Facebook Broke the RSVP

You see the invites hovering in the upper right hand corner of your screen. There are now sixteen of them, two more since you last logged into your Facebook account. The last time you checked, the invitations were an odd assortment of events, mostly things you would never be interested in attending: make-up and 31 parties, political fundraisers, and a local marathon. They seem to be the online equivalent to mass mailings. You are one of three hundred people invited to the online candle party this Wednesday, one of twenty invited to a neighborhood wine tasting party (that has been cancelled and rescheduled twice), and one of sixty-two thousand invited to the online political fundraising event next week.

After a while, you stop glancing at the upper right hand corner of your screen. The Facebook invitations continue to arrive in droves, sometimes from people you vaguely know. Do you really need to RSVP? Will the host of the online political fundraiser who invited sixty-two thousand people really care if you’re not attending? You should acknowledge the invite to the neighborhood wine tasting party, but this twice canceled and rescheduled event makes you suspect the date is vague, only a possibility. You log off, telling yourself you’ll RSVP later.

It is this reason, this overload of Facebook invites, that you neglect to acknowledge the other invitations in your life. The invitations of days past: paper invitations arriving in your mailbox or in your child’s school bag. You take note of their appearance; perhaps even tack the invitation to the front of your refrigerator. You may glance at it while reaching into the fridge for milk and think, “Oh! I still need to respond!”  But your mind wanders to the milk and its expiration date. Eventually, just like those mass Facebook invites, you stop seeing the paper invitation hanging on your refrigerator.

Meanwhile, the date for Aunt Dottie’s party arrives. Her dining room table is set for the fifteen people she invited, even though only three people called and said they would attend. She feels flustered, not quite sure what to do about the twelve guests who did not RSVP. Aunt Dottie now wonders if she made too much punch, and if the extra place settings will look foolish if no one fills them. Yet, what if someone who didn’t RSVP does show up?

If Facebook broke the RSVP, what is to be done? We could try and stop the source, ending the deluge of shotgun invites that populate the upper right hand corner of our Facebook screen. Or, we could bring back common courtesy. We can respond to the invitation, whether it involves clicking the “decline” button on the screen, or even (God forbid) having an actual conversation with the host who took the time to handwrite a paper invitation.

Because at the end of the day, Aunt Dottie needs to know how many cupcakes to make.

Fight Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee?

According to the article Can This Marriage Be Saved? sixty-nine percent of marital conflicts are never resolved. Sixty-nine percent! This is an alarmingly high number, and it sheds some light on why forty to fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. But the question still remains: why are all of these marital conflicts not being resolved?

Dr. John Gottman, a psychologist quoted in Can This Marriage Be Saved?, attributed unresolved conflicts to communication, or lack thereof. Dr. Gottman states that couples who resolve arguments tend to communicate nicely. They deliver their complaints with less of a blow (think flyweight boxing verses heavyweight). Meanwhile, couples who don’t communicate never resolve their discrepancies, thus leading to the eventual demise of the relationship.

While Dr. Gottman clearly pinpoints the main ingredient (communication) for relationship longevity, I felt it needed to be expanded. Why, exactly, are these couples not communicating? How are they fighting so that nothing is being resolved?

I took to the streets, pen in hand (and depending on the neighborhood, mace can in my other hand) and began surveying married couples. The question posed: when you and your spouse fight, how does he (or she) act?

A surprising discovery was not simply the lack of communication. Most did indeed communicate. However, they all had unique fighting styles. The categories are listed below.

The Convincers – also known as Verbal Gymnasts, the Convincers have the innate ability to convince you that you’re the one who is wrong. They stop at nothing to convince you, so arguments generally last for hours. Whether it is pure exhaustion – or they are finally persuaded – spouses of Convincers usually throw in the towel and eventually declare they were wrong.

The Clammer Uppers – these spouses stop talking because they are so overwhelmed with emotions they simply shut down. (Or they fear saying something they will really regret.) Some people call this  “the silent treatment.” Did she hear you apologize? Your guess is as good as mine, because if she did hear you, you would never know. Convincers love Clammer Uppers because they can continue to convince with no interruptions.

Taker Offers – similar to the Clammer Uppers but with more energy. The Taker Offers will physically leave the premises of the fight. This may mean storming out of the house or restaurant. If enclosed in a car, Taker Offers have been known to shove the offending person out of the car and drive off, leaving the spouse stranded.

Reactors – you’re mad because she’s mad.

“Now I’m in a bad mood too. Here I was, just watching the game and enjoying my beer, but now it’s ruined because you’re mad at me again.”

The mood of Reactors seems to be contingent upon the mood of the spouse.

Directors – tell their spouse what she or he needs to do to end the fight. Apology insincere? Who cares! Fight is over! Let’s go out for dinner already! Convincers and Directors could NEVER be married to one another. The Convincer would be too busy trying to convince the Director, while the Director would be too busy telling the Convincer what he needs to do in order to conclude the argument.

Moper – a personification of Eeyore, the Moper will throw the biggest pity party of the century. The Moper has a fighting style similar to that of the Convincer, but much more pathetic.

 “I know I forgot your birthday again. I’m so dumb. I’m the worst husband ever. You should never have married me. Other husbands would have remembered your birthday. You can go marry them. I deserve it.”

Mopers and Directors make great couples. A Director would simply tell the Moper what needs to be done to soothe things over.

“You’re right! I should go out and marry someone else. Now, let’s go shoe shopping because you’re buying me five pairs of shoes and you’re going to love every second of it. Got it?”

Conversely, Mopers and Reactors would never make it. Once the Moper turned all mopey, so would the Reactor.

“You’re right. You are so dumb for forgetting my birthday again. And I’m dumb for marrying you. We’re both two dumb people. And now I’m too depressed to go find another husband.”

The last fighting style identified was the Rehasher. During an argument, a Rehasher will suddenly bring up issues (issues you thought were resolved) from the past. Similar to Mohammad Ali’s famous phantom punch that abruptly ended the boxing match with Sonny Liston by knock out, the Rehasher will verbally strike their unknowing spouse, leaving them stunned. Bewildered. Speechless.

“I forgot to take out the garbage? Well! At least I didn’t back the car into a telephone pole.”

“That was five years ago!”

“Maybe it was, but my not taking out the garbage didn’t cost us a $500 deductible, now did it?”

To take Dr. Gottman’s expertise a smidgen further, it appears couples may not be communicating because of their fighting styles. How can a Moper talk things out with a Reactor when both turn sullen? Or a Director communicate with a Convincer with they are talking over each other?  As Leo Tolstoy said, “what counts in making a happy marriage, is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”

References: Can This Marriage Be Saved?

To Do: Find A Funeral Home

Please add Find Funeral Home For When I Die to your “To Do” list. Sound unnecessary? Perhaps you’re thinking, “Does it really matter where my wake will be since – technically – I’ll not even be there?” Think again.

For those of you who live in East Texas, there is a funeral home that resides in a former Taco Bell storefront. As if this isn’t awful enough, the funeral home has a casket on a pole advertising their services. Were the owners of East Texas Funeral Home concerned friends and family of the deceased would get lost en route to their funerals, and having a coffin in the sky would help?

“Stupid Google maps! I don’t see the road anywhere! Wait. Just wait one second! What is that ahead? A casket in the sky? Whew! We’re on the right street.”

And you thought I was exaggerating.

And you thought I was exaggerating.

After paying their condolences at the East Texas Funeral Home, hungry mourning guests may pop in next door to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

“I still can’t believe Harry died! I mean, how old was he? Fifty – oh! Look! A Chinese buffet! I wonder if they have General Tso’s chicken. That’s my favorite.”

Now, I could very well be wrong. Perhaps you find the idea of your body being laid out in a former Taco Bell storefront with a coffin floating overhead appealing. But for those of you who live in East Texas, and don’t care for this decor, I strongly encourage you to find an alternative funeral home and remember to tell your family.

Another funeral home you may want to avoid is the Ahlgrim Family Funeral Home (click HERE for this oddity), located in Illinois. Mourners could be visiting your wake on the pretense of offering condolences, but what they are really itching to do is go downstairs and play 9 holes of mini-golf in the funeral home’s miniature golf course. There is also a game room for those of you who love a competitive pinball game. Note, however, the game room is never open during funeral services. (This may be a bit of a downer for some … more so than your death.)

Lastly, consider avoiding Drive Thru Funeral homes. Several are popping up along the country. This is exactly what it sounds like: your coffin is next to a window, and your loved ones can drive up to the window and pay their respects. (Well, sort of. I don’t know about you, but I find the effort of getting out of the car to be an integral component of  “paying respect”.)

Apparently, if you arrive before 6pm, you'll have to go inside. Dang!

Apparently, if you arrive before 6 pm, you’ll have to go inside.

Call me demanding or fussy, but when I exit this earth, I would rather not have my body displayed in a window.

“Well, there she is. Think we should turn down the radio?”

“Why? It’s not like she can hear it.”

“True.”

“So … now what? We just drive forward?”

“I guess so. Hey. Since we’re doing this whole drive-thru thing, can we head over to McDonalds?”

“Sure. Ya know, it’s too bad this isn’t the East Texas Funeral Home. There is an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet next door to that one.”

*Photo credits go to Adam J. Holland, of the Unorthodox Epicure, who braved the East Texas streets in order to provide the Casket On A Stick photograph. (Click HERE to visit his blog.) And Google Images for the Drive-Thru Funeral Home sign.*