Ever have anyone show up unforgivably early?

It’s just as rude to be early for a visit as it is to be late, IMO. People aren’t ready for you. The food’s not ready, they may still be redding up the house, they may still be in their grubbies, and they may not be in the right place socially to deal with their guests. So if you’re early, go to the mall or something. (Except I know some people who did just that, and then got lost trying to find their way back to the house!)

But it seems that every flavor of rudeness has been visited on at least one Doper at one time or another. So have you ever been ambushed by guests? How unprepared were you, how did you react, and how did they react to your reaction?

Yeah, but if you show up on time, the bacon’s already in the stuffing instead of on the counter where it can be discreetly swiped.

Show up early at my place grab a drink, sit your ass down and entertain yourself. Or, get your ass in the kitchen and help.

I don’t entertain formally much.

My new boyfriend is a chronically early person. It took me a while to convey to him my strong need for him to be “on time”, and not early. I do not like for people to be early. If I know that I have until such and such time to get ready, then I need that time. He got better for a while, but lately he’s become so comfortable here that he thinks he can come early again. Gonna need another talking to.
However, for family I can bend the rule. Family should be welcome at each other’s homes at any time, is how I feel about that.

I turned up hours early for a friend’s birthday lunch. Stupid too, I don’t know what I was thinking…who serves lunch at 11a.m. His wife just made me help with all the preparations.

I also turned up a week early for a Chris Isaak concert having arranged babysitting and all. So we picked up the tickets for next week at the box office and went out for dinner. Next week when we turned up for the concert Isaak had flown home due to terrible throat infection.

If you want him by 7:00, just tell him to arrive at 7:20.

We don’t care when anybody shows up. What does “being ready” mean anyway? If they want to sit around on the couch and watch me run around in a towel or wait for me to make a salad, that’s no skin off my nose. It may not be all that entertaining for them, but what do I care?

I need to feel free to run around in my bra, put on my makeup in stages if I want, sing along and dance to loud music, and get some alone time in while I can- I do enjoy my alone time. And also I need to be emotionally ready for transitions- I’m a planner and scheduler because that’s what makes me feel comfortable. People showing up early mess with the whole getting ready process.

What is this “alone” time you speak of? I have a wife and two kids. I live in chaos, so there’s really no point in trying to schedule or plan anything. We just tell people to show up whenever the hell they feel like it. We have no shot at all to stick to any kind of schedule. Plus I think trying to plan things takes the fun out of it.

Also, I have no problem with people seeing me in my underwear. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to look.

You are my hero Diogenes the Cynic

Well, it was a problem once for my cousin T. and his wife E. when people showed up early for an event they were having catered. They themselves would not have minded the guests being there in theory, but suddenly there was a car in the driveway in such a position that the caterers had a hard time getting stuff from the truck. And T had to be directing the caterers, which hindered his ability to play host. And E needed to do a full valve-and-ring job on her hair and makeup, so she couldn’t pick up his slack.

And under other circumstances, what Alice said.

Surely you like SOME degree of privacy? You wouldn’t want people just showing up in your home whenever, would you?

Maybe I’m weird, but our house is our sanctuary. It’s a place for my family to be by ourselves. Beinmg with my wife and my kid is not the same as being with anyone else. Its not Jerry’s apartment where people come and go like a convenience store. If I tell someone the event’s at 6 I don’t want them coming at 5 when someone might not be dressed.

Our worst person for that is my father in law, who is a nice but sometimes remarkably thoughtless man, in a clueless sort of way. He could show up three hours early or he could show up three hours late; you never know with him, and the truth is he doesn’t know either.

I am like you. Before a big event the music is blaring and I am in frantic pull-it-all-together mode. I was caught once by an early guest, coming an hour early. He was more embarrassed than I. I was in sweats, pony tail, no make up yet. He had never seen that side of me. My husband was out getting ice, so I felt bad he had to sit with his drink out on the deck by himself. He was more that willing to help, but I am a planner and just had to finish the last things myself.

So now I schedule my party preparations to end earlier. I invite a few girlfriends over an hour before the big event. When they arrive, I have everything ready. They will do one last check through the house, remind me to light the bathroom candles, put out the guest towels, double check the TP availabity, etc. So if someone is 45 minutes early now, they just have to listen to the girls gab while we have a glass of wine and walk through the house.

But usually no one comes that early, and I enjoy a chance to talk with my best girlfriends, knowing that for the rest of the evening I will likely spend more time with the people I don’t see as often, and won’t have to feel bad I didn’t spend as much time with my girls.

The most I would be for someone else’s party is 5 minutes early. Anything more than that my husband and I will tour the neighborhood, and as mentioned, often get lost and end up being a little late.

My biggest problem is how family is always late or early. I don’t mind either as much, as long as it’s one or the other. Yesterady, we had a family dinner. My mother told me and both of my sisters to be there around 1 or 2. We showed up and she explained she told us to be there early because she thought we’d show up an hour or two late. She also told my aunt and cousins to be there at 5, assuming they would come early. They showed up at 5. So we had been there eating dinner since 4 and had sat around talking, when we were ready to leave at 7-ish, the rest of my family had just gotten there and finished eating.

This is of course simply bad organizing. It doesn’t help that I’m 4 hours away, my sis’s are 2 hours away, and the aunt(s) and 45 minutes or so away from where we ate. We worked it out so that next year, it should be a little easier.

I don’t mind if people show up early to my house. I actually kind of like it, since I’m usually here by myself and pretty bored. I do mind if it is constant - as in someone shows up early every day and earlier each time. Once in a while is ok, but yeah. I try not to be early for anything, more than 15-20 minutes…


I once had somebody drop off their kid an hour and a half early for a birthday party because they read my address (1130) instead of the actual time (1:00). They dropped him off, expressed surprise that he was early, and said they’d be back to pick him up at 3:30 and off they went.

Of course we were nowhere near ready but the birthday boy was ready for a playmate anytime so it all worked out. By the time the other kid’s parents picked him up they had pondered my reaction to their arrival, reread the invitation, and realized their mistake, so they showed up with apologies and wine and we all sat around drinking it until it was gone so things worked out okay.

It’s about boundaries and respect.

I blame the Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey. When will it be done? Same size bird, completely thawed, roasted the same way, in the same oven, at the same temperature – but it might be done in 6 hours, or 10, or 8.

If we cooks knew even approximately when the bird would be ready, we’d know what time people should arrive.

I don’t mind people arriving early for a cookout, or a Super Bowl party, but if they’re early for a big holiday dinner, I’m in a pickle.

Show up early if you want, I will either turn you into a galley slave or expect you to entertain yourself…

What gets me, is when I do a formal meal, many of my dishes are “Presentation” Style dishes (Think Sizzling Rice, Flambeux, Cherries Jubilee and other “Ohh and Ahh” type dishes)… Most of these require extremely tight timing

One in law always phoned at about 5 minutes to meal time and says “Hold things, I am running late!”. Last time (with agreement from wife) I simply said. “We can’t hold things, 6 hours of cooking and $100 worth of food are ready to serve in 5 minutes. We have set a place for you , but we have to start now See you when you get here!”

His reaction was “Ok… but I do so enjoy the way you set up your meals!”

I said (gently) "So does everyone else, and the meal was set for 7 pm, and I cooked it all to be ready for then. some of this stuff needs to be served on time, or it flops. "

He was “OK” with that, and next time actually showed up 15 minutes early.



They showed up an hour early, when we were running late anyway.
Greeted them with wet hair.
Had to reassure them for ten precious minutes that there was no way to help, but they should just relax and find a drink in the fridge.
Then was just late enough that had to call down to them to greet the next guests.

You can not invite my Mother-in-law to eat a meal with you, unless you make sure she understands exactly what time to be there. She has rules about what time certain meals should be eaten, and bygod she’s not going to deviate from those rules.

Lunch = anytime between 10 a.m. - noon

Supper = anytime between 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Dinner = same as lunch on holidays and Sundays.

It took me awhile to realize when I would invite her for “dinner”, she thought I meant the noon meal. I thought she was just showing up hours in advance, to be sneaky.