It sometimes feels like a good number of my "friendships" subsist solely on party invites. A former co-worker I haven't seen in two years, but whom I still dutifully include on every invite for a birthday party or housewarming. A guy I got drinks with once seven months ago whose Facebook statuses I occasionally "like." A high school friend who lives in Chicago whom I add to the BCC field as a way of saying "hi," I guess, even though we've been in the midst of a nine-month long game of phone tag and I think I'm the one who's meant to call her back?
Of course, these people never come to your parties. (The people who come are the 20-40 people you actually see regularly, the ones you expect to show up.) But you keep including them out of habit. You copy and paste your BCCed list from last year's birthday party e-mail and, sure, you delete a few people - a friend's former boyfriend, a past subletter - but there are a few relics you leave on. There's something nice about the thought that your "birthday drinks!!!!" e-mail might remind that former co-worker of that time you sprinted to a cab together holding two boxes filled with party hats. Maybe she'll write back a quick hello ("Sooo sorry I can't make it that night. How are you???"), though she won't respond to your (probably too enthusiastic) response. Or maybe she'll just think to herself "Oh, Josh," before archiving the e-mail. But either way, your having included her in the BCC field - however inconsequential it may seem - reveals that there's some part of you that wants to hold on just a little bit longer.