1. Bridget

    My in-laws are kind and generous people. I have 3 kids and they each enjoy spending time with Mimi and Papi. About 3 years ago, we moved to a house 5 minutes away from my in-laws. At first, my in-laws would call before coming over to visit. When we ignored the phone, they came over anyway and have not looked back. They frequently will come over without calling. They always have some flimsy excuse (i.e. returning a random sock we left at their house). It drives me bonkers. Is it too much to expect people to call before coming over? I want to ask my in-laws to follow this simple rule of etiquette but I feel strongly that they will respond negatively. Help!

    • Graceandhonor

      Your husband needs to step up and have a heart-to-heart with Mom and Dad. “We love you and love your visits, but PLEASE call first. You might interrupt us making grandbaby number four! (or something similar!)” Said consistently, with humor and love from him, their son, should drive your point home. Whatever he does, this request should come from him, and not be made to appear you are making him say it.

  2. Rae Bates

    I come at this from a different angle, though the issues are different. My brother, his wife, and their two small children live a couple of hours from us. We are not a close family, but there’s no tension or ill feelings. We get along fine. The problem? They don’t answer their phone and rarely return messages. It’s not just me. I’ve been in their home when they ignore the phone. They just check messages every few hours.

    I call if I’m in the area, which is once every few months. If they don’t answer I leave a message that I’m in the area and plan to stop by. They always thank me for stopping by and tell me to be sure to do it again the next time I’m in town, so I don’t think they mind my visits. It’s a little frustrating. Our extended family gets together at Thanksgiving, and our immediate family gathers for Christmas. If I didn’t stop by I’d miss seeing my niece and nephew grow up.

    • Graceandhonor

      Rae, I think your situation illustrates that families are different and have to figure out what works best for them.

      You mentioned the fact your brother’s family doesn’t answer their phone right away or listen to messages immediately. We’ve had posts recently from others who feel their calls should be answered immediately and want to know if the recipient is rude when they don’t. While it may be frustrating at times for the caller, neverthless it is the right of the recipient to answer their phone in their own home as they wish. I personally think it shows a healthy, independent streak to use their phone service in a way that is convenient for them, and not in a Pavlovian manner.

      I went for a walk in a city park late Easter Sunday, and along a 100 yard lake seawall, counted 13 people texting. It was a perfect spring afternoon, in a beautiful setting, but something was very wrong with the picture. We would all do well to remember, when it comes to technology, who is master.

  3. Bridget

    Rae- I understand your perspective but I argue that our issues are different. My in-laws see the kids at least once a week. I invite them for Sunday dinner at least once a month. There is zero distance between us. If we ignore the phone, it’s b/c we are in the middle of something more important than chatting on the phone. It’s not like we make a habit of ignoring their calls. Just to give you an example of how extreme my in-laws stop overs are – Easter Sunday, we spent 5 hours at their house. 2 hours after we arrive back home, they show up without calling under the premise of returning a gift we left there. We were in the middle of the nighttime routine. I was upstairs feeding our newborn and couldn’t even muster the fake enthusiasm to go down and greet them. I stayed upstairs and basically ignored them. I hate to be rude but they are rude to come over without calling.

    • Graceandhonor

      This would have been the perfect time for your husband to greet them at the door, “Thanks for dropping the present by, though it could have waited. We’re very tired. See you later, and thanks for a great afternoon!” Then gently, but firmly closing the door and leaving the porch light on until they got to their car. Try this a few times and see if things don’t improve! They will continue to act as they are as long as he lets them.

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