Do NOT "Just Drop In" on people without notice!

I don’t care what your relationship is to them. I don’t care if you are besties, close blood relatives, their spiritual advisor, whatever.


Yesterday was a beautiful day, and I had a spurt of energy and decided to tackle those ‘spring cleaning’ chores I’d been ignoring. I started with the idea of washing the insides of all the windows of the first floor. Which inspired me to take down all the associated drapes and hang them outside for a good airing/dust shaking free in the sun and wind.

And then the sheers. I got them all down, too, and put to soak in the bath tub for a while. And then figured, why not do a really good job of vacuuming the baseboard radiators? God know how much dust has accumulated on them. This entailed pulling many pieces of furniture well away from walls for access, which in turn meant unloading several shelves of five cabinets and bookcases to make them light enough and safe to move. All that stuff got piled onto every end table and couch and chair and ottoman and coffee table, safely out of the way. Finally I was able to remove the radiator covers to access the fins.

Oh, and since I now had clear access to the walls, I really might as well take down all the wall pictures and other hanging stuff. Good dusting and polishing of the glass covers clearly needed before I hang them back.

Oh, the sheers had soaked long enough, get the first load into the washing machine. It took three loads to avoid extra creasing.

I came back up from the basement laundry to find someone pounding on my door. Really? I was by then dirty, sweaty, and in no mood to deal with whoever. I ignored it.

The pounding continued. And, i see peering in my now naked dining room windows are one of my nieces and her brood of four children! Guess I can’t pretend I’m not home, eh?

So I opened the door. “Oh, there you are,” chirped Lark. (Not her name, but fits with the chirpy attitude.) "We’ve been on a shopping trip to (local giant enclosed mall) and I thought ‘We should stop by Aunt Starving’s since we’re only a couple miles away!’ "

Now, Lark is nice, and her kids are, on the whole, better behaved than many these days, but it was nearly 11:30 and I was in no mood to entertain anybody because I’ve got to get all my projects done and the house put back together so I could collapse into bed and I’m pretty sure I don’t even have enough lunch type food on hand to feed five extra people and in fact THERE IS NOWHERE TO SIT DOWN on the entire first floor of the house. (Okay, the toilet is still accessible.)

I told her “Sorry, you all can’t come in now. I’m too busy.”

Lark was shocked. “But the kids hardly get to see you!” This is true. Their house is a good 45 minute drive away, even when the traffic is light. “And we’re already here!”

“That’s too bad. But as you can see, I’m in the middle of cleaning, everything is a mess, and if I stop I’ll never get finished.”

“Oh, we don’t mind a little mess! They’ve been so good while I shopped and they really need to run around and get their energy out. And they’re getting hungry–”

“Nope, can’t do it. Why don’t you go to McDonalds? There one just two miles from here. And then take them to a park or something.”

She stared at me incredulously. “I can’t believe you don’t want to see my children!”

“Sorry, it’s just impossible right now. Another time. Goodbye.”

“But they need to use the bathroom!”

“McDonald’s have bathrooms.” And I shut the door in her face.

Okay, pretty rude. But so is simply ‘dropping in’ on people. Other people have lives too, you know? I bet very few people are ready to feed and entertain guests at every random moment every random day. They may have plans, they may be sick, they might be fighting deadlines, they may be busy with a million other things. Phones were invented for a reason!

I agree completely. Our house is almost always photo shoot ready, but we’re not. You drop in without warning and you’re very possibly going to catch us naked in the hot tub or doing other things you won’t want to see.

Only the UPS driver gets a pass. Otherwise, everyone in our lives knows to call first, preferably a day or two ahead of time.

Good for you.

I notice your niece carefully edited your reasons in her mind to leave out “I’m too busy” and “if I stop I’ll never get finished” and only partly answered “everything is a mess.” It would be interesting to hear how she retails this story to the rest of the family afterwards.

I don’t blame you for your reaction; had I been in your shoes, I probably would have let the kids use the bathroom, but then sent them packing.

And, frankly, I think most Americans, today, would agree with you.

That said, it’s a significant cultural change from where things were when I was a kid, 50 or so years ago. Back then, having friends or relatives drop by unannounced was not uncommon at all, and not necessarily seen as rude. Cell phones and personal computers weren’t a thing, and if you were in the neighborhood, “dropping in” was certainly a thing that people did, and were expected to do – though there’s a difference between a short social visit, and expecting to be entertained for several hours.

Definitely a cultural thing. In the small town near Rio de Janeiro where my wife’s family lives this is absolutely normal behavior: just pop on by whenever.
In New Jersey, not so much.

I probably would have let everyone use the bathroom but firmly explained that I wasn’t able to have guests.

If it were family visiting on a road trip from five states away, I would probably cave and let them in, grumbling and thinking dark thoughts, but at the end of the day I would be happier for it. Getting over that hump of being upset with the faux-pas would be a challenge.

Why is it that there are people who can’t understand this?!

My goodness. Someone trying this line on me wouldn’t be able to keep a straight face.

I agree 1000%.

I would have done the same - but I think the niece’s rudeness was not in dropping by but rather in not accepting “I’m too busy” . It might be because I live in a city and people knock on my door for all sorts of reasons , including that they happened to walk past my house on their way to the supermarket * but I don’t think it’s rude to just knock on the door. To expect to be invited in and/or for lunch is another story - the only thing I’m expected to do if a friend or relative knocks on the door is chat on the porch for a few minutes.

* and it would literally be walking past my block at least, not “we were in the car and a couple of miles away”

We all know you’d just roll with it.

True, that is how I do with shit that happens. :slight_smile:

That’s definitely the bigger issue, of not being able/willing to accept the fact that it wasn’t a good time for any visit, much less a lengthy one.

Relevant bit, 5 mins. “Sang-ka” lol.

I sort of agree with this. When I lived in Micronesia years ago, we didn’t have phones. So it was considered totally normal and acceptable to just drop by someone’s house without warning. But it was also normal and acceptable to say “oh, sorry, I’m don’t have time for a visit right now, I’m in the middle of something.” No one’s feelings were hurt if they were turned away.

The difference here is that we now all have cell phones, so there is an alternative to just dropping by. StarvingButStrong’s niece should have called first, even if she just pulled to the side of the road a block away to make the call.

I admire Starving’s resoluteness in the face of such boorishness. As well as their energy for housecleaning!

Now I can’t but help think that if you were not in the middle of a major clean up that you would have welcomed them for being thoughtful enough to think of you. But I do get it, just the wrong time and your reaction was perfectly fine.

Maybe another way to handle would have been to exclaim that god had sent them over to your house to help and that now you could do an even more in depth cleaning! You could have handed the kids toothbrushes and directed them to the bathroom tiles. Wonder how long they would have stuck around?

My thought too, wait come back I have dust rags for the littles and I need mommas help moving furniture. But before we get into it go to McDonald’s feed the kids bring me back #1. See ya bye

If my doorbell rings everyone freaks out! The cats run and hide and I peek thru the blinds wondering who the hell is it? No one I know that’s for sure.

This made me LOL! :joy:

Good for you having the courage to say no. I am trying to get better at it, as a recovering pushover.

Conversely, just because someone is knocking doesn’t mean you have to answer the door. Worked for me for 25 years.

Yes, but at least it’s rare. That’s what makes the niece’s behavior so strange, everyone these days knows what the rules are.

Yes, it was the 1970’s knocking on your door. Everyone has a cell phone now and knows to at least text before showing up somewhere. I’ll stop down the street and text before I just go up and knock.