Uninvited guests

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odelotj

Senior Member
El Salvador, Spanish
This thread has been so interesting! Growing up, my parents were always pleased to entertain unexpected guests. Same holds true for my house. Sometimes, it's a mess, sometimes I get caught doing laundry. My laundry room is small and most of my clothes I hang dry, so there's clothes everywhere. Anyway, my friends and family don't care the state of my house - it's never that dirty that someone wouldn't feel comfortable sitting down for a bit and sharing a glass of wine or some such thing with me. I agree w/Jacinta, 100%! They came to see me, and don't care much about the state of my home. Now, clotheswise, I never am that inappropriately dressed, even on laundry day, so my appearance isn't ever that bad to be honest. She's also so right about the latin american culture, it takes us an ETERNITY, always, to say goodbye to people. Growing up, it was so funny, b/c my parents would be at a party or gathering with friends. My brother, cousins, other "kids" the same age, and myself would always be in a room, playing or hanging out. Mom would come and say, "ok kids, it's time to go, we're saying bye now", we would say "ok" and literally sit in the room and not bother to get up. 30 minutes later, dad would come, "Mom is saying bye to Tia Sylvia now, let's go", "ok" we would reply, and continue playing. 20 minutes later, perhaps, they would both come to get us, then we would start saying goodbye, b/c we knew they meant business then. I can never ever leave a family function in under 45 minutes. If I have somewhere else to be, I start saying goodbye an hour in advance.

I like having an open door at home, and I LOVE when people stop by to chat and say hey. I always find something I can throw together, and if I've only got leftovers, I offer to order some food if I haven't got groceries. It's just how I was raised I guess, always be hospitable, never turn people away. To this day, every friend I've had loves coming with me to visit family or friends, b/c they always say how much at home they feel, and how welcomed. It makes me feel good to make people at home, and I don't think it's so inconvenient to put aside what I was working on to spend some quality time with loved ones and friends. Even, in my home country of El Salvador, if you walk down my aunt's neighborhood, people often are sitting on their porches and will always invite you in for coffee or tea and some sweets, so it takes an hour to get from one side to the other. Everyone stops to chat with everyone else, before they all had TV, it was what they did for entertainment in the evenings. I even remember, my aunts would sit outside with their friends, and gossip about some people, like girls in too short skirts, etc. "What is her mother thinking, letting that girl out looking like that?" It's funny looking back on it, just like that old saying "it takes a tribe to raise a child".

I'm even nice to the religious people, and those who come to sell me things. I talk to them for a little bit, and listen for a little bit, say no, thank you very much and good luck to you and shut the door. When repair people come by to work on my house, I always offer cool drinks and a snack if they want it.

Now the phone, yes, I always ignore calls when I am with someone in person, unless it's my mother or father calling. Then I may answer and say, may I please call you back? They're understanding, and so are the people I'm with when I explain it's the parents on the line. I find it very rude when people answer their cell phones, but I can tolerate it ok, if the person asks me, "do you mind if I take this call really quickly, it's important". Just some form of courtesy to my feelings, and to my time placates me. Thanks for this thread, it's been so interesting to read.
 
  • Chaska Ñawi

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    And another thread rises from the dead!

    Yes, the Inuit (Eskimos) were known for offering their wives to visiting hunters. I got the impression that the wives didn't resent this particularly. Because the communities were widely separated, this act helped to expand the gene pool a little.

    Some Canadian friends had the same offer from Quechua families in rural Bolivia. (Come have some peanuts, drink a cup of tea, and by the way, here's my daughter.) It was the same principal - they were quite up-front about wanting a gringo baby in the family.

    In this case, I guess there was an "overnight fee" for the hospitality!
     

    jjisneo

    New Member
    Pidgen
    In my country it is customary to make uninvited guests feel welcome and to tell them how much you apretiate them coming. I personally sometimes feel annoyed by them however it is traditoin so i must allows follow these customary norms of behaviour.
     

    Hakro

    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    Chaska Ñawi said:
    And another thread rises from the dead!

    Yes, the Inuit (Eskimos) were known for offering their wives to visiting hunters. I got the impression that the wives didn't resent this particularly. Because the communities were widely separated, this act helped to expand the gene pool a little.

    Some Canadian friends had the same offer from Quechua families in rural Bolivia. (Come have some peanuts, drink a cup of tea, and by the way, here's my daughter.) It was the same principal - they were quite up-front about wanting a gringo baby in the family.

    In this case, I guess there was an "overnight fee" for the hospitality!
    Isn't it a pity that this habit has disappeared in our western civilization?
     

    blancalaw

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    It’s amazing how many threads get dug up from deep within the pile. It is an interesting thread though.
    Back a hundred years ago I am sure it was more common to have unexpected guests arrive to your house because there wasn’t many ways to communicate that they were coming. Now especially since the increase use of cell phones, it has become to be expected to call before dropping by. Only certain individuals do not mind unexpected guests anymore, especially older individuals. For me personally, I would prefer someone to call us before coming over because I could be in the shower, eating, or doing whatever else that will prohibit me from coming to the door. However if a friend did come over unexpectantly, I would expect them to give a good explanation why they didn’t call first.
     

    jinti

    Senior Member
    Years ago, I had a friend from Saudi Arabia who would drive 3 hours to visit me... without calling. And then would expect to stay a few days. I found this very rude, and the second time it happened, I told him so. His response was to drive the three hours and then call from the gas station down the street. I asked what he would do if I wasn't home or if I said it was not a convenient time to visit. He just shrugged and said he would drive home....

    I didn't like it because I found it presumptuous. When he would show up unannounced, it was like saying to me that I couldn't possibly have anything else to do but entertain him for 3 days. I didn't want to include him in my usual routine, and it was like he was trying to force his way into it without giving me a choice. So even when he called from down the street, once I realized where he was, I felt manipulated-- like I HAD to invite him in then because he had travelled such a long way. I never could get across to him what the purpose of calling ahead of time -- BEFORE making the trip -- was. But he was probably as frustrated with me as I was with him....
     
    Living alone (with only my cat for company) I am not what you would call a 'domestic goddess'. I always have a backlog of household chores to do (there are far more interesting things to occupy me), am usually comfortably but scruffily dressed, and never answer my door to anyone unless they are expected. I had a most embarrassing experience last summer. I have two doors to my house. The first is a hardwood door, the second a glass door leading into my kitchen. The hardwood door was unlocked and I was aware of someone knocking on the glass door. Dressed only in my underwear (the weather was hot) I cautiously approached the glass door and found one of my male neighbours bearing gifts from his wife. Since he was well known to me (a dear friend), I had to reveal myself in my full 'underwear' glory. However I didn't open the door. Ever the gentleman, he averted his gaze and simply left the box of goodies outside the door, from which I had hastily retreated.

    My two sons never turn up unexpectedly. They would, naturally, be welcome at any time while I dashed off to make myself somewhat more respectable looking. My younger son, recently married, sometimes 'phones me and says, 'Right, I'm giving you two weeks' notice to get the place tidied up, Sharon and I are coming to take you out to lunch.' Isn't it odd how females will always react to such a challenge? I whizz around, cleaning and tidying up and my house is soon spotless again. I wouldn't want my daughter-in-law thinking I'm a total low-life!

    The wife of the man I mentioned earlier is always welcome to call in at any time. She has the same philosophy as I with regard to being a domestic goddess. When I say, 'Please excuse the mess,' she replies, 'It's you I've come to see, not your home.' We generally share a bottle of wine and some food and spend hours together just chatting.

    Another girlfriend and neighbour (who is a total stranger to 'housework') always insists that I give her a 'phone call before turning up on her doorstep. Sometimes she says, 'Sorry, my drawbridge is closed today, no admittance to anybody.'

    I have a spare bedroom which is always immaculate. In the event of any waifs and strays turning up and pounding insistently on my door, I can always offer them a clean and cozy room for the night. My own bedroom door has a sign saying 'War Zone, Keep Out!'

    So, with the above exceptions, uninvited guests are definitly not welcome. :eek:

    LRV
     

    hald

    Senior Member
    France
    modgirl said:
    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!
    Even that is a cultural matter. My mom always told me it's polite to bring something along where you are invited. Either flowers for the "maîtresse de maison", or a bottle of wine or something for the dessert.
    In case you chose the wine or dessert option, you'll ask your host what kind of wine would fit with the menu, or what his favorite dessert is. And those gifts are definitely intended to be consumed during the meal :)
     

    canvist

    New Member
    English (Canada)
    I think whether or not it bothers you when acquainances drop by unexpectedly is mostly determined by culture. For example, when I lived in Central Asia, friends would drop by without calling ahead all the time. It was the same situation as for the user from Baku (in one of the previous posts here). In fact, it's almost unacceptable there to call ahead. I think it's because if you call, it's like you're underestimating their hospitality. I don't know, it's considered weird. It's just not done.

    People are always willing to have guests over. And the visitors don't care if the house isn't in perfect condition, that was never an issue.

    Modgirl mentioned that she considers her house her private domaine. I think that's exactly where the cultural difference lies. Depending on the culture, the value placed on privacy is lower/higher than the value placed on community. For people in Canada/US homes are more private than for some other cultures.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    Anyone calling to my door would be welcomed, but not expected to stay for too long. I don't 'do' domesticity - though Mrs Maxiogee is irritatingly house-proud and incessantly tidies away anything left lying in one place for too long - so callers must take me as they find me. I don't answer phones on the first ring any longer (My dad was self-employed and an unanswered telephone could lead to a beheading!) but I will eventually get to it if it rings long enough.
    The tv is turned off when anyone calls.
    If you call unannounced don't expect more than coffee & biccies.

    With that in mind it probably goes without saying that I am, of course, likely to drop in unannounced on others
     
    ''If your name is Timothy or Pat,
    So long as you come from Ireland
    There's a welcome on the mat.''​

    You would be welcome at my place any time Tony. Provided you're not allergic to dust, cobwebs and piles of books everywhere. You would need to bring Mrs Maxiogee - she would have a field day (or several) sorting out my domestic upheaval. One thing I can guarantee is that you would be well fed as I'm a dab hand in the kitchen.

    Like Hald, I was taught always to take a gift when invited anywhere. Flowers, wine or a nice gateau for everyone to enjoy. A home-made apple pie is always very acceptable too.


    LRV
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    la reine victoria said:
    Like Hald, I was taught always to take a gift when invited anywhere. Flowers, wine or a nice gateau for everyone to enjoy. A home-made apple pie is always very acceptable too.
    Thank you for the invitation/summons.
    I shall endeavour to ensure that whenever we arrive in England, Mrs Maxiogee has all her cleansing gear with her. (Beneath our kitchen sink is a cornucopia of poisonous substances with which she tackles all cleaning - I think she thinks that dust = germs. The smell alone is woe-jous!)
    For not only invitated appearances, but general visits also, I was brought up to not arrive "with one arm as long as the other" (a delightful phrase from my mother)!
     

    Chaska Ñawi

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    My house is very similar to the royal abode described in previous posts, but with a scattering of children's items added to the mix.

    My preferred domestic tasks are gardening and cooking; as long as the laundry and dishes are done, I don't worry terribly over the state of the house. For High Holy Days when family and friends gather here, we perform a burst of housecleaning. I really prefer that people give us some notice, if possible, so as not to catch us with our metaphorical pants around our ankles. Weather permitting, unexpected visitors are entertained in the garden. (This doesn't solve requests for a bathroom, however ... perhaps I should install a quaint little outhouse for their convenience.)

    The really embarassing part of the whole thing is that, when I ask the children to do basic housecleaning beyond their regular chores of sweeping and some dishwashing, they immediately ask, "Why? Is company coming?"
     

    Korena

    Senior Member
    USA : English
    I also think it's rude when people unexpectly show up at other people's door steps, they should at least call first. And, if they just want to "chat" can't they just use the phone/internet to do that???

    -Korena
     

    ireney

    Modistra
    Greek Greece Mod of Greek, CC and CD
    In rural areas people don't even bother to knock some times. Being born and raised in a city you can actually see the air you breath, pidgeons just saunter out of your way while looking down their beaks to you and knowing who lives next door to you (or above/below you) is not on your to-do list even if you both live on the same building throughout your lives, I found it more than frustrating (I still harbour nasty thoughts about a certain lady who rented us a place during summer holidays some 4 years ago).

    However, since they think it's ok and since being hospitable is really important in our cultrure you just plaster a smile, raid faraway cabinets for anything eatable and all in all do your best to look as if you are overjoyed.
     
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