The RSVPs @ Bangkok Volunteers Meetup
Way back in the early 18th Century; the system was adopted by some high society people in England and lately popularized in the 20th Century by the famous writings and works of Emily Post. It’s a French etiquette which is considered to be stricter than the usual practice of responding through invitation and it has become famous and commonly used nowadays, especially here in Meetup community.
RSVP is “Respondez S’il Vout Plait” (Reply if it pleases you), a usual phrase commonly misused and abused by some people who recklessly clicked “Yes” but eventually won’t show up. A sickness happening anywhere not only in our volunteer community and miserably professed by members from other Meetup groups as well.
NO MEETUP anywhere in the world is happy for people like this. When you received an invitation in your inbox and you signed-up, it’s been assumed by default that you are interested to join. Like the meaning of the acronym itself as mentioned above, “Reply if it pleases you”; and if you’re not, then don’t. I tell you this, “Life is too short to keep on singing-up and signing-up and …no-show”. Occasional updates are posted by the Organizers to remind everyone on the list to change their status, we annoyingly sound like a broken record but it only require few minutes of your time to respond accordingly. Several worst cases were noted when people confirmed and never heard anything from them on the day; not a text, a call or at least a post in the event page.
The Last Minute Bail-outs
Things are all set to roll and not even a strand of your hair went visible on the day. We are equipped with the ready-made possible list of excuses on this: the blame on the bad food the other night, the hangover of partying, the alarm clock that didn’t work, the unfair boss who demanded a work on weekend and the impromptu sickness are all lined-up in our multiple choice chart.
We’ll do our best to understand this, but if a chance of a very limited trip and we need to select only few from interested participants, we also hope for your understanding if we less prioritizes your intention to join. As they say, “Life is too short to keep people with too much cancellation on their lives, and you’re in it”. I’m not saying that the only valid excuse are either hospitalization (or worse than that), or either your dog ate your favorite shorts that day, but can you be more creative with your reasons? It doesn't matter anyway, bail outs are bail outs and nobody is perfectly happy about it.
The No Replies
Everyone who signed-up in the events are notified to update their statuses from time to time and it includes an email and a post on the comment page. For some unexplainable reason people are missing invitations but even if we managed to send them exclusive message(s) to get their attention, some still fail to reply and confirm. The funny thing is that when the headcounts are finalized, they’ll eventually show up and make reasons that they missed notices, that they are very busy, or can’t find the emails, lost the phone, no internet etc.
With this case I am nearly considering reminding members to check their mailbox settings and locate the “REPLY” button first before signing-up an event. Can you imagine yourself feeling better after making an effort to message someone and it was ignored? Missed or taken for granted? “Life is too short to keep a mailbox account with a hard-to-locate Reply button”. So let me take this opportunity to advise you to switch to the simplest mail settings or better purchase a book “Emailing for Dummies” (no idea of the ISBN number, sorry).
Are you in the right place? How does your heart define the word “Volunteering?” If you signed-up into many Meetup groups and yet don’t possess any of their descriptions to characterize yourself, or not even the keywords, can you still keep up its pace? Life is indeed too short to be surrounded with wrong people.
Several groups, tons of “Yes” and meetings, parties here, there and everywhere, and at the end of the day you find yourself wondering what life is really all about or your soul mate is still nowhere in sight. Have you pictured yourself standing so little in front of a poker machine where you dare gamble your life’s choices?
Volunteering is about being socially responsible, not mandatory and basically depends on your availability. If the responsibility should start from the discretion of membership on communities we get involved in Meetup groups (dancing, travelling, web, entrepreneurship, etc.), what follows should be the same as your intention of joining, the responsiveness. Can you be that?