Go Away

THE SURPRISE VISIT. DON’T. PLEASE

I am going to let you all in on a little secret – I do not like surprises, unless they are of the Oroton, kid-free, hotel stay, overseas trip, diamond variety.

So, when you rock up at my house, uninvited, I am not going to jump with joy.

It’s not like you have to rely on carrier pigeon or telegram to inform someone of your intention to visit. Nor do you have to get your quill out and write a formal request to attend afternoon tea. You don’t even have to pick up the heavy handle of an old-fashioned phone, pulling your finger around to each number and slowly waiting for the dial to rotate before proceeding to the next number.

You just pick up your mobile phone and send a text asking if the person you wish to visit is at home and are free for you to pop over.

There are no excuses for not contacting the person before just lobbing on their doorstep.

And here’s another tip. If you do decide to rudely interrupt someone’s quiet afternoon at least bring a cake or something. Your smug smile is simply not enough.

You can’t just arrive unannounced and then expect your ambushed host to drop everything and scurry around, often in their worst tracksuit pants and unwashed hair, in their dirty kitchen, trying to find something to offer, other than Arrowroot biscuits, and using up the last of their milk for you.

Perhaps if you’d given them a quick call at least 20 minutes before they would have had a chance to brush their teeth, get the kids dressed and pile all the dirty pans into the oven.

And don’t you dare say: “Oh, I don’t care if your house is a mess” or “Don’t be silly you look great”. I do care that my bra is on the couch where I took it off the night before while eating popcorn (which incidentally my youngest child is now happily eating off the kitchen floor).

I do care and I take great pleasure in cleaning my house before visitors and baking something for them to eat (or at least popping down to the bakery).

I also really like to have washed myself and put on clothes that better reflect my personality, rather than these stained, baggy leggings with holes in the crotch.

I care and if you cared you wouldn’t saunter up to my front door and stand there with a goofy smile expecting me to put on a welcoming party for you.

This is amplified by one thousand if the person you are visiting has a newborn baby.

I had one of these unannounced visits when I had just given birth to our first child. At the time, we lived in a house in the hills that had a living area with large glass windows on most walls. I was new to breastfeeding so was sitting on the couch with no top on desperately trying to get my newborn to feed.

I was in pain, I was exhausted and I was covered in milk. It was not my finest hour.

Then I noticed someone walking past the window heading for my back door and it wasn’t the electricity man. I was horrified and quickly made a run for it to my bedroom to put on my bra and top. I was then forced to sit there and pretend I was excited to see my guests, while my hungry baby wriggled in my arms and milk leaked from my breasts.

And then there’s the story of the guy whose family thought they’d surprise him for his birthday only to be confronted by him nude, standing to attention (if you get my drift). I’m not sure if that really happened or if it’s an urban myth, but if catching someone you know masturbating doesn’t prove my point I’m not sure what will.

So, next time you have an urge to do an unannounced drop-in, don’t.

I am all for unscheduled visits if I’m given a bit of notice. That way I can opt out if it’s not convenient. You see my family or I could be unwell, we could already have visitors, we may be on our way out or perhaps we simply do not feel like having people over. Next time, don’t assume, just pick up your phone and send a text or give us a quick call to see if we’re free.

Then, if we’re up for it, swing by the shops and get a cake, any cake will do.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQMq3T-u0YA[/youtube]

MORE ARTICLES BY BIANCA WORDLEY

Confessions of a yo-yo dieter

What’s a homemaker worth?

The real post-baby belly

*Bianca Wordley is an Adelaide-based blogger and writer who is the publisher of bigwords. She has worked for The Advertiser, The Sunday Mail, Independent Weekly, The Times, Australian Associated Press, Adelaide Hills Magazine and read the news for ABC Radio. You can find her on twitter @bigwordsblog

 

 

 

 

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27 Comments

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    julie

    Wow – guess this must be a city thing! Us country bumpkins think there’s nothing better than having a home that friends feel happy to walk into uninvited. In fact, my definition of a friend is someone I know well enough to know it’s ok to expect it of them to drop in on me, and to do just that to them. I have a collection of keys to let myself in if they’re not home, and vice versa for them. What a strange article!

    • Reply May 2, 2012

      Wendy Harmer

      Yes, when we were kids in the bush the house was always left unlocked and it was not uncommon to come home and find a friend or relative relaxing in the kitchen with a cup of tea! Wouldn’t do it now though – even put on the alarm to take the kids to school and always have someone house sit when we’re away ( note to burglars who may be reading this).

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    jackie

    That’s the benefit of living in a security apartment. You can pretend you’re not home. Especially on those treasured veg out days when you’re watching the Circle in your Pyjamas,,,in the words of Greta Garbo..I vant to be alone !!!

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Valerie Parv

    I’m torn on this one. Yes, Murphy’s Law dictates that nobody ever arrives unannounced when the house is spotless, your hair is freshly washed, you’re dressed and have bikkies in the cupboard, only when you’re at your worst. Then there are friends who kill themselves getting ready when they know you’re coming. Arriving unannounced is the only way to ensure they relax and enjoy the visit. Knowing the other person is key. And I always take cake, flowers, wine, sometimes all three.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Carly Findlay

    My house is rarely tidy. I only tidy it if I have visitors – and I know they are coming. When my parents come it is a better tidy than general visitors.
    Sometimes my house is so messy that I worry that when I die, will my parents be more upset I’m gone or For the state I have left my house in. Sometimes before I do risky things (long drives and mosh pits) I give my house a whom once over – just in case, you know, it’s the end, and my parents need to clear my flat for the next tenant.
    Please give me a week’s notice before you visit.

    • Reply May 2, 2012

      The Huntress

      I’m with you, Carly. Most people are surprised that because I’m big on personal grooming they expect my house to be the same. It’s not. My house could be politely described as disorganised chaos. I love seeing my friends and they’re always welcome, but I’m so embarrassed that they have to see the dirt the dogs trample in, the dishes I didn’t want to deal with last night and my table piled up with my latest paperwork. Yeah, I suppose I could keep a neat, organised house, but that’s boring and I would rather do other things (like go out to lunch with my friends) than clean. But with half an hour notice I can make things presentable enough to not want to die on the spot. As long as guests don’t go upstairs…

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Carly Findlay

    A once over. Not whom.
    Damn autocorrect.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Sue Elliott

    I am happy to be a very urban girl. No unexpected visitors PLEASE. If you are bored, or have an afternoon to kill, go to the pictures!

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Annette

    Like Jackie, I’m a bit torn on this one……some of the most enjoyable occasions have been when people drop in unannounced. I try not to do it to people myself though as there are aspects about the drop in guest I really find annoying. I am and always have been a country girl but from my perspective, it makes no difference whether you are country or city nowadays as with most people working away from home, it can be very frustrating to have those rare moments when you are at home peacefully pottering about interrupted. I try to adopt the “take me as you find me” doctrine, but I still feel uncomfortable if I am in the middle of cleaning out the kitchen cupboards with junk all over the table, floor and benches and suddenly have to find coffee/wine/beer/ nibbles etc. BUT as I said, some of those drop in visits have been truly wonderful – I’m a true Libran – can see both sides but can’t make a decision about which if best!

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Annette Piper

    I’m in the country and do like a LITTLE bit of notice – a phone call before they leave home or town will still give me, in most cases 1/2 hour to get myself and the house (or at least the room where they will arrive & stay) presentable.
    I was caught out so many times by relatives when I had my twins, just swinging by whenever they happened to be driving to town. I put my foot down when they were a couple of months old as I had had enough of rellies popping in to see them and waking them up!
    I DID heavily embarrass the local stock &station agent once after I’d twin-fed – he wandered along the verandah and there I was, boobs swinging putting the twins in their rockers… I’ve never seen anyone QUITE so embarrassed or beetroot red! I don’t think he came to the house for about 6 years after that LOL.
    Occasionally I will still get the odd drop-in unannounced but they usually know me well enough to understand the mess.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    bigwords

    I must clarify that while I dislike the unannounced/surprise visit I am all for a pop-in when there’s an advance call to give me time to at least get dressed! x

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    jenran

    Yes, an advance call is always the best way to do it. You never know – it may be really inconvenient for your prospective host, if not downright invasive! Sometimes just 20 minutes is enough to sort out the domestic scene so that the visit can actually be enjoyed.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    KellieMaree

    Call, text, carrier pigeon – as long as I’ve got time to get dressed – I’m so comfy in my jammies that they often stay on all day on the weekends. And yes, I’d like to clear the kitchen bench and make sure the loo is visitor friendly – just 15 minutes notice will do – then come on round…with cake….or wine…or cake and wine!!

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Maxabella

    I give a little notice (a call, a text) but I like a random get-together too much to not enjoy the ‘pop’. But I rarely show up unannounced… at least, I don’t anymore!!! x

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Hoot

    I live in the country and I too prefer some notice before someone lobs up on my doorstep. I have health issues that I don’t announce to the world (other than on my blog LOL) and some days I am just not in a place to be happy about having someone turn up unannounced. Sometimes (ok a lot of the time) my house looks like a cyclone just whipped through it and somedays I just don’t want to have to make small talk. So please, a text or call to ask first.

  • Reply May 2, 2012

    Cranky Aunty Lou

    Hell. Yes.

    Different groups of people have different ways of doing things and that’s fine, but I HATE people dropping around unexpectedly. Especially since i live alone and enjoy a bit of naked time. Give me some warning! I’ve turned people away at the door when they’ve turned up unannounced; it feels so intrusive. I acknowledge that this probably makes me a bit odd (I think my sister would say ‘weird loner’) :)

  • Reply May 3, 2012

    Amanda

    I love unexpected guests as long as its after 10 in the morning incase im having a lazy morning and not after 5 in the afternoon cause thats when its time to organise the kids. Im always up for a coffee and a chat if it gets me out of house work for half hour. And if my house is messy at the time well it means they have to step over it. My friends dont care I have 2 kids how could anyone have a clean house all the time

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  • Reply June 30, 2012

    Awks

    Once I rang my best friend of over thirty years after my husband and I had finished a restaurant meal, so we could drop in with some wine. She said yes – and it was very awkward. She and her hubby looked at us the whole time we were there as if they were waiting for an announcement. Definitely felt like we had intruded on Saturday night family tv time. Didn’t do it again!

  • Reply July 11, 2012

    Patrick Bateman

    You say “I also really like to have washed myself and put on clothes that better reflect my personality, rather than these stained, baggy leggings with holes in the crotch.”

    I have bad news for you. The leggings reflect your personality, because they are what you wear when you think others aren’t going to see you. What you want is the opportunity to put on clothes which reflect an artificial personality you wish to project to others.

  • Reply July 30, 2012

    Debs

    I have been caught out numerous times and hate it! Once I was halfway through pulling my hair through a highlighting cap and looked an absolute fright. Funny how the one and only time I visited these friends unannounced, I was given the look of Death! Never did it again.

  • [...] The surprise visit. Don’t. Please. [...]

  • Reply March 18, 2013

    Athen

    I can’t stand drop-bys. Real friends are the people who actually set aside time to be with you and actually keep the “date”. Droppers by are usually acquaintances who stop by on a whim because they have nothing better to do. Also, just an observation, most droppers-by have no problem barging in on others, but they do not like it when people do it to them.
    Oh! and if you must stop by unannounced, how about bringing a bottle of wine or some cookies or something instead of *every time* expecting to be served like my place is a fricken’ free restaurant/bar.

  • Reply March 31, 2013

    Katy

    Ahhhh, I am SO with you on this one – I LOVE this piece! There’s nothing worse than people just dropping by. It’s rude and there’s no need for it! My father-in-law is awful for this. The breastfeeding story reminded me of when our little girl was first home and I was trying to get to grips with breastfeeding. My husband had told my father in law time after time to drop us a text before coming round, because I was trying to get used to breastfeeding and didn’t want to have to sit upstairs all the time just in case someone came round. Our old house had a living room that you came straight into – there was no hallway. One day, father in law turned up completely unannounced, and I was breastfeeding. My husband had to actually keep him in the driveway until I had relocated to the bedroom, and of course this interrupted the feed as I was so new to it and getting her latched on was a nightmare. It didn’t teach him though, he still does it. He’s turned up sometimes and has seen my parents’ car in the drive so has just left again. He’s turned up and found nobody in – so he phones and asks where we are! But he still never learns. It’s not hard to text and ask if it’s ok. One day last weekend, he texted at 10am and said “I will come round after”. After what…lunch? Having a shower? Walking the dog? We felt on edge all day. My husband texted him a few times trying to find out what time he planned, and got no helpful answer. He eventually turned up at 6pm – not at all helpful when you have a small child who gets wound up at bedtime if grandad visits! Gaaaa. xx

  • Reply March 31, 2013

    sue Bell

    Wow I feel sorry for so many of you, I love drop ins, I don’t care if I’m naked, in the shower, reading the paper. My friends know me, they know I’m untidy, they know I never do mornings, ( 2 am is my usual bedtime ) I never have to put on a front for them. I accept them as they are, they accept me as I am.
    First thing in the morning I open the front door for the dog and then crawl back into bed. If a friend drops by they can come into the house and put on the kettle while I get out of bed. I’ll happily make tea and coffee, offer food but most of all it’s the friendship that is important, the talk, the fun, the love. So come anytime and you will be welcome.

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