I desperately need advice on this. I believe it is rude when someone comes over to not invite them in. I understand not inviting strangers in, including salespeople and the like. However, what about neighbors and acquaintances? Several times, my daughter, husband and I have become friendly with neighbors, particularly those with children. We would go over while they were outside, and would stand around for hours with no invitation inside. One family we were quite friendly with (went to each others’ kids’ birthday parties, spoke to often), the time we went over there (just us) so the kids could play, they were already outside. We stood around in the yard for hours in the 100 plus degree heat, before we gave up and went home.
We once had a (prearranged) meeting with our landlord and his wife, with whom we were very friendly. We stood outside on their porch in the dead of winter with our four month old baby for over a half hour without so much as being asked to step inside. The way I was taught, when someone comes into your yard and you know them, they are now a guest. You invite them in, and offer them something to drink. I’ve gotten mixed opinions on this. Again, totally understandable if the person/people are strangers. But not someone you know! Am I too sensitive? Is this rude?
When someone invites themselves onto another person’s property as you are describing in the first scenario, I don’t think they should have an expectation that the homeowner owes them hospitality. The impetus is on the “guest” to not overstay his welcome and to pick up the subtle hints that now is really not a good time to visit. Not inviting you into the house is a a big, “in your face” clue that the homeowner is not prepared to host you.
In the second scenario you, if there is a pre-arranged meeting, then the host should invite the guest into the house. Just because it is a pre-arranged meeting does not give the guest carte blanche to monopolize the host’s time.
There is a little socially polite game guests and hosts commence to “play” when the guest announces his intention to leave after a suitably shortened length of time visiting. The host will protest in varying degrees of intensity and the guest responds back with, “No, I must go”. At that point, if the host does not beg you to stay further, it’s time to make good on that declaration and leave. It is incumbent upon the guest to read the signals so as to not overstay their welcome or possibly put their host in a very awkward situation of trying to shoo someone out the door politely. To be honest, if you are standing around “for hours” visiting with neighbors, you are probably not getting the hint that you are overstaying your welcome. I’d be hesitant to ask you into my house for fear you would monopolize my time for hours and I’d never get you back out the door. I’ve been in that situation where a guest presumes I have all the time in the world and my invitation to share lunch has stretched into me continuing to play hostess for hours into the afternoon and even evening.