Tuesday, February 23, 2010

2-23-10: The Social Construct Known as "Maybe"

Will some one please explain to me what motivates potential party-goers to respond "Maybe" to an invite.

I am hosting, for the second year going, a St. Patrick's Day celebration. You're welcome to come, by the way. Starts at 8:00PM on Friday the 12th, at my place.

I sent out the invites for this celebration last Friday, and have been seeing the usual trickling in of responses. A couple of these responses are the dreaded "Maybe." This, my friends, I do not like. I don't know who invented the "Maybe" response on Google Calendar, but I hope that employee has either been fired or has moved on to better things (like Google Buzz), because I hate it. And, since I haven't gone on a good rant for a while, I'll explain to you, dear reader, why the "Maybe" response has no real use.

My concern as the host is if you, the invited, will attend my party. This should be a binary response: "Yes" or "No." When I see a "Yes" response, I think "This person is planning at least part of their day to attend my party." When I see a "No" response, I think "This person already has plans and is kind enough to take the time to let me know they are definitely not showing up." Both responses are perfectly fine, and appreciated. When I see a "Maybe" response, I think "This person is letting me know that they know I'm having the party, but that it is not one of their top priorities."

Let's go back to my role as the host: is this person attending or are they not. I really don't need to know what this person's priorities are. I want to know, one way or the other, if they're planning to show up. The "Maybe" response, to me, is NOT a "Maybe" for attendance, it's simply a "Soft No" unless it turns into a "Yes." A true "Maybe" is the simple non-response. A lot of people employ that technique, which I like less than a "Yes" or "No," but more so than a "Maybe" response. Please, if you are a legitimate "Maybe", just don't respond. That is totally understandable. I don't expect you to drop everything you're planning just to attend my party. It's not a big deal. But, whatever you do, don't respond "Maybe." It doesn't help me.

And Google Calendar employees: if there is any way to prevent possible attendees from responding "Maybe," please let me know. Thanks.

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