Author Topic: Miss Manners on drop-ins  (Read 9421 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

nuit93

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1091
Miss Manners on drop-ins
« on: February 28, 2013, 11:38:36 AM »
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/miss-manners-drop-in-guests-should-show-some-consideration/2013/02/12/28a2d48a-716c-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html

Am I the only one whose jaw just DROPPED at the utter entitlement of the first LW?  I was hoping it was fake, but was there really a time when this was acceptable behavior?

ettiquit

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 11:45:45 AM »
Giving the uninvited guest your children's dinner??   :o

Betelnut

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3663
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 11:46:12 AM »
What made my jaw drop is that Miss Manners in the Post I got this morning didn't even have this letter in it!  I guess the online version is longer.

Anyway, it didn't make my jaw drop (I wasn't surprised by it) but I agree with Miss Manners.
"And thus the whirligig of time brings in his
revenges." -- Feste, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare.

Native Texan, Marylander currently

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8713
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 11:48:16 AM »
Wow, what a piece of work!  :o

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6252
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 12:18:56 PM »
I'm almost 50. I do remember occasionally (maybe a couple of times per year?) where we'd end up with drop in company on a Sunday or Saturday afternoon. It was usually distant relative who was passing through our town and decided to "drop by" and see if we were home. Sometimes they'd stop at a pay phone (early '70s) and call and say they were in town  and inquire about our availability, but even if we had a full day planned my parents would say "of course, come by."   Sometimes we'd just open the door and there they were. And our day's activities did switch up but the guests never stayed more than an hour or two, were invited to lunch/dinner but they never accepted the offer, and everyone was happy for the unexpected chance to visit.

But that was a completely different era. I have had friends call and say they are in town and their schedule would allow them to drop by for a short visit if we weren't busy. But I can not understand what this writer is requesting.  The pre-phone, horse and buggy days when someone would stop at a homestead on their 5 hour trip from ranch to town?

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 12:24:34 PM »
Giving the uninvited guest your children's dinner??   :o

I bet you almost anything that the letter writer's mother did it to her.
And that the only way she's been able to live with that sense of betrayal and powerlessness is by believing that this extreme "generosity" is the norm.

The damage may have been severe enough that she herself has perpetuated these sorts of actions in an attempt to demonstrate to herself that it *was*, after all, normal; and that her mother or father weren't betraying her by giving her dinner away.

Maybe she doesn't get given the children's dinner, or doesn't necessarily ask for it, but it's part of her childhood, I bet!

A lesson for us: We should protect our children from that sort of damage by having polite spines. And by speaking up when other people can't. (Bystanders have tremendous power.)
« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 12:27:54 PM by TootsNYC »

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8504
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 12:36:18 PM »
The LW asks: "Is this a sign of the rudeness that is so pervasive in society?" meaning not being invited in if you just drop by someone's house.

I'd say it is more a change in the etiquette of dropping in--you don't drop by someone's house unless you are prepared for either the entire family being out or for not being invited in, because the family simply doesn't have time, right then and there, to visit.

Growing up in the 1960s, except for work and school, there was usually someone home. Mom did most of the errands during the day on weekdays, and afternoons after school and on weekends, we were home a lot. There'd be Little League games and once or twice a month we'd have an outing to a movie or museum or historical site, but that was about it.

If someone dropped by unexpectedly, one of my parents would have the time to stop what they were doing and sit down and have a cup of coffee and a chat. I don't remember any drop-ins staying for a meal, though.

Things have changed. Children are more scheduled than my mom used to be. More women are working outside the home, which means that the meetings my mom used to go to during the day are now held evenings or weekends. There's simply more things to do with your free time, as well.

Sure, you can drop by unannounced. But to expect families to keep their kids home from various activities because you've dropped by, or to cancel a family outing because you've dropped by, or to cancel a rare family meal all together because you've dropped by, is expecting way to much.

It's not rude to tell an unexpected visitor that you can't visit right now. It is rude to drop by unannounced and expect that the family should stop everything to host you.

In a slightly related story, my cousin got married in 1974. The newlyweds moved into an apartment a few miles from her parents' home. At some point, either she or her new husband commented to her parents that they never dropped by, and indicated this would be a nice thing to do.

So my aunt and uncle dropped by one evening a few weeks later. My cousin had just gotten out of the shower and her hair was dripping wet. Her husband was in his boxer shorts, drinking beer out of the bottle (something that my aunt did not approve of) and cheering on the baseball game on TV.

Everyone was quite embarrassed and no mention was made of drop by visits ever again.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


jaxsue

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10095
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2013, 12:38:45 PM »
My dad was a preacher and we lived in church parsonages (the house was the property of the church), and that meant drop-ins. Every day. All times of the day. There was no option to ignore the doorbell. Some people walked in without knocking!
Mom would offer food if it was dinner time. And being that money was uber-tight, that meant we made do with less. Most people, however, politely refused food. There was one woman, though, who seemed to pop in only during mealtimes, and she never refused the offer.  ::)

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8504
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2013, 12:56:54 PM »
My dad was a preacher and we lived in church parsonages (the house was the property of the church), and that meant drop-ins. Every day. All times of the day. There was no option to ignore the doorbell. Some people walked in without knocking!
Mom would offer food if it was dinner time. And being that money was uber-tight, that meant we made do with less. Most people, however, politely refused food. There was one woman, though, who seemed to pop in only during mealtimes, and she never refused the offer.  ::)

I cannot imagine the stress that would put on a family--having to have the house neat at all times, everyone dressed in real clothes during the day, never knowing how many people would be eating dinner.

I get that the drop-ins were part of the job, so to speak, but I can't imagine just walking into someone's home, even if the house belonged to my church. Common courtesy requires knocking first, and waiting to be invited in.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


oceanus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • pronounced o-see-ANN-us
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2013, 12:57:42 PM »
Back in the old days, we grew up in a smaller town.  On Sunday we often dropped by to visit relatives (went to several houses – dad’s relatives).  Same with the town where most of mom’s relatives were.  And they dropped by to visit us sometimes.  IIRC, dinner was usually before or after those visits.

Yes, that was a different time.  The drop-in visits continued even when I was a young adult and on my own.  But it seemed to fade in the mid-70s, and calling in advance became the polite thing to do.  When I moved to a large city about 50 miles away, I always called from home or a pay phone to let (whoever) know I was coming to town and ask if it would be okay to stop by.

Now, I can’t imagine a drop-in.  One relative did it to me about a year ago, and it didn’t go over well.  I didn’t want to be bothered with that person, and I was in the middle of enjoying a tv show.  I did not offer him anything, and his visit was short 

I would not think of “dropping by” now.  What is the person has company, is in the shower, wants to watch a movie or enjoying their meal?  With cell phones, etc. there is no excuse.



TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 30461
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2013, 01:42:17 PM »
The LW asks: "Is this a sign of the rudeness that is so pervasive in society?" meaning not being invited in if you just drop by someone's house.

I'd say it is more a change in the etiquette of dropping in--you don't drop by someone's house unless you are prepared for either the entire family being out or for not being invited in, because the family simply doesn't have time, right then and there, to visit.


Miss Manners' point, however, is that *even when* families were not so "overscheduled" and there was "always someone at home," it was STILL rude to drop in without calling first.

Always, from time immemorial. There hasn't been a chance in the etiquette. Perhaps a change in the logistics (i.e., nobody's home, or everybody's busy), but not in the etiquette. Visits are always arranged in advanced, and you don't invite yourself to someone's home anymore than you invite yourself to their party. You say, "I wanted to see you" or "I'm going to be out near you and wondered if we could get together."

Except maybe in the days of butlers, but leaving one's card with the butler WAS the equivalent of "calling first."

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8713
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2013, 01:46:18 PM »
The LW asks: "Is this a sign of the rudeness that is so pervasive in society?" meaning not being invited in if you just drop by someone's house.

I'd say it is more a change in the etiquette of dropping in--you don't drop by someone's house unless you are prepared for either the entire family being out or for not being invited in, because the family simply doesn't have time, right then and there, to visit.


Miss Manners' point, however, is that *even when* families were not so "overscheduled" and there was "always someone at home," it was STILL rude to drop in without calling first.

Always, from time immemorial. There hasn't been a chance in the etiquette. Perhaps a change in the logistics (i.e., nobody's home, or everybody's busy), but not in the etiquette. Visits are always arranged in advanced, and you don't invite yourself to someone's home anymore than you invite yourself to their party. You say, "I wanted to see you" or "I'm going to be out near you and wondered if we could get together."

Except maybe in the days of butlers, but leaving one's card with the butler WAS the equivalent of "calling first."

Yeah, because the butler could go up, ask you if you wanted to see them, and if you said no, the butler would come back and say you weren't at home. There was always a concept of being "not at home" even if you really were at home, if you were busy or just didn't want to see them. And then you'd have "at home" hours when people knew you'd be there and receiving people, but if you dropped by randomly, you might just be turned away, and the visit-ee and the butler would not be rude at all to do it.

daen

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 617
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2013, 01:54:36 PM »
I think that as phone calls became less expensive, calling ahead became the norm. It just makes life easier to check in advance.

Even when you have a drop-in culture (my parents' circle was like this in their growing-up and early-married years), you run the risk that the people you're dropping in on are out dropping in on someone else, because Sunday afternoon (or whenever) is social time. Why take the chance when it's cheap (or free) to make a quick phone call?

Auntie Mame

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1492
  • Live! Live! LIVE!
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2013, 01:58:56 PM »
Wow, just wow.  That is some entitlement right there.

The rare, and I mean extremely rare times I have dropped in on someone without calling it was for the sole purpose of dropping something off.  I started with “Sorry to bother you but I wanted to return X item or drop off Y present”.  I would drop off said item, hug my friend and leave, I would make sure I was on my way to something so they didn’t feel obligated to invite me in.  I wouldn’t even cross the threshold of their house.  My friends didn’t invite me in and I would never in a million years expect they would.   They are busy, I am busy.  Visits are planned in advanced.

Oh sure, we’ve had the last minute “Hey what are you up to, want to come over?  We are doing *some fun thing* come join us!” text.  But that is still not a drop in.

I will admit to dropping in on one person without calling first, but that was my BF.  He didn’t seem to mind.
 >:D
Auntie needs fuel, black coffee and a side car.

oceanus

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 693
  • pronounced o-see-ANN-us
Re: Miss Manners on drop-ins
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2013, 02:31:40 PM »
My older brother had a unique, rather amusing way of handling drop-ins.  In the mid 70s he and his wife bought a house.  Sometimes young women (even knowing he was married) would ‘drop by’, all dressed up, and knock on the door – often a few at a time.  He would look out the door window (they could clearly see him) and he would just stare and say nothing.  They would wave, grin, and he would just keep staring until they figured out he wasn’t going to let them in and they went away.