Uninvited guests

modgirl

Senior Member
USA English, French, Russian
How does your country, socially, look upon the idea of people (that you don't know particularly well) just "dropping by"?

I had absolutely no plans to go out today, so I'm dressed in rags, really. My hair is unwashed. I was in the middle of doing laundry and eating supper when the doorbell rang. Needless to say, I had unexpected guests. These weren't good friends, but acquaintances.

I tried to be as nice as I could -- my warmed-up supper that just had two bites is now trash. However, I did excuse myself when the buzzer on the clothes dryer buzzed. If I didn't hang up a few things, they would be horribly wrinkled.

However, although the people were generally nice in personality, I felt their behavior was exceedingly rude. I was not expecting company (and almost didn't answer the door, but unfortunately, it was quite apparent that I was home) and did not appreciate the pressure to invite them in. If they were just riding bikes and really needed a drink of water or to use the restroom, that would be totally different. However, they just wanted to "chat."

I think that, very generally, in the United States, unless you know for a fact that someone doesn't mind you dropping by unexpectedly, it's considered rude to do so. Of course, not everyone feels the same way, but as a general rule, I think it's probably fair to say that.

I'm just curious what the "drop-by" custom is for other countries.
 
  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Originally posted by Modgirl
    I think that, very generally, in the United States, unless you know for a fact that someone doesn't mind you dropping by unexpectedly, it's considered rude to do so. Of course, not everyone feels the same way, but as a general rule, I think it's probably fair to say that.
    I know I don't qualify as being from another country;), but I couldn't agree with you more. And to think, I thought it was just a pet peeve of mine!

    "Unexpected" guests are intrusive. You have your day set out, and even if you have nothing planned (which is arguably a "plan" in itself), it is an invasion disruption of your personal time and space. My father has finally learned his lesson, after two attempts at unannounced "drop-bys." Both times he brought out of town guests by to see the new condo I had purchased. Why he felt this appropriate, I don't know, but he did.

    The first time I was at least dressed and the house was in reasonable condition. The second time, I was in the middle of painting walls in a bathroom, had not bathed all day :eek: (I was painting afterall), was not wearing "appropriate" undergarments :eek::eek: (read: without bra), and was covered in paint! In addition, the house was a disaster. I hid out in the shower while my husband took care of the obligitory niceties and greeted our "guests."

    When I lived in France several years ago, it seemed as if this practice was generally more acceptable. Not only would we have "drop by" guests at certain times in the afternoon (usually 4 or 5), but I would accompany others on these "drop by" visits. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone, but to the natives there, it seemed a part of normal society.
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    In Brazil, in general, guests are always welcomed. Yes, things are changing
    in big cities: everybody works out, studies at night, etc., so nobody has
    time to visit -even friends- each other.
    Aside that, in small towns, mainly in my state and the northeast states, people usually visit friends, acquaintances, etc. We always invite them to have lunch or dinner with the family. In these small towns nobody is used to call in advance or expects for a formal invitation. We don't see that as rude, on the contrary,we enjoy receiving both friends and acquaitances, even strangers - although with the increasing of violence everywhere - this tends to disappear too.
    I have lived and visited many small towns in my state and I still recall
    people inviting me to taste homemade sweeties, in some cases, lunch or dinner, to pick up fruit from trees that everybody has in these places in abundance. Oh how do I miss these idyllic places living nowadays in
    a big and violent city!
    When I was a teenage and my parents used to receive American guests
    I used to admire their social habits- expect for an invitation, etc- as they told us, because that was unthinkable for me in that time. I didn't know anything about the culture !
    And , of course they also thougth it weird when , at the moment they arrived at our house , after offering coffee (sacred) and treats, we asked them if they would like to have a shower (one American woman was mad at a friend of ours because of that). The reason for us is that after arriving in a place we have travelled to , we are eager for a shower - this a tropical country and many cities are too damp , the trips are always hot (buses , long hours inside them) , so having a shower is a special treat (don't know if this term : treat
    is correct in this context) !
    Nowadays, I think, after cable TV and internet, people are more aware of these differences and tend not to take offence on those different behaviors
    of people abroad!
     

    VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    Sorry to add to the pile of American opinions, but I, too, agree. I find unexpected guests a disruption. What if I were busy? (And, I usually am.)
    What if I were in the middle of something? What if I just weren't in the mood? What if I had wanted to clean up a little before having visitors? I expect a call first, or previous plans.

    What more can I say? I agree completely with the two of you.

    I'd really like to know if this is true of other cultures, or if we just sound like a bunch of harsh gringas.
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Vanda, your post is lovely and most refreshing.:thumbsup:
    Your childhood must have been great!

    I don't mind unexpected guests - if they are people I like, naturally. If I'm too busy, I just say so, I find it very simple. :)

    In France, I think that generally we're not as formal as Americans seem to be - and not quite as relaxed as Brazilians; although in the South of France you can sometimes find the same type of laid back behavior.

    But to be quite truthful I'm not certain it depends only on the country, but also on the social background. I think dropping by is seen as more acceptable among the proletariat than among the middle classes.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Hello Vanda, what a very intriguing post you wrote! I think the shower incident is a great example of why we shouldn't automatically jump to the wrong conclusions when we don't understand the motives. The reasoning for offering a shower is very noble and a great gesture, actually. However, since not everyone is used to the idea of someone asking us if we'd like to take a shower, it could be easily misinterpreted as meaning that someone thinks that we're so dirty and stinky that others can't stand to be around us!

    Vanda said:
    so having a shower is a special treat (don't know if this term : treat is correct in this context) !
    It sure is; that's exactly what I'd say.


    I must admit that it sounds hospitable to welcome unexpected people in your home. However, many women have various "beauty" routines that are not attractive for spectators: special "masks" on their faces, applying hot oil treatments to the hair and wearing a shower cap to hold in the heat, and so forth. What happens if you just really are not dressed to receive visitors?
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    egueule said:
    If I'm too busy, I just say so, I find it very simple. :)
    One thing I love about Europeans is that, very generally, they aren't afraid to just say what's on their minds! (Yes, writing on an internet forum is very easy to just "spill"; yet in person, especially at your own front door, is another matter entirely, to many)
     

    rob.returns

    Senior Member
    Philippines-English, tagalog, spanish, chavacano, tausog, visaya, ilonggo.
    I don't know if its true. But my trainor in our workplace who is an American, told me that Americans doesn't trust anyone. This is not my opinion but an opinion of an American.
    She told me that she was shocked how hospitable Filipinos are. In their place they would call it intrusion but in our place, we find it as thoughtfulness.
    OH and the concerns about dresses when you have visitors...a little fixing wouldn't hurt.
    We have close family ties here and close friends as well in our country. I think we are hospitable because of the idea that: If you have a problem, who would you turn to? It would be families and friends.
    So its not a big deal if they pay us a visit? They would not live in our house permanently.
    It all comes down to culture.

    Thanks
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    rob.returns said:
    I don't know if its true. But my trainor in our workplace who is an American, told me that Americans doesn't trust anyone. This is not my opinion but an opinion of an American.
    My opinion is that one person cannot begin to speak for millions and millions of Americans. And, I tend not to trust those who do! It's very true that some Americans probably don't trust anyone. However, it's been my experience (and really, that's all each of us has) is that, as a general rule, Americans are probably more trusting than others in many countries. Quite frankly, that's why Americans are generally a great target for pickpocketing in Europe.

    It's also important to realize that the United States is a rather large country. People living in NYC are most likely going to lead very different lives than someone living on a ranch in Montana!

    She told me that she was shocked how hospitable Filipinos are.
    It sounds like this woman has had some very bad experiences in the US. That's quite unfortunate, but she shouldn't make assumptions on an entire country because of that. I live in the midwest, and actually, people tend to be a little "too" trusting for their own good.

    OH and the concerns about dresses when you have visitors...a little fixing wouldn't hurt.
    I'm not sure what you mean. If I'm home alone and am not expecting visitors, why should I dress up if I'm going to clean the house?

    We have close family ties here and close friends as well in our country. I think we are hospitable because of the idea that: If you have a problem, who would you turn to? It would be families and friends.
    So its not a big deal if they pay us a visit? They would not live in our house permanently.
    I hope you don't think that I'm suggesting that we should not turn to family and friends! I am speaking only about stopping by unexpectedly, especially when it might be very inconvenient for them. And, especially if you don't know the person very well. Obviously, if there is a crisis or problem, that's very different. I'm just speaking about a social visit.

    Part of etiquette is making the other person feel comfortable. If I stopped by someone's house and I interrupted something or it was apparent that the person had other plans, I would feel rather bad that I had intruded upon his time.
     

    SweetMommaSue

    Senior Member
    USA
    USA/American English
    I'm from the Philadelphia area, and I agree that we were raised to believe that you do not just drop in on folks--you warn them (oops-I mean check with them to see if it's convenient :D).

    I, myself, don't have a big problem with people dropping in on me. If I am unable to host them in my home, I just let them know what the situation is: going out as previously planned (and can't reschedule-so how about we get together at another time. . .;)), or hey, you're welcome in, but I'm in the middle of doing this project, so sorry for my current appearance (or they can come back the next week when the project's completed. . .:p). I guess I'm pretty much to the point.

    My friend from Calcutta, however, shared some really fun stories with me and a bunch of our neighbors regarding how she missed having all of her friends and family just dropping by unannounced (like they did while she was visiting back in India). So, I do agree with all who have stated that it is a cultural thing.

    I have to wonder, though, if it's all Americans or maybe Northern Americans as I have often heard stories about "southern hospitality". Perhaps someone could expand upon that? Doesn't "southern hospitality" refer to the way that Southern Americans greet all who come to their doorstep with grace and food? And maybe our country's divided East/West Coast as well??

    Sweet Momma Sue
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hi Modgirl....

    Where to begin.....? First, you did a healthy thing by venting here. Under the circumstances, I too would have been a little provoked. However.....

    I have an open door policy. When I meet people who seem interesting, I tell them how to spot my house, and say, "stop by to pick blackberries" or "come see the daylilies.' Some do just that.

    If I'm not terribly busy, I offer coffee, tea, homemade sun tea or lemonade, and a snack or meal. If I'm in the middle of something and cannot give them much attention, I say so, but invite them to sit on the rocking chairs on the front porch and enjoy the view of the waterfall in the river. It's easy to offer a plate of fruit and cheese, and then excuse myself. Of course that's not much fun in winter.;)

    At this time of year they often find me wearing very little, and sometimes smelling like a man who has been hauling horse manure and digging or chopping wood. That is a risk of visiting a gardener unannounced. It's not a problem for me, and if they don't like the smells of nature, they don't have to stay long.

    If they are just casual acquaintences, and have not received a blanket invitation to stop by any time, I would find the visit somewhere between interesting and welcome, and an intrusive bother, depending on my mood and workload.

    I really like Egueul's approach: If it's a bad time, just say so, and if that's going to be a source of tension or displeasure, let those belong to the visitors.

    Vanda's delightful description of customs 'no nordeste do Brasil' was a joy to read. It brought back memories of life in small towns in northern Spain, as well as my own village.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    The proliferation of cell phones, ever-tinier cellphones, has all but removed the problem in my experience (even in Europe, where it's not as frowned upon). I've dreaded the pop-in, but now even modgirl's cycling friends needing a watering hole should be able to call from the road, so you can choose your reaction:
    1. do not answer, they'll conclude you're not home before they're close enough to see evidence to the contrary,
    2. give a tenable excuse, or
    3. have time to wash the masks and lotions off, make some tea and enjoy some company.
     

    rob.returns

    Senior Member
    Philippines-English, tagalog, spanish, chavacano, tausog, visaya, ilonggo.
    MODGirl, She's not saying that Americans are ALL rude. But she was referring to comparison between the two cultures. She's not that negative when it comes to her character modgirl. Yah I do agree with you that Uncle Sam is a big country. But most of my friends who are Americans(I was in a Protestant American school, way back in college, and a lot of American classmates from different states), tells me that Asian countries are more hospitable. And they find a lot of smiles here. Even other foreigners would say that.


    I think it would be the factor that Americans are livin life in the fast lane. Don't get me wrong. Its just the culture differences that Oriental countries and the west that makes it what it is.

    About the dressing up, I mean dressing up if your visitors are there already. It would not take a lot of time. Right?

    And the last part would be:
    "Obviously, if there is a crisis or problem, that's very different. I'm just speaking about a social visit."

    Exactly Modgirl, in our country we visit somebody even if we have no crisis. It's not a big deal here. If somebody visits our house. We prepare food for them.(literally prepare food for them). and Welcome them. Unexpected visit is not seen as a bad stuff here.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    rob.returns said:
    MODGirl, She's not saying that Americans are ALL rude. But she was referring to comparison between the two cultures.
    Oh, okay. I was just reacting to your statement, "But my trainor in our workplace who is an American, told me that Americans don't trust anyone." Comparing the two cultures is different, and it does look like many from the Philippines are more trusting.

    I think it would be the factor that Americans are livin life in the fast lane.
    To a certain degree, that's very true. However, I'd also say that there is a remarkable difference between rural areas and urban ones.

    cuchuflete said:
    At this time of year they often find me wearing very little, and sometimes smelling like a man...
    Aha! Mystery solved. ;)

    cuchuflete said:
    I really like Egueul's approach: If it's a bad time, just say so, and if that's going to be a source of tension or displeasure, let those belong to the visitors.
    I think that's where a lot of us have problems. Yes, I know I can be rather aggressive on the forum :eek: ! But I think you might be rather shocked to meet me in person. I'm not particularly shy, but I find it difficult to be so forthright, even in a nice way. Yet, that seems to be the answer. Even after two (!) hours I could see that they really had no intentions of leaving on their own, so I finally said, "Well, I really hope you'll excuse me. I've got a few things that I really must finish tonight." And they got the hint (it wasn't hard to miss!) and said, "Oh, well, we need to leave here soon, too." Actually, I tend to have more respect for people who stand up for themselves but do so in a polite fashion. How to be assertive and polite at the same time can sometimes be like walking a tightrope!

    Question: What do you do when an uninvited guest stops by and you're just starting to eat supper? The obvious answer is to offer them some, as well, or prepare something for them to eat. However, I was eating leftovers (with none to share) and quite honestly didn't have anything to offer them. (I desperately need to get groceries tomorrow.) Of course, I didn't eat in front of them. Part of the problem, at least for me and probably many others, is that we do like to be hospitable! But, if we aren't expecting visitors, it's much more difficult to do so.

    However, I also consider my house to be a rather private domain. I'm sure that sounds very selfish and mean to some people. But, I also work at home. It's my office. (Obviously, I haven't been working much lately! But I do work in concentrated spurts) I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't like to feel like I must be ready at a moment's notice for entertaining. It's rare that anyone stops by unannounced, but I guess I'll just be a bit more assertive (not aggressive) and state if it really isn't a good time.

    Ah well, thanks for all your "ears!"
     

    Merlin

    Senior Member
    Philippines - Tagalog/English
    Here in the Philippines, it's quite normal for unexpected guests. Especially if you haven't seen each other for a long time. Although sometimes we're really busy and then suddenly someone pops out. It's no big deal if you have someone to help you out with the guests. But the worst part is if you're alone and very busy doing something. They say that Filipinos are hospitable and I say it's true. I think in other countries, it's normal to call first before paying a visit or dropping by. We seldom do it here. Especially if you're super close to the person, you can even do it everyday! But for me I try to notify them first before showing up. They may not be around.
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    cuchuflete said:
    ..
    Vanda's delightful description of customs 'no nordeste do Brasil' was a joy to read. It brought back memories of life in small towns in northern Spain, as well as my own village.
    Cuchu , those customs that I've described are most from my state,
    Minas Gerais in Southeast, a very traditional state. But, people from
    "nordeste" are said to be even more hospitable than us "mineiros" who
    hold this title.
    One friend of mine who lived in "nordeste" in a very small town in Alagoas, told me that no one is expect to knock the door to enter a house( I mean a house from someone you have never been before), you just enter! I was shocked, because even for my informal way of being it sounded weird - I wouldn't have
    the guts to be so bold with unknown people just entering their house! I would
    always knock first!
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Vanda said:
    who lived in "nordeste" in a very small town in Alagoas, told me that no one is expect to knock the door to enter a house( I mean a house from someone you have never been before), you just enter!
    Now, that is scary to me. For a married couple alone with no kids, well, someone could get more than an eyeful if he just entered without knocking! Call me a prude, but that's really pushing the envelope, I think. Private houses are not like businesses where one just walks in. In my humble opinion.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Personally, I do not mind people just dropping by. However, I must admit in this day and age of mobile phones it is very rare that someone does.

    However, I also have no compunction not to open the door if I don't want to (whether or not it is obvious I am in) but generally I would open the door and if it really was inconvenient I would say so (I would also carry on eating my dinner if that was what I was doing when they arrived).

    However, I am also someone who can quite happily ingnore a ringing phone on the argument that if it is important they will either leave a message or ring back later. I know that my mum in particular couldn't bear not to answer a ringing phone. When she has come to visit and I'm talking to her the phone has rung, and I've ignored it. She has said "why don't you answer the phone?!" I reply "because I'm talking to you!". She thinks I'm mad.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    timpeac said:
    She has said "why don't you answer the phone?!" I reply "because I'm talking to you!". She thinks I'm mad.
    I think a person in the flesh (not nude, but you know what I mean!) definitely has priority for attention. It's very frustrating to be at a business or with a friend and be constantly interrupted by someone answering the phone. I really think that many of us allow the phone to be intrusive in our lives, even to the point of being rude to the people who took the time to visit (whether socially or business) personally.

    My thought is that you were being extremely polite to your mom!
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Bravo Tim and Modgirl!

    I do they same. I give the most attention to those with me, rather than the ringing device. If they are 'in the flesh' I suppose I would be even more prone to ignore the phone:D.

    modgirl said:
    I think a person in the flesh (not nude, but you know what I mean!) definitely has priority for attention. It's very frustrating to be at a business or with a friend and be constantly interrupted by someone answering the phone. I really think that many of us allow the phone to be intrusive in our lives, even to the point of being rude to the people who took the time to visit (whether socially or business) personally.

    My thought is that you were being extremely polite to your mom!
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Wow, reading many of these posts made me sit back and wax nostalgic at my childhood and times spent at my grandmother's when we would sit out on the front porch for hours, talk to passing neighbors, invite them in for tea or coffee or some other refreshment. It was a true rocking-chair existence in those days.

    The neighbors, too, would sometimes drop by to bring us freshly-grown produce from their gardens, and we would take time to go "visit" certain neighbors without calling first.

    It harks back a time when life was perhaps simpler, and certainly less cluttered by the "necessary(?)" techno-gadgetry we've surrounded ourselves with today. I think we were able to spend our time in a more leisurely manner, and valued one another as neighbors in our respective communities.

    I think in today's society (US), we are so focused on ourselves and the goings-on in our own lives, we hardly have time to even say hello to a neighbor, much less invite them in for a light refreshment or a meal.

    When people would drop by my apartment in France, it was always a great pleasure. Even though their arrival was sometimes anticipated, it helped us build a greater sense of community and rapport. I treausre those times greatly.

    I would argue this type of life still exists to some extent in smaller towns and communities US where people tend to know one another better, if for no other reason than the size of their towns.

    It rather makes me want to pack it all up and find that road to simplicity myself. It just sounds so civilized. Thank you, modgirl, for bringing this up and letting me, at least for a few moments, take a mental trip back to a place that has been lost to me for a long time. (*sighs*)
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Porch -- both you and cuchuflete used a term I haven't heard for quite awhile! Quite frankly, I didn't realize many houses still had porches. We have a big deck in the back of our house, but no porch in front.

    I think the small town "drop by" is different in many respects to other situations. People seem to be all pretty close, to begin with. I happen to live in the country with my closest neighbor ~3 miles away. Thus, it takes a concentrated effort for someone to visit me.

    Life is definitely different today for most of us than when we grew up. (15 and 16-year-olds on the forum don't count ;) )
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    modgirl said:
    I think a person in the flesh (not nude, but you know what I mean!) definitely has priority for attention. It's very frustrating to be at a business or with a friend and be constantly interrupted by someone answering the phone. I really think that many of us allow the phone to be intrusive in our lives, even to the point of being rude to the people who took the time to visit (whether socially or business) personally.

    My thought is that you were being extremely polite to your mom!
    Thank you:) I must say, I would do that with anyone though.

    Also, I don't answer the phone at my desk if I am talking to someone. I am the only person I know who does (or rather doesn't do) this! In fact, most people look at the display to see who is calling, decide that that person is more important than the person they're talking to and answer it!:D )Glad to know there are some kindred spirits out there trying to free themselves from the noose of the telephone wire!;)
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    timpeac said:
    Thank you:) I must say, I would do that with anyone though.

    Also, I don't answer the phone at my desk if I am talking to someone. I am the only person I know who does (or rather doesn't do) this! In fact, most people look at the display to see who is calling, decide that that person is more important than the person they're talking to and answer it!:D )Glad to know there are some kindred spirits out there trying to free themselves from the noose of the telephone wire!;)
    I do the same. It's the reason I have refused to get "call waiting." Someone gets interrupted either way with that horrible invention. I'm already on the phone, so the second caller gets a busy signal - because I'm busy!! ("What about an emergency?" people always ask. Then the operator can cut into the call... when does that happen - really?!)
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    lsp said:
    I do the same. It's the reason I have refused to get "call waiting." Someone gets interrupted either way with that horrible invention. I'm already on the phone, so the second caller gets a busy signal - because I'm busy!! ("What about an emergency?" people always ask. Then the operator can cut into the call... when does that happen - really?!)
    Ah that bloody intermittent "beep"! LOL We got a new telephone provider about 2 years ago, and it came with "call waiting" automatically. I called them to get it removed and it took forever. They were completely unprepared for the eventuality that someone might not want it. I had conversations along the lines of

    - But why on earth don't you want it
    - I find it intrusive
    - But it might be important!
    - It might well not be, and they can always leave a message.
    - <<stunned silence>> But it's free!
    - I don't want it.
    go back to line one and repeat...

    I was on the line for over an hour being passed around!:D
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Isp and Tim -- wow, you actually place real-live people above telephones? This is a dangerous concept. Imagine what would happen if it catches on....;)

    I could not agree more with call waiting. I absolutely abhore it. For someone like a physician or fire fighter, I very much understand the necessity because lives are at stake, and not only rarely. But, what really is so incredibly important that we have to be rude to the person with whom we're currently speaking?

    I'm sure many won't agree, but when I am speaking with someone and am put on "hold" while the other person answers the other call coming in (not in a business, but socially) -- I hang up. It's no more rude than what is being done to me. Only once did someone ask what happened. I said, "It sounded like you were very busy, so I didn't want to bother you further." Interestingly enough, it never happened again with that person.
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Oh whoopy doo - I'm not the only one who ignores the phone and gets extremely irritated when people interrupt a real person conversation to answer one.
    Hugh sigh of relief. There are very, very few of us around.
    Perhaps in the days when getting through on the phone was a bit of a miracle this would have been acceptable, but not now.
    A few words on drop-ins from another UK resident.
    This used to be quite common - way back in the pre-phone days.
    Back then, I lived in a small seaside/ mountain-foot town and we very often had distant family, friends, friends of friends, "I think my dad knows a cousin of your uncle Tom's" drop by in summer. My mother always made them welcome and a number of them left climbing gear in our garage. Light refreshments were always provided and there was plenty of chat. It seemed to me to be perfectly natural. It was the way things were. It was also the way news of family and friends moved around - much of the conversation was that kind of social update.

    It really doesn't happen at all now. I can't remember the last time we had someone drop in like that - other than fairly close family, who of course are easy to ignore anyway:)
     

    panjandrum

    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Just remembered - we used to have call waiting. I got it after spending half-an-hour on the phone at an airport trying to get through to arrange a pick-up from an earlier flight. But now that even the cat has a mobile phone (cellphone) this is completely unnecessary and they get switched to the voicemail instead.
     

    Vanda

    Moderesa de Beagá
    Português/ Brasil
    panjandrum said:
    Oh whoopy doo - I'm not the only one who ignores the phone and gets extremely irritated when people interrupt a real person conversation to answer one.
    Hugh sigh of relief. There are very, very few of us around.
    QUOTE]

    Thanks God! I'm not alone in this crazy world.
    I don't like people interrupting me to answer mobiles from minute to
    minute and I don't answer the phone when I have someone at home.
    As somebody said above: if it is important , they 'll continue to try to
    reach me!
     

    Inara

    Senior Member
    panjandrum said:
    This used to be quite common - way back in the pre-phone days.
    ... It was also the way news of family and friends moved around - much of the conversation was that kind of social update.

    It really doesn't happen at all now. I can't remember the last time we had someone drop in like that - other than fairly close family, who of course are easy to ignore anyway:)
    "Pre-phone days" or "pre-phone countries" :) We didn't have telephone at home before I was 23 or 24. I have left Baku (the capital of Azerbaijan, not a small town at all:)) at the age of 20. While still living there I used street phone sometimes, maybe 20-25 times in all my life, I almost can recall each time I used it: mostly to call to my mom's office to say I had left the key at home and cann't enter the house or that I had been pickpocketed (5 rubles it was I remember!!!) and cann't get back home from the place where I was. Even now I have to bring up all my courage to make a simple call to whatsoever place to ask whatsoever simple thing...
    My dad's friends just droped by, almost every evening! To play chess and to drive my mom crazy because she had to prepair food out of nothing to be able to feed those visitants. My friends weren't so bothering, she was always glad to prepair us some tea or bring us some apples. If she wasn't dressed apropriatly, she just put on the top of what she had on a sort of nice silk robe she had specially for those occations.
    Neighbours droped by. We lived in a ten-storey building with 6 entrances and three flats on each floor (180 families in total); of course not all of them used to come, but they were many. Many of them used to be my baby-sitters as my mom always worked. So they always had been wellcome and given tea with whatever my mom could find at the spot in the house.
    Here in Barcelona, I really miss it. I always actually say to people I meet that they may come without calling first, that I like unexpected visiters and I would be happy to make them some tea with sweets. Well, there is only one person here who does it actually :) And he is half american-half catalan and not brasilian neither phillipino. My neighbours also visit me all the evenings (they have no problem to retrive if they see I am too busy with the child).
    Buy the way, I never drop by to nobody's house, I am too shy for it and none of my friends here actually said they would be glad if I droped by without calling first. Anyway, I don't mind :)
     
    So much has been said about Filipinos being hospitable and I agree with that. But in my case, I would be expecting to be notified also. And just in case they drop by without prior notice and I am about to leave for an important appointment I would tell them so, or if I'm about to eat some food which might not suffice for us all, I'd tell them as well without offending them.

    In some foreign place, being hospitable goes beyond even extending one's wife. Personally it's not what I have believe in and I do not practice, but I do respect their cultures on dropping by's and being hospitable.

    But if I am free at the time they drop by, I will be offering something and welcome them.
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    GenJen54 said:
    Ummm. Er. Eh.

    Pardon my cultural ingorance here, but does this mean what I think it means?:eek::confused:
    Hi GenJen,

    It absolutely does mean what you think it does. And it raises a fascinating cultural question: Is this always an act of hospitality, or is proferring one's spouse potentially an act of vile vengeance or bellicosity towards the unexpected visitor:D

    Drop by any time so we may discuss this further,
    Cuchu
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    cuchuflete said:
    Hi GenJen,

    It absolutely does mean what you think it does. And it raises a fascinating cultural question: Is this always an act of hospitality, or is proferring one's spouse potentially an act of vile vengeance or bellicosity towards the unexpected visitor:D

    Drop by any time so we may discuss this further,
    Cuchu
    Cuchu that is the second time you have made me laugh out loud tonight. If we don't hear from you again, we'll know your wife was standing behind you when you wrote that and you now have a frying pan wrapped round your head.

    Anyway - back on topic - I just have to express my amazement that that really happens. I'm speechless! Is this an arranged thing - or do people literally just drop by??
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    timpeac said:
    Cuchu that is the second time you have made me laugh out loud tonight. If we don't hear from you again, we'll know your wife was standing behind you when you wrote that and you now have a frying pan wrapped round your head.

    Anyway - back on topic - I just have to express my amazement that that really happens. I'm speechless! Is this an arranged thing - or do people literally just drop by??

    I've heard it was an Eskimo custom. That's historically untrue, at least in the traditional culture. However, in some Eskimo households....

    At the northernmost of his residences, a traditional Eskimo turf house, he slept together with all his host’s family in a single bed, for warmth. The family included a girl of twenty who was eight months pregnant. She claimed not to know who the father was, but “village gossip alleged it was her own father.”
    http://www.newcriterion.com/archive/22/may04/derbys.htm

    Makes me wonder about my choice of a cold weather climate.....
     

    cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    timpeac said:
    Cuchu that is the second time you have made me laugh out loud tonight. If we don't hear from you again, we'll know your wife was standing behind you when you wrote that and you now have a frying pan wrapped round your head.
    Wasn't aware I had one. Please tell me more. I hope she's multi-lingual;)
     

    rob.returns

    Senior Member
    Philippines-English, tagalog, spanish, chavacano, tausog, visaya, ilonggo.
    Hahaha..This looks familiar, Culture difference sets in, then everybodys SHOCKED. Keep on posting guys. Enjoy!
     

    ILT

    Senior Member
    México - Español/Castellano
    Well, in México is it not considered rude to just drop by. Any friend can drop by, and unless I'm finishing a project for which I have a deadline, I drop anything I'm doing. I can resume my work later, and the dishes can wait. Depending on the time of the day, I'll offer something to drink and some lunch or dinner. I live in a big city, and it is still like this, however we drop in less and less every time because of the lack of time and the ever growing distances.

    When I go to my grandparent's house or to my parent's-in-law house, who live in smaller cities, I just know that I have to be somewhat presentable (fully dressed) at all times as one never knows when someone is going to drop by. In fact, I still do what my grandma does, I have a special shelf in my pantry with goodies to snack when someone drops by: crackers, oysters, pâté, chips or whatever (depending on the pocekt $). Sometimes I prepare cookie dough in advance and then freeze it, when company arrives, I just place a few cookies in the electric oven and they're ready at the same time the coffee is! I can't help it, we Mexicans like being hospitable, and I have great lead to follow.

    We also follow Egueule's tip: if we are just going out, we tell them, and believe me, no uninvited guest will feel offended ;). Once we dropped in with some friends who were painting, we stayed, I cooked while my husband helped them paint. We had a great time, and it wasn't planned!!!
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    I love translating said:
    Sometimes I prepare cookie dough in advance and then freeze it, when company arrives, I just place a few cookies in the electric oven and they're ready at the same time the coffee is!
    Well now, if they're chocolate chip, I just may "happen" to be in your neighborhood real soon! ;)
     

    rob.returns

    Senior Member
    Philippines-English, tagalog, spanish, chavacano, tausog, visaya, ilonggo.
    I love translating said:
    We had a great time, and it wasn't planned!!!
    YOU hIT tHE TARGET buddy! We will not know if something unexpected could be something so good. Si esa no mal, no tiene ni miedo sino acceptamos las visitas.
     

    Josesita

    Member
    Argentina Spanish- English
    I enjoyed reading your posts, it was really interesting for me (good way to know some other cultures)
    I think I cannot talk for all the people in my country or state. I think it depends on your activities, things you do, your routine. I really don't like receiving unexpected visitors and usually tell my friends to please call before coming to my house.
    I spent most of my time working.. sometimes I'm just not in the right mood to receive guests.. but sometimes a friend coming is like fresh air in a busy day.
    I lived most of my life in a small city in Argentina, not locking the doors.. neighbors are best friends.. relatives live really close.. in fact everything is really close from your house and it was a kind of "normal" if someone would drop by. But I was young, I didn't care if I was wearing my pyjamas..
    Now, times are different.. I live in another country in a larger city and I do care of the way I look all the time.. :) I changed and I usually ask my friends to call me before coming cause I think it would be rude (for south american culture) just to be at home and not opening the door to a friend. It would make me feel bad, although it wouldn't be my fault.
    just another point of view
     

    Papalote

    Senior Member
    Spanish, English, French
    Hi, everyone!

    I've been enjoying all your comments that I could'nt help myself but to participate in the debate.:)

    I come from a multicultural background and have also lived amongst different cultures/countries, and have come to the conclusion that manners is very culturally-biased. I now live in Montreal, and am married to an English-Canadian. In the 25 years I have been married, not once have I hugged or kissed any of my husband's relatives, and they now span 4 generations. Whereas my French-Canadian and Latino friends will give me a resounding kiss and a bear hug whenever we meet. My in-laws will phone at least 10 days in advance to extend an invitation (I don't know what I'll be dong 10 days from now!) and my Latino friends now know that they have to phone at least half an hour in advance before they drop in. This we all still find very awkward and strange but we do it to accommodate my husband. When my sister-in-law arrives at my house, she'll tell me at what time they expect to be leaving, and although she has somewhat improved, she'll stay at least half an hour past her due time, she's got her coat and boots on before I've had time to finish brewing the coffee. On the other hand, my latino friends and I will take sometimes up to 45 minutes saying goodbye as we walk to the front door. Well, there's always something we forgot to talk about or to arrange for the following week ! Jokingly, my husband points out that "Us English never say goodbye but we leave. You, Latinos, will say goobye but never leave!;)

    There are other subtle differences that one learns "on the go". When I was studying at the American University in Mexico, I was living with a Mexican family. One time, I was invited to go along to their cousin's house for the main meal. Well, in France, the custom is to bring something with you, either flowers for the lady of the house, or a bottle of wine or a cake for all to share. Not thinking (yep, that's my excuse) I bought a delicious and very expensive (for someone on a student's allowance) chocolate cake. The lady of the house greeted me very correctly and treated me with extreme courtesy throughout the evening, which felt very strange as she was very friendly and warm towards everyone else. It wasn't until desert time that, as my cake was being served, I heard the grandmother ask who had baked the cake and when she was told I had brought it, she asked in a very loud and carrying voice: "Why? Was she afraid we would not have enough to eat?" . Another time, having learnt my lesson, I brought flowers for the lady of the house. Unfortunately, I'd forgotten it was "Dia de muertos" (a Roman Catholic religious festivity for the dead) Needless to say, they very kindly accompanied me to the cementery to deposit my flowers at the family crypt.

    Culture has proven for me to be an occasion for laughter. Enjoy the difference, I say, eh?

    Goodnight.

    Papalote
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    Papalote said:
    I've been enjoying all your comments that I could'nt help myself but to participate in the debate.:)
    Good! I love reading all these comments, too. Yours are wonderful!

    I think it is very important to realize that what one cultures accepts as very normal and even preferable etiquette, another may not. So, we need to be aware on both sides. In other words, if someone from another culture commits a faux pas, we need to understand that it's not necessary an insult or meant to be rude at all. On the other hand, we need to try and be aware of other culture's customs so we don't commit those faux pas ourselves.

    I actually have a similar story to your chocolate cake. I was once at a friend's house (there were probably a dozen of us all together) and the host had purchased all the ingredients to make homemade ice cream (yum!). Personally, I was looking forward to it very much. Then, someone brought a carton of some generic, store-bought ice cream and announced that he "thought" he would bring dessert. The host didn't want the guest to feel bad, so we all ate the carton of (not so great-tasting) ice cream. Although I wasn't the one who brought the ice cream, it was a valuable lesson to everyone: it should be very apparent that consumable gifts are meant to be enjoyed later by the hosts. Otherwise, you might interfere with the host's plans!
     

    swift_precision

    Senior Member
    US/English
    timpeac said:
    However, I am also someone who can quite happily ingnore a ringing phone on the argument that if it is important they will either leave a message or ring back later. I know that my mum in particular couldn't bear not to answer a ringing phone. When she has come to visit and I'm talking to her the phone has rung, and I've ignored it. She has said "why don't you answer the phone?!" I reply "because I'm talking to you!". She thinks I'm mad.
    hahah I liked this one. I avoid having to pick up a ringing phone by having Caller ID. For those of you who don't have it, let me tell you it has been MORE than useful in filtering unwanted calls. What it is essentially is a device that displays the name and number of the caller after about the second ring. In the case of silly credit card companies or other telemarketers it has proved more than useful in that eventhough these companies typically try to "block" their numbers you will know that it is they that are calling because an "unavailable" message will appear.

    With regards to the general commentary made about unexpected visitors, one has to consider several factors one being personal experience, another being region as it pertains to urban and rural environments. I disagree with the comment that stated "americans are too trusting especially in the midwest" or something along those lines. I am from the midwest area (Detroit area) and I can assure you that, personally speaking, I really don't trust anyone besides people I know. As stated before in a previous post, if I know them and they are uninvited and I am currently busy at the time I will either not answer the door or answer and tell them my current situation.

    One clear disadvantage I see to "dropping by" without notifying the intended party beforehand is the possibilty of them not being home. What if you traveled a long distance and decided to "drop by" only to find out that those you whom you wish to visit are currently not available? You have wasted your time and (possibly gas) by making the trip. Of course if those things are not an issue then you would have no concern in regards to that matter. As stated previously, these things vary from culture to culture.
     
    GenJen54 said:
    Ummm. Er. Eh.
    Pardon my cultural ingorance here, but does this mean what I think it means?
    As Cuchu had also already said, it really means what you think it means.

    If memory serves me right, I have read about this way, way back before and this usually are traditions of people from Asia and from Africa. I cannot remember the exact country but I know that in some parts of India, this is still a practice. The husband of the house will let his wife sleep with the male visitors - as part of their being hospitable. (I have not heard that this is done by the Eskimos, hmmmm, interesting).

    :warn: I believe that several Filipinos have already stated that we are rather warm with uninvited guests, and that is very true - and we are, hmmm, proud of the custom. :D I am most happy to receive visitors, especially now that I don't get much of a contact with friends and families. Me and my housemates almost always makes it sure that we have stocks of goodies in our apartment to serve to them. I am always up to chatting.

    Still, there are times when you are really just not in the mood to entertain people - especially nosey neighbors. In that case I just tell them that I am too tired and still has something to finish, which is, of course, the truth.
     

    modgirl

    Senior Member
    USA English, French, Russian
    swift_precision said:
    I disagree with the comment that stated "americans are too trusting especially in the midwest" or something along those lines. I am from the midwest area (Detroit area) and I can assure you that, personally speaking, I really don't trust anyone besides people I know
    Quite frankly, I think the Detroit area is not exactly what most of us think of when we hear the word "midwest!" I've visited Detroit 3 or 4 times, and it's entirely different from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and so forth.
     

    swift_precision

    Senior Member
    US/English
    modgirl said:
    Quite frankly, I think the Detroit area is not exactly what most of us think of when we hear the word "midwest!" I've visited Detroit 3 or 4 times, and it's entirely different from Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, and so forth.
    I see your point but whether or not you think of it has being in the midwest or not Michigan, which includes both the upper and lower peninsula, is part of the midwest just as Missouri , Ohio, and Illinois are also part of that region.


    Swift
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I remember a point in my life when unexpected guests were a bother to me. I always wanted my house to be clean and my appearance to be acceptable (to whom?, I now ask). But, as I have grown out of this stage, I have come to the realization that what I or my house look like to another person doesn't matter a bit to the person who is dropping by. They want to see me, not what condition I'm in, or my house.
    To me, an uninvited guest is someone who is selling me a vacuum cleaner, a religion I don't want, or pest control. Those people are invading my privacy, not my friends and loved ones. We are all on this earth for such a short time, why in the world would I send away or be rude to people who want to see me?
     

    La Geny

    Member
    philippines,filipino,english,a little spanish,little japanese,nippongo
    in the philippines,its ok even if you drop by unexpectedly,people dont mind since Filipino's are generally hospitable.in my family we dont mind as well as long as we dont have any plans in going out that day.but if we do and it was scheduled we would entertain the guest and tell them about the plan we have of going out.its either they will leave or come with us.most of the time they leave and not join us.

    maybe it depends on the family.like my family.

    family friends or aquintances dont just drop by when its not really scheduled or important.we are all busy and sunday is family day.unexpected guest are not very welcome since its the only day in a week we get to see each and everyone together.its more like a weekly family reunion.(and they know that)

    personally speaking,....i would tell my friend frankly that i dont like unexpected guest therefore i should continue with what im busy doing even if they are at my house,or they can wait for me until im done then im all set for a short chit chat.

    i dont set aside my work for unexpected guest because i dont think they will give me a hand afterwards.i have my schedule and i stick with the schedule.

    if im talking or discussing something i dont like being interupted by phone calls or anything distructing.its either we talk later or off your phone.
     
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