form.

I'd be pissed too.

I just went through this with a birthday party. People don't seem to understand how important the RSVP is for the number count and planning.

It is rude! I think it would be fine if they also called your parents because they wanted to express their regrets to them in person, but the RSVP is supposed to go to the hostess.

You are brave, hosting a party in a house you just moved in to! Were you thinking it would force you to get everything in order faster?

Want me to go kick their asses?

If it was a surprise, then it was rude. If not, I don't think I'd be too bothered by it. I'd be happy that they responded at all.

It's rude for the exact reasons you stated. I agree with bad penguin that it's perfectly fine to state your regrets to the guest/s of honor if you can't make the party (and it's not a surprise), but to do it instead of RSVPing to the hostess is, in my opinion, tacky. It just creates more work!

Oh I think you can squeeze both emotions in there. I have confidence in you.


This behavior is rude...but...(alas) typical. Very typical for this generation as well as the one that came before it. Why? Because as crazy as it may seem, these older folks still view you (and me) as a child. No amount of aging or milestone events (marriage/children/career) is going to change that. You may be the one giving the party but sometimes older people tend to "dismiss" adult children of their friends. This happens in my mother's family All. The. Time. I have a cousin who is only one year older than me. She got married the month after she graduated from high school. No college. She's a grandmother several times over because she became a mother at a very young age and her children did likewise. I, on the other hand, graduated college, started a career, lived on my own. The family gives my cousin a lot more credit for being an adult than they give me. They treat her as though she's a lot older. I have no idea why. Also? Invitations to gatherings go to my parents' house (either by phone or mail) and even though all of us kids have been on our own FOREVER!, my mother (who is 71 and very forgetful) is expected to pass along the invitation to though she is still the conduit through which our social lives are arranged. I don't get my messages through my mother and I haven't in a very long time. I was on my own after college for several years and Bryan and I have been married for quite a little bit. My oldest son just started college, for God's sake. And yet? It's as if I don't have a mind of my own. As if I'm not capable of managing an invitation to a party on my own. Or worse, it's as if I'm not enough of a person to make it worth the time to call me or address an invitation to my home. You may be hormonal, but it's not the reason why this seems so wrong. It would be wrong even if you weren't pregnant. Trust me.

see I'm just anal enough that I would call everyone who didn't reply to ME. even those who replied to your parents and when they say "Oh I called Jim and Sue and said we'd be there" I'd say, well how rude, when clearly they are the guest of honor and I am hosting the party.

But you're nicer than me.
Lucky you.

honestly? i can't believe so many people can get so worked up about such a thing. kind of defeats the purpose of having a party to my mind, getting rattled about these kinds of details. how will you cope if they dance on your tables or leave butt-ends in your plant-pots or overstay their welcome and are still there behaving improperly at 3am? parties should be about fun and friendship, not rules. it's not the best but i don't think it's rude, i think the 'strangers' responded 'properly' because they were responding to the formality of the invite from an unknown person, whereas the friends simply took the opportunity to touch base with the people who are being celebrated at the same time as RSVP'ing. and maybe they were actually thinking of you, assuming that pregnancy + toddler + new house + party organising = enough stress already. maybe they assumed wrongly, and maybe that irks you if you have a sense of needing to Be The Hostess, but if they were thinking of you then it's hardly rudeness. i really doubt they were deliberately trying to diss you. i'd be glad they've spared you a chaser phone-call, but that's just me. will i get pelted with napkin rings now?! i hope you enjoy the party and that your parents feel suitably celebrated.

Its rude. Totally rude. Call them on Monday and make a comment. But I can assure you: even the Swiss people between their cows and horses and cheese and sheep can be like that.

Austrians (like me) would bring a cake, ring the door bell and confirm their coming.


Its rude. Totally rude. Call them on Monday and make a comment. But I can assure you: even the Swiss people between their cows and horses and cheese and sheep can be like that.

Austrians (like me) would bring a cake, ring the door bell and confirm their coming.


Rude, although quite likely unintentionally. Be at peace with the fact that you don't have to call them. And make a special Ex-lax batch of brownies to share only with them. JOKE!

Yup rude, but I am not surprised, unfortunately.

It never ceases to amaze me how hard it seems to be for people to follow simple instructions.

It's certainly inconsiderate (and I agree with everyone else - what if the party were a surprise?!) but I would say it is more polite than say...not RSVP'ing at all.

But I am somewhat of a manners fanatic (don't ask me why) so I might not be the right person to weigh in on the topic...

But good luck with the party - I'm sure it will be a smashing success!

yes, calling your parents when they have been directed otherwise is inappropriate. i'm going to hope it is due to a (big, ignorant, unaware) oversight on their part and not a malicious deviation from the plan.

i think it would be entirely acceptable for your parents to kindly redirect each person that calls them. you know, something like, "oh, its great to hear from you, harold! that's awfully kind of you to call but, as far as the party goes, i believe beth is handling the business end of things, heh heh. she typically has a very efficient plan and, well, harold? if you wouldn't mind just leaving a quick message on her voicemail, that would probably be best. you know, in order to expedite things... did she include her number with the invitation?"

subtle, but direct. give them the opportunity to see their error; put the responsibility back on their lap. see, this way people are forced to be smart, without their even realizing it. plus, i am a big fan of behavior modification. big.

I think it's very rude! What if the party was a surprise? They would have totally ruined it.

I think that according to etiquette, it's considered rude to send responses to anyone other than the person who issued the invitation. But my tendency would be to consider whether or not invitees intended to be rude. Probably not-? So it wouldn't bother me much.

I think it's not so much rude as stupid and ignorant (no offense to them...). Most people know to respond to the hosts -- or to whomever is listed as the RSVP on the invite.... good luck with the preps!

I agree; it's rude. Family members on my husband's side do this and it irritates me to no end. But, at least I don't have to talk to them and that's a plus.

RUDE: I hate RSVPers that rsvp to the wrong spot, or people who do not RSVP at all! I just had my son's 1st birthday party two weeks ago. Out of the 45 people that should of been in attendence, only THREE RSVPed... I asked for an RSVP for a reason... GAWD! People are so crappy these days!

Idiotic and unintentionally obnoxious, but not rude.

Stupid and irritating, but not rude.

Ill-mannered and ill-bred, but not rude.

Don't call them. This is like someone drinking out of the fingerbowl --- you're not supposed to embarrass them by showing them the breech of manners.

Beth, I totally recognize your right to vent. But the outpouring of indignation in the comments is a bit disconcerting.

I totally agree with Natalie et al … Maybe these guests’ behaviour was ill-mannered or inconsiderate, but seriously? Don’t we all have better things to do with our time than get worked up about party RSVPs? Honestly! There’s an unjust war in Iraq, health care is a mess, an AIDS epidemic in Africa and elsewhere, destruction of the environment …

At the very least, why allow someone else’s actions to make us angry or upset? Why give them that power over our own happiness? This isn’t civil rights we’re talking about here, or even boundaries and personal respect; it’s a few stupid people just not thinking or reading.

The best way to prove (if only to oneself) that one is an adult rather than a child is to react with compassion, forgiveness, and grace. To be the better person and rise above petty slights.

Would there be any better gift or example for the next generation?

I think it shows some people's ignorance or lack of attention to the blatant details on your invite, but you move on, and have one HELL of a party!

Late, but chiming in: R.u.d.e.

The invitations provided the rsvp instructions; the instructions should have been followed. Period.

And I'll just add that I hate it when people don't respond one way or the other and leave you guessing about whether or not they're coming. Even r.u.d.e.r!

Wicked late, but I really don't think it's rude. I do think that out and out rudeness requires malice, and I honestly think that they meant well, they really did.

And if you call them, as many of the commenters have insisted that you do, you risk exposing your parents and making THEM look bad, not the original caller. You put your parents in an unwitting position to be at odds with *their* friends, and that's not appropriate, and in fact, in my opinion, is far worse than the original transgression.

Hang in there, and really, don't let this bother you. It's not worth it, given the other stresses you have to deal with. Just check off the people on your list and move on. I agree that it's likely because they see you as a child, and while it's frustrating, it is what it is. I shrug that shit off, because really? I see them as old and parent-like, not peers, so I am just as guilty. See: any of them who wants me to stop calling them Mr. or Mrs. I can't.

Throw a hell of a party and have fun.

It's rude. Rude, rude, rude. And it's really more rude to your parents than anyone, since now they have to relay the messages to you of who will be there.

People annoy me.

I hope the party is fantastic!

I don't know about rude, but it just seems sort of stupid that they would notify your parents that they are coming, since your parents aren't the ones responsible for organizing the party and may not communicate this information to you (as the hostess).

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