Raincheck?
January 15, 2010 8:36 AM   Subscribe

In your opinion, does the responsibility to provide another invitation fall on the giver or the taker of a "rain check?"

No real additional explanation is required. Context is that it is from someone who I do not know very well.
posted by plungerjoke to Human Relations (29 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Neither. A rain check is a social nicety that indicates both parties are still interested in the engagement even though circumstances prevented it from occurring this particular time.
posted by chrillsicka at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2010


Actually, a bit more explanation is required. Is this a dinner or a movie or something for which tickets were purchased in advance?
posted by stoneweaver at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's just an expression. I guess the responsibility falls on whoever is most eager to reschedule.
posted by hermitosis at 8:41 AM on January 15, 2010


Gosh, I never thought of it in such formal terms. I would say that whichever person sees another opportunity to socialize first should feel free to suggest doing so. It's not Victorian times.
posted by padraigin at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2010


There is no obligation to supply another invitation on either side.

If the invitee cannot meet with the inviter at a particular time, but would want to meet at some other time, then they should propose that themselves, lest the inviter assume that the invitee is not actually interested.
posted by grouse at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I image if person A says "let's reschedule/let me give you a rain check", then the impetus should be on that person to reschedule so that person B does not feel brushed off.
posted by amethysts at 8:43 AM on January 15, 2010


Gosh, I think more information is required. Is this a social relationship? Business? Dating? An invitation to an first date, a house party, or a pitch for a business deal?

Generally, I think that if this is a relationship you want to cultivate, reciprocate an invitation. If not, wait for the person to invite you again. A rain check is not for keeping score of who owes whom an invitation to XYZ, at least socially (unless maybe you're Emily Post).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:44 AM on January 15, 2010


No real additional explanation is required.

I strongly disagree, nothing occurs in a vacuum. Is this business oriented? Social? Was there a specific activity planned or just hanging out? What's the history of the two people, even if they don't know each other well?

But if you want to ignore all that, I say it boils down to whether you want to get together with them. If you do, so something, ask'em. If not, then don't sweat it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on January 15, 2010


It is sort of a dating context in the sense that I am interested in the giver, and in the past I'm pretty sure I have come on too strong with other people. I'm trying to avoid doing that, but I also don't want to unintentionally blow someone off.
posted by plungerjoke at 8:47 AM on January 15, 2010


If it involves two people who do not know one another very well I'd say the person who demurred the initial encounter should make the next contact. In many cases taking a "rain check" in such circumstances could be polite social-ese for saying "No, I don't really want to hang out with you", and therefor it is up to them to amend or correct that impression. (yes there are other legitimate reasons to do so, and that is why if you are turned down you don't feel upset about it)

if it is two people who know one enough well, I don't think there is any real "manner" to follow, short of annoying/pestering the hell out of your friend.

Things would be different if it is a business associate/function, or some specialized situation. So you see, the No real additional explanation is required may not be entirelly acurate if you want informed responses.
posted by edgeways at 8:49 AM on January 15, 2010


No real additional explanation is required.

Social questions are the opposite of mathematics. As much additional context as can be supplied is useful.

Why was the "rain check" given? Was it the giver or givee who cancelled? What is the importance of whats at stake? Who initiated the events that led to the rain check? Even...in what tone or context was the rain check given? That is, openly or grudgingly? Yes, all this matters.
posted by vacapinta at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2010


Treating a rain check as a formal obligation to do something is a good way to "come on too strong."
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2010


In many cases taking a "rain check" in such circumstances could be polite social-ese for saying "No, I don't really want to hang out with you", and therefor it is up to them to amend or correct that impression.

This is kind of what I was thinking.
posted by plungerjoke at 8:50 AM on January 15, 2010


The person who cancelled is the person upon whom the social onus rests - that person should extend an invitation to another event or dinner or meetup. Anything else is, IMHO, a blow-off.

NB: This applies to one-on-one activities only. If someone has to take a raincheck on a weekly group poker game, that's different than someone who needs to bow out of a dinner date or a ball game at the last minute.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:52 AM on January 15, 2010


It is sort of a dating context in the sense that I am interested in the giver, and in the past I'm pretty sure I have come on too strong with other people. I'm trying to avoid doing that, but I also don't want to unintentionally blow someone off.

Go ahead and ask again. What's the worst that can happen? A rejection? You can live with that.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:54 AM on January 15, 2010


Some people like to be pursued but no one likes to be harassed. And this person might not realize that you are interested and is possibly blowing you off unintentionally. If you've only been blown off once, you might make another offer one more time only.
posted by grouse at 8:59 AM on January 15, 2010


I think if you cancel plans on me you should reschedule them or else you probably didn't want to see me that badly to begin with. If I really wanted to see you though, I'd still ask once even if you didn't reschedule first.
posted by rmless at 9:00 AM on January 15, 2010


With your updates - give it a week or two and see if she attempts to reschedule. If not, extend a low pressure reschedule and see if she takes it. If not, take it as a brush off and move on.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:03 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vacapinta is exactly right: we'd need to know specifically what happened. You can't decide on a course of action by analyzing the term "rain check" in the abstract.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:21 AM on January 15, 2010


Technically - my understanding of "I'll have to take a rain check." is "I can't/don't want to accept your invitation this time, but I'm open to future invitations." Which does not place an obligation on either person, but leaves the door open for any invitations that might or might not happen in the future. It's a nicety, not a contract.

But in real life interaction with other people, if person A invites person B, who demurs with a raincheck excuse, person A may think B was just trying to say no in a nice way and might not ask again. There's nothing preventing B from taking the initiative, and if B does want to do something with A, it's probably a better idea than leaving it all up to A. If B actually was just trying to say no, but didn't, the miscommunication is B's fault for being indirect, and B has no reason for complaint if A asks again.
posted by Dojie at 9:25 AM on January 15, 2010


If I were the sort who is comfortable extending social invitations, I would probably ask a second time if the person "took a raincheck" the first time, just in case they happen to be shy. But I wouldn't ask a third time... by that time it does seem like a brush-off, and if it isn't then I'd figure I'd made my interest clear enough to embolden a shy-but-interested person.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:32 AM on January 15, 2010


More context for those who requested: I went out for a drink with the person last week. It was a pretty great time for me, and I'm 95% sure she would say the same thing. At the end of the night, she even expressed having had a good time and suggested that it should be done again sometime. I extended another invitation for something similar this past tuesday, and she responded by saying that she already had dinner plans that evening and then said raincheck.

Just for the record, though, I think this discussion of rain check in the abstract is way more interesting than my specific situation, haha.
posted by plungerjoke at 9:48 AM on January 15, 2010


Did you already make plans, and the other person used a rain check to cancel them? Or were you offering to make plans, and the other person declined them with a rain check?

If you already had plans to go out, and then Friend says, "I am so sorry, can I take a rain check? I forgot I had a flugelhorn recital that day!" then said friend (should) make up the date by inviting you out at a more convenient time. Or, less formally, you can just figure out a better time together.

If you were asking someone to go out with you, and they said, "Can I take a rain check on that?" they're declining the invitation. Ask one more time, and if they decline again- don't ask again, they're not interested.
posted by headspace at 9:53 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


In that case, absolutely ask her again. Not coming on too strong at all. If she weren't open to being asked again, she probably would have just left it at mentioning the dinner plans and not said anything about a raincheck.
posted by Dojie at 9:59 AM on January 15, 2010


In the retail context, the business gives the customer a rain check when the business is out of stock of a sale item. Saying, basically "come back another time when we have it in stock, and we'll give it to you for the sale price."

Extrapolating that to social situations, if you asked for dinner, she couldn't and so "wrote" you a rain check; you're the customer, she's the business ("sorry, we advertised availability for dinner, but we don't have any 'time available for dinner' in stock right now, please come back when we do and we'll give you the advertised deal"). You come back at a later time and ask her to dinner, she would have to say yes, or give you another rain check. Careful if you keep getting rain checks - by advertising a deal and not stocking the item she might be trying to pull the ol' "bait and switch!" =)
posted by melissasaurus at 10:00 AM on January 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


The person who cancelled is the person upon whom the social onus rests - that person should extend an invitation to another event or dinner or meetup. Anything else is, IMHO, a blow-off.

I agree -- but if were talking about asking out 'popular' girls, it's my experience that a significant percentage of them disagree.
posted by Rash at 10:41 AM on January 15, 2010


I think she wants you to ask her out again. But, did I misunderstand what you said? I read it as you asking her out for dinner for the very same day you were asking. If that was the case, maybe it was a way of suggesting that you ask her out a few days in advance to make it more datey and not so casual. Some people don't like to seem too available (I hope I'm wrong about that, though, because it makes the whole thing into a game situation and that sucks).

I think it would be perfectly fine to be given a raincheck request and then be the one asking again. But if she says raincheck again, then just suggest to her that she let you know when she's free and then it puts the responsibility squarely on her, and if she doesn't contact you then you know she's not interested.

And no one could construe that as you being pushy.
posted by Brody's chum at 2:01 PM on January 15, 2010


Based on the explanation I'd say it's totally fair game for you to ask again. It's probably expected in fact.
posted by grapesaresour at 6:49 PM on January 15, 2010


A good general rule is to ask twice, if they provide a specific excuse. When they demur the second time, say "okay, well just let me know when you'd like to grab dinner." Then let it go.
posted by kathrineg at 11:21 AM on January 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


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