General Etiquette > Life...in general

Miss Manners on drop-ins

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TootsNYC:

--- Quote from: ettiquit on February 28, 2013, 11:45:45 AM ---Giving the uninvited guest your children's dinner??   :o

--- End quote ---

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.)

camlan:
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.

jaxsue:
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:

--- Quote from: jaxsue 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.  ::)

--- End quote ---

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.

oceanus:
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 Ė dadís relatives).  Same with the town where most of momís 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 canít imagine a drop-in.  One relative did it to me about a year ago, and it didnít go over well.  I didnít 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 ďdropping byĒ 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.


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