A few years ago, Facebook event invitations were a godsend – no longer did you need to hunt down email addresses and phone numbers to invite people to your overindulgent birthday party or whatever other self-centered activities you needed everyone in your social network to know about. But a regressed, muddled interface coupled with the passivity that social networking has bred in us has turned Eventing (or inviting one to an event) into a digital nightmare.
Our event feeds are so clogged with inappropriate, inane activities that the ones that actually have some relevance are buried between “Wear a white t-shirt on Wednesday to support sharks with cancer!” and “Donate to my Kickstarter cause—trying to make life-sized Funyuns happen!” (GTFO.)
There are two things that you can do to combat the overabundance of event invitations. One is to defriend the offending party – the one who invites you to some club in Miami (where you’ve never been). The one who invites you to movie premieres in Chicago (hundreds of miles from where you live). Just give them the ax – maybe they’re a good person offline, but they’ve proven that they do not know how to use, nor should they be trusted with, Facebook.
The second thing you can do to end the event epidemic is to take some personal accountability and use the event invitation function in a sober manner. Stop inviting everyone you know to everything you do. You are not obligated to ‘Select All.’ You do not have to feel bad if you’ve left someone out. 75% of the people you invite to an event would probably feel more gratitude toward you if you spared them your pity invite. Here are some of those people.
The person who lives on the other side of the country. Any event that requires getting on an airplane in order to attend requires a phone call, bro. Sometimes you’re unaware of someone’s current state of residence, accidents happen, but for the most part not knowing where someone lives implies that your friendship has kind of fallen by the wayside. They will not be offended if you do not invite them to your Tuesday night networking mixer.
Someone you don’t actually want to attend your event. I get that it can be Scary or even Confrontational to purposefully not invite someone somewhere, but so what? Just be real. Have a known dislike for your friend’s girlfriend? Don’t invite her to your BBQ. Indifferent toward a friend you haven’t seen in the past two years but feel some sort of blind obligation to invite them? Skip over that name. When you invite someone somewhere, you’re pretty much giving them the okay to show up. If their presence is going to ruin your day/night, spare them the insincere invite and the awkwardness.
People you used to hookup with. If you genuinely want to invite someone you used to get naked with, by all means. But their feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t invite them somewhere – they’re probably expecting to never see you again, so there’s that. Also remember to draw the line somewhere. Inviting everyone you’ve ever hooked up with could turn into a mess. Or an orgy, depending on the volume of alcohol at the event. Use your discretion.
People you just met. There’s no need to send a last-minute birthday party invite to someone you became Facebook friends with five minutes ago and met forty hours before that. Not everyone cares about your birthday as much as you do. They will 100% understand if they have to wait until next year to watch you make a fool of yourself at some trendy bar.
The problem with slutting out your event invitations is that people want to feel special, and like they were invited because it’s actually believed that their presence would add value to that particular event. The disingenuous nature of Facebook invitations has destroyed that. We’re all just a number – a Maybe Attending number or a Not Yet Replied number. The real answer here might be to take Eventing back to email or like… I don’t know, something archaic like calling people up or… sending a real invitation in the mail. (Imagine?!) But since I like to stalk the names on the Attending list (I’m but a human), I’m going to suggest that we quit belligerently doling out invitations. No need to get drunk off of that Event Admin power, guy.
One more thing – if you’re one of those people who create invitations that suggest wearing a certain color somehow illustrates my solidarity with sea creature struggles? I’d like to invite you to my foot up your ass.