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Reversing the pressure as a host when sending an invitation

Hello everyone,

Here is something I observed. When you're a host and are organising an event, 2 scenarios:

  1. The person says right away "yes" or "no"
  2. The person says: "they'll come back to you", most often without a deadline

So in case 2, you're left waiting on the person to be able to organize your event or your evening in case there are not enough people.

In short they have the power and now you're depending on them to move forward. I think it's a role reversal: the guest gets a position of power by making their presence conditional to some external event that they're not telling you about. It could be a better opportunity most of the time. So it can also subcommunicate: "I'm waiting to see if a better event is coming or confirming" (could be a Tinder date or anything else). So there is definitely a power dynamics to it (hence its presence in this forum category).

What I do now is the following:

Him/Her: I'll confirm you/I'll let you know

Me: Yeah please let me know soon enough so I can organize myself ("Frenchism": pour que je puisse m'organiser)

So this puts the pressure back on them (as it should be), they have to tell me as soon as possible if they're coming or not. This is a power move in a way, however it's a defensive one. Why should the host be waiting on his guests to be able to know if he will be able to organize an event or not? The host is giving the opportunity, the guest has the choice to seize it or not. Of course, any reasonable delay is fair ("I'll let you know by tomorrow"), even if it's at the end of the week. But still, the more time you give the other person, the more you are dependent on them to move forward.

It's a totally different dynamic if the person tells you right away what they're waiting for and when they will be answering. This transparency is a form of power-sharing that I respect a lot: it's empowering to the other person. So there are different use cases. Here I'm mostly talking about the situation when you invite someone and they make you wait to give you answer. By putting back the responsibility on them to answer as soon as possible, I think that one rebalances the power. If you have a sense that I'm being partial to the host, you are right. I am in most cases in this situation. However, when I'm invited (since I know how it feels to be on the other side as a host), I do extend the transparency I'm talking about above to the other person so I don't hinder their plans (that would be value-taking).

I'm happy to read your thoughts on this topic.

PS: this could also go into Social Life, I'm totally ok to move it if you feel like it. Also I'm happy to read any feed-back on the title which I think could be better ("Pressure reversal as a host when sending an invitation" for instance).

Lucio Buffalmano and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned

Nice one John - I like the phrasing.  Takes the pressure off them - its not about them fence sitting its about you being organised.

I always take a 'maybe' as a 'no'.  A lot of people don't like turning down invitations.  You get the players who want to keep their options open 'waiting for the best offer'.  And more empathic people who realise that somebody who is inviting is taking a social risk and don't want to come but don't want bad feelings.

One of my rules is try and keep it 1:1  If I turn down an invitation invite them.  Otherwise people tend to drift away.

Lucio Buffalmano, John Freeman and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanBelEmily

Great post and analysis, John!

And very good answer, too.

Yes, telling them back to let you know soon is a good move, and it's also good to put a stop-time to it, for example:

You: Cool, up to you mate, just let me know by tomorrow please so I can organize myself

Because otherwise "soon" can somewhat re-empower you in the short term, but still leave you with the same issue as the hours pass and you're not sure whether to count them in or not.

And I also like a lot Transitioned's approach of generally taking "maybes" for for "no".

P.S.:
Moving it to social life if you're cool with that because you're absolutely right there's a power component to it, and still, there's one in most interactions anyway and there it's easier to find in the future.

John Freeman, Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
John FreemanKavalierBel
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Hello Lucio and Transitioned,

thank you very much for your answers! Sorry for the long delay.

I always take a 'maybe' as a 'no'.  A lot of people don't like turning down invitations.  You get the players who want to keep their options open 'waiting for the best offer'.  And more empathic people who realise that somebody who is inviting is taking a social risk and don't want to come but don't want bad feelings.

Thanks! It's helpful for me to see it written. I never conceptualized it. I felt it however I thought: "Well, they said they were going to think about it". I think your approach is more effective as it allows one to focus on people who are really interested (Mark Manson's concept of "Fuck yeah!" or "no": he says he only goes for what is a "Fuck yeah!").

Yes, telling them back to let you know soon is a good move, and it's also good to put a stop-time to it, for example:

You: Cool, up to you mate, just let me know by tomorrow please so I can organize myself

That is much better, thank you very much. This really solves it. I think both your answers are complimentary to one another. Put a deadline on the answer and at the same time, not expecting too much out of it since the person is apparently not enthusiastic.

P.S.:
Moving it to social life if you're cool with that because you're absolutely right there's a power component to it, and still, there's one in most interactions anyway and there it's easier to find in the future.

Totally 🙂

Lucio Buffalmano and Transitioned have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitioned
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