1. Joanna

    I wouldn’t expressly tell them to leave, but also I wouldn’t alter whatever it is I was doing — like, if they came in while I was washing the dishes or doing the laundry or whatever, I would keep on doing it. Anyone with one grain of social awareness would see the person is busy and themselves suggest they come back another time.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      What you’re saying is true; however anyone with one grain of social awareness would call before coming over.

      • Vanna Keiler

        Unconventional solution to problem: answer the door together in towels (woops). Perchance that will curtail the unexpected visits. :)

  2. Ginger

    I actually love Ms. Post’s direct answer of being firm at the door. But as an introvert, who desperately guards my alone time to recharge, I had this as a constant problem in college. Dorm living is notoriously casual about social calls. Here are a few ways I dealt with it:

    1. Don’t answer the door. If my doorbell rings and I’m not expecting someone, I don’t answer. If you have the problem of cars outside or other evidences that you are at home, for all they know you’ve gone out for a walk. Or, if pressed, you could truthfully say you were busy and just assumed, since you weren’t expecting them, that it was a salesman. There is no law about answering if the doorbell rings. Same for phones.

    2. It’s possible you might have to have a direct, but light conversation where you mention you are trying to do better about planning ahead of time — that life gets busier for all of us, and you are making an effort to stick to a schedule based on your priorities. Ask if they could help you with this. People actually usually love to be asked for help. (See this blog for details on time blocking: http://sweeticedtea.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/tuesday-tip-values-timeblocking/) My guess is if you have this happen regularly, you’ve in some way accommodated them in the past, so as Ms. Post mentioned, your priorities DO include them — just at another time when you’ve planned for it. You’ll both enjoy each other more.

    3. It might do to make a quick note for yourself on your calendar after they’ve gone or someway of knowing when they stopped by. Perhaps they have patterns that will become evident — when they have free time, are in the area, or are lonely — which you could either plan for, by heading them off earlier in the day with a phone call, or meet them at the door, keys in hand, saying, “I was just about to head out — want to grab a cup of coffee on my way to the grocery/practice/church/whatever?” Then, grab your coffee, and head to your next location. They are out and about and away from your stoop is the point.

  3. DL Clark

    I get very annoyed when people from my church just show up at my door without a call or note. My family are temporarily in a location, and will be moving soon. Our furniture and belongings are in a storage facility, and we are giving my husband the opportunity to further his career and gain his PMP. We have made this clear, and yet, today two women came by, and I think they will be back tomorrow! I am unable to entertain now, nor feel so inclined at this time, as we are anxious to move back to Frisco, Tx, our home. I have some health issues that I am coping with until that time, and do not feel that I need to explain this to my church, despite their kindness, and efforts to know why I am unable to attend church some times. I was raised with manners, and at 51, I do not feel like I need to be put upon by those who are not trained, or try to show respect towards others privacy. I hope that my feelings are not too harsh, as I love to serve, yet right now, I do not feel well, and need some down time. I have several surgeries in the near future with rejection from TVT mesh, and abdominal adhesions from surgeries to ablate a tumor, then, remove the kidney.

    • Elizabeth

      DL, you have perfectly good reasons for not wanting to entertain. When these women show up, you don’t have to let them in. When you open the door, plant yourself squarely in front of it. Exchange pleasantries without moving, then say, “Well, thank you for stopping by! Unfortunately, I’m not able to entertain right now. Please do call first in the future, I’d hate for you to waste a trip!” You could also call the pastor or whichever lady is in charge of sending people to visit the sick or homebound. You could explain that, while you appreciate the effort, you would rather not have visits for the time being.

  4. Deb

    We have friends that we have known for years and they always drop in unannounced. They will stay for hours and usually show up at meal time. Through the years though we have heard them make comments about other friends of theirs. How they like to go at meal time because the wife is a great cook. Also, how they do not want anyone to drop in with out a call and will tell them in no uncertain terms that they don’t appreciate it. Yet, they do it to us. We have over the course of the last few years asked them nicely every time they just show up to please call us so we can be better prepared for their visit. They simply will not honor this request and will even make joking comments when they arrive like, we know you don’t like drop in company, oh well. With a big smile. It has really made us feel completely disrespected and yes we take blame because when they do show up we don’t turn them away. By the way they never invite us for anything.

    They did it again this weekend on my husband while I was away. Yesterday, the wife called and I said I need to talk to you about something that is awkward for me. I said we have repeatedly asked you very nicely several times to please call us before you come by. I said we enjoy your company (not so much lately), but it makes it awkward for us when you just show up. I asked her why. She got so mad at me. She started yelling at me and actually hung up on me. Then she called back and told me that they didn’t know they needed an appointment and do we require our other friends to make an appointment before they come. This turned into a huge scene. I made a point of not raising my voice to her and told her that as friends we should be able to speak calmly to each other, but she wouldn’t have it. She told me that I had a chip on my shoulder and that I didn’t have to worry about them ever showing up at our door again. I’ve got to admit that while I hate that this happened I am beginning to feel like we aren’t losing much.

    • Michelle

      Good for you for speaking up!
      It’s their loss; definitely not yours.
      Those people have no manners and simply use others at meal time; how pathetic.

  5. I have (had) a lifetime friend (high school friend) & we are now in our 60’s. For years my friend became progressively intrusive. Maybe in the early years it did not have an effect on me. Granted, we have been through everything together – children, divorce, school reunions, including each moving to another state. That did not deter her intrusion. If she drove through town, she thought nothing of stopping by – always unannounced, even when we hadn’t seen each other in over two years. Over the years, I came to see and know, that my friend is lacking social ettiquette! Not only that, she has no respect for me. When her actions became more than I wanted to experience, again, I ceased answering her phone messages and emails. It was never just about her dropping by – she would butt into my private matters and her bluntness often left me totally speechless! I was able to sever the ties with this lady — who it turns out, of course, had changed from the person I knew in HS. I don’t miss her and I don’t feel guilty. I gave her years of being a “sounding board” for her… I’m sure, with her personality, she is making someone else’s life miserable at this very moment.

  6. Michelle

    I have very unusual sleeping patterns due to serious health issues.
    Sleeping is a challenge to begin with and unannounced visitors is my biggest pet peeve.

    People who know me are aware of this and I kindly tell people to always call before coming over. Yet, they simply don’t care and stop by announced anyway.

    I disconnected the doorbell because it was such a huge problem.
    They still don’t get it because they’ll bang loudly on the front door.

    I no longer answer the door if I am not expecting guests. I think it is down right rude for people to assume their presence will be welcomed. NOT!

  7. Abaddon

    I despise unannounced drop ins. My significant other’s people do it all the time and I really can’t stand it. The house is small. When people come over, they will be underfoot and its incredibly annoying when they just drop by. I have cats. They almost never close the door behind them. Plus I love my privacy and incredibly resent having to share my space with these fkng clods whenever they decide to show up. My people know to call first and I do the same for them. When I move out back into my own place in a few months, this is going to be one of the things I’m going to love not having to deal with.

    • Alicia

      I’d talk first to your significant other and then to his people. I really dont get the drop in thing as nobody has ever done it to me not in an emergency. However, talk to your significant other then with his agreement come to some house rules including maybe call before unless it is an emergency.

  8. Jay

    I was at a social function when a friend suggested to another guest that I could assist her with a financial issue as I am a CPA. After listening to her I told her that it sounded like she needed a lawyer not an accountant and I could not help her.

    Unannounced and uninvited she started to show up at my door with all her paperwork in hand. When I did not invite her in, (I was in the yard that time) she started to spread her papers all over the hood of her car. The showing up started to happened too much and I even asked our mutual friend to speak with her and to ask her to stop. I won’t go into all the times she interrupted my plans and interfered with my family time doing this, I did give her my phone number so perhaps she could go to my office but no, at my home it was each time with no advance phone call. Finally she went away, this took about 4 months.

    Now a year later she is back!

    She drove by my home yesterday while I was in the front and realized we have had a pool installed, she seemed thrilled. She said she babysat her neighbors kids and would love to bring them over. When she stopped her car to say hi and saw the pool I DID NOT extend an invitation! She then suggested they would just use my backyard pool when I was not home – who does this????!!! I quickly said this would not be acceptable. Tonight she showed up – no phone call – with a car full of kids! Again who does this??!! My son told me she was in the driveway so I walked out – as the kids were getting out of the car I firmly told her that right now was not a good time, they could not use our pool that I had 5 mins to finishing mowing the lawn and we needed then to get to ball practice – all true.

    I expect she will be back, uninvited and unannounced, and with children. She’s not a friend, but we have mutual friends so I cannot be rude to her. I’m guessing it is because she does not work that she doesn’t understand how busy people who do especially if they have houses to maintain and children. I do not want strangers in my backyard, I do not want the liability of other peoples uninvited children in my pool! We have dogs and I do not want anyone letting them out by leaving gates open. I can’t deal with months of her again, it was so frustrating.

    What do I do?

    • Alicia

      This is beyond the line. I’d talk to the mutual friends they may be able to reason with her and get her to back off and possibly get her to get some mental help. Failing that I would thrhreten her with a restraining order and possibly even get one. She needs help.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I agree with Alicia. Unfortunately etiquette only works on people with shame, and this person doesn’t seem to have any. Just so you know, I unfortunately know from experience that you can’t get a restraining order against someone unless it is a domestic issue or the person has already been arrested for harrassment. If it comes to it, you may need to press charges so any record of these events you can gather would be helpful. The police will likely want to give her a warning the first time by way of a harrassment report, which may or may not be enough to bring her to her senses. After that, you can encourage the police to charge her and request a restraining order.

    • Elizabeth

      Wow. I think this woman’s antics have gone beyond the pale of what you could reasonably tolerate. She sounds like a nut! I would stop worrying about being rude, this person is clearly not getting the message in the more roundabout or subtle ways that you are trying to communicate. (Not that I think you’re being unclear, she just seems clueless.) I would recommend that you prepare a short speech that you can have ready next time she stops by. Something like, “Ruth, I do not want you stopping by my house anymore. We are not friends, and I do not appreciate your showing up her unannounced. You are not welcome to use the pool, so please stop asking and please stop coming here.” It is not rude to be blunt, especially to someone that is basically cornering you into doing it.

    • David

      Jay, I think you will have to speak frankly and kindly to her, and have your wife present as witness.
      She may have misinterpreted your friendliness when you met through mutual friends. She sounds like a happy, well-meaning person who really wants friends. You don’t know how fragile she may be and you certainly don’t want to hurt her feelings, I’m sure. I really don’t think a restraining order or suggesting mental help are at all appropriate. Please gently tell her that she may have misunderstood the level of help you are willing or able to give her, and that you find her overly-familiar visits inappropriate. Say you look forward to seeing her again at other social functions, but please do not show up at the house again. Assure her she is a very nice person, but that you are not looking for new friends presently, as you are extremely busy with your current situation. This is difficult for anyone to do. I would script it, say it aloud first, then you’ll be well prepared for the next encounter.
      She obviously doesn’t know she’s being obnoxious, but you probably know that we have to make difficult, adult decisions that are uncomfortable and don’t fit a particular mold. Please be clear, honest and gentle. It would be good for everyone.

  9. Ann

    I live in a tiny studio apartment in NYC. Because I work from home on the phone and because I value my privacy, everyone who knows me knows that I simply will not answer my buzzer if they just drop by for a surprise visit. Calling first is a must, unless it’s an emergency. Last week a good friend from Connecticut who I haven’t seen in 5 years but who I talk with on the phone all the time, (we both like it that way for various reasons), apparently decided impulsively to drive down for a visit at around 9PM without any prior discussion at all about doing so. I was on a rather protracted business consultation call at the time and could see him trying to call me, (I have call waiting-caller id), numerous times first from his home phone and then numerous times from his cell phone. After an hour or so, someone buzzed me (which made me very nervous). The person to whom I was speaking heard it (not good) but fortunately was amenable when I asked if I could call her back. When I then called my friend on his cell phone to see if everything was ok, that’s when he told me there was nothing wrong but that he’d driven down to the city to see me. I politely explained that I was working, and then he tried to bribe me by telling me he had cash for me. (weird or what?) When I again said it was a bad time and that I couldn’t buzz him up, he told me to just come downstairs to say hi for a second and then I could go back upstairs. I again apologized but said I simply couldn’t do that because I was working. He then said okay and drove back home. Well, he has since yelled at me on a couple of occasions about how enraged he is at me about that, about wasting the gas, etc. At ME! I think his response is completely inappropriate bordering on psychotic! If anything, he should be apologizing, shouldn’t he? But I’ve yet to receive one, which is actually highly uncharacteristic of him by the way. If ANYONE should be angry in this situation, it should be ME, shouldn’t it? Yet I was nothing but polite with him, said I’m sorry a number of times, (until he went into his raging routine). He has only himself to blame for choosing to do something like driving down from another state for a surprise visit to me when: a)there would’ve always been a chance I was busy or not even home and b)he KNOWS I absolutely do not tolerate that sort of thing — from anyone. It almost seems as if he was testing my boundaries trying to assert his will in the situation, and then got angry because he COULDN’T. That’s fine. But put the blame where it belongs: on yourSELF, not on me. Because I certainly didn’t invite him. Bizarre or what? Should I be worried?

    • Vanna Keiler

      Ann, from reading your post I would most definitely be worried, mostly because of his “rage” response, which no one should tolerate, either sexes. I would also consider ending the friendship, based on lack of mutual respect at this point. On a basic level, without respect there really is no friendship. I think your friend did a few things which were not only unusual for him, but unwelcome from your view. I would guess he did try to test the boundaries of your friendship, which is “not cool”, as they say. Friends don’t put other friends in compromising positions or situations. I would let the friendship wind down and let it end, if it has not already. Good luck.

    • Greg

      You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing. It was absurd for him to assume you’d be there for his ill fated fantasy trip. Anyone with a shred of social consideration would know such a visit should be agreeable to both parties whether you’re working or not. As for his clownish antics they show a serious lack of maturity. You don’t owe him any explanation for not answering the door and his childish behavior is what his apology should be for. However, considering his record of reckless planning, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for any sign of remorse. Good luck. Greg

  10. Ronald

    I have a few relativs who come over unannounced at all random times of the day and evening. Never any phone call or any warning. what makes matters worse is my grandmother gave them a key to the house for emergencies and they completely abuse it. I live with her and am her caregiver. I never know when they are going to barge in out of the blue and make themselves at home like they own the place no matter what is going on. I have tried to get them to wait to be let in at least but they made the biggest commotion over it, essentially bullying. My grandmother gets extremely upset at the slightest bit of conflict and they all know this and take full advantage of it. After months of being on the recieving end of quite a lot of bullying attempts over it I finally did get them to at least ring the door bell as they are coming know. Which they do sometimes. If it were just up to me I would just change all of the locks and no one have a key. But they play on Ole grandma’s emotional issues. Has anyone ever had a situation like this? How did you deal with it?

    • Alicia

      ” Oh I’m so sorry this is a bad time. Such a shame you did not call ahead. You are going to have to leave now.” Gracefully escort them to the door, wave goodbye. Sounds like they are pushy so this may take a few times to sink in. Then invite them to visit at other times so it is not that they are being pushed out of grandmas life.
      Firm but polite spine

    • Elizabeth

      Deadbolts. The sliding kind. No keys, so it won’t do them any good to use theirs. Also, you are the caregiver; if your grandmother refuses to respect your rights to respectful behavior from your relatives, then she doesn’t deserve your help. Let her get along without you; she’ll either find someone else or change her ways. I didn’t let my own mother treat me like that, so I’m not giving you advice I wouldn’t take myself.

  11. David

    This seems less of an etiquette problem and more of one based on how you are perceived by the relatives. Do they see you as a live-in maid? Are you? What authority do you actually have in the household? These questions should be asked of your grandmother and your role then needs to be explained to the relatives. Sitting face to face and discussing this problem with all involved is the only solution.

    • Vanna Keiler

      I agree with David completely. Perhaps you need to explore the reasons for these impromptu visits and address them with the family so you can all move forward. Perhaps it may be time for you to become the caregiver in official terms e.g. legally. Do realize that the family has a stake in the well-being of your grandmother and their visits may be to check up on her and her care. She may also actually encourage/like the visits. Unfortunately, it is her home, she is of sound mind at this point and there is not much you can do without their cooperation to keep them out. Etiquette-wise, I gather she would be the only one who could suggest more appropriate times to visit her home unfortunately.

  12. Carol

    I have been going out to dinner with a guy for several months (we are older retired people) & the other night he told me he was going to drop something off in the morning & to call him when i woke up. That same night i am sitting there in my nightgown all relaxed & watching tv & he rang the doorbell!!! I was really aggravated & said i’m not dressed but i will crack the door & then he passed the stuff through & said by & left. He has a cell phone so he could have called or text me but he just showed up & then was mad at me for not letting him in!!! I thought this was really rude as he had already said he would be by the next day! DUH! What is with people like that???

    • Lyn

      I think sometimes there is a little bit of a control aspect. I, too am older and the guy I am dating can be bad about that too. He actually showed up at my workplace one afternoon after I told him I had other plans after work. He said we can go to dinner, then you can do what you need to do. I was very firm in saying “no” I already told you I had other plans. He didn’t like it too much, but it has taken me years to not just “go along with what other people have for me to do” and I don’t plan to give that up.

  13. Lyn

    I also despise people who drop in. My job requires all day interaction with people and my home is my only place of peace. With everyone having cell phones these days and odd work schedules, I think it is incredibly rude for people to just “drop in”. I always have projects going at home and like to work at my own pace on my days off. I may stay up all night and sleep in or I may be in the middle of a good book or a project that requires my undivided attention. My motto is “if you don’t respect me enough to call first, then don’t be upset if I don’t respect you enough to answer the door”

  14. Ysabel

    My mom lives with me. I have a sister and a brother who shows up uninvited to “visit her”… I am clompletely ignored in my own house and so is my boyfriend who lives with me and pays 1/2 of the bills. I am tire, I don’t want to hurt my mom’s feelings hurt but this is out of control… AND mom cooks for them so they can eat in my house…. what do you think this can be handled???

    • Alicia

      You, your boyfriend, your mom, and anyone else that lives in the house need to come to a mutual agreement over guests in the house and dinner guests.

  15. dawpa74

    Hello I have to vent and am grateful to find this page. hubby and I brought a property on small acreage 2 years ago which needed complete renovation. This was a life style change for us and we have spent a lot of blood, sweat, tears, time and money to achieve OUR dream home. My husband works full time and works long hard hours and I too work parttime plus look after our livestock. Our weekends are always busy, with animals or work that needs doing round the farm. We never seem to stop and spend time by ourselves. Ever since we have moved in we have been bombarded with friends inviting themselves up for long weekends. Since we live 6 hours from where we used to live they of course have to make their trip away worth while. At first hubby and I entertained our friends (there are many) who clearly wanted to pop up and be nosy and see what we had done to our house. But my hubby and I love our own company and we are starting to really dread another visit from yet another family who wants to see us. We feel awful but its begining to feel we are running a non profitable B&B and free for all recreation park. we don’t enjoy it. We always feel pressured to “provide enterainment” for the kids (albeit pony rides, cuddles with the animals, tractor rides, shooting targets, free beer and food) The families all come up and we have only a small house and one small spare room. Its a tight squeeze but yet that does not put people off? Even when our bathroom was being renovated it didn’t seem to bother anyone. I can always guarantee something gets broken by the kids and not replaced by the parents. Some want to bring their motorbikes to ride around the property (which we say no to, our neighbours and livestock would hate that)We have dogs and always feel we have to lock them up so the kids don’t get scared. If it was a one day visit we would not mind but a long weekend is too much. We don’t feel relaxed at all and feel so exhausted by the end of it.Eeveryone else goes home happy and having enjoyed there stay so much they can’t wait to come back.Please can someone offer some advise, as we are dreading phonecalls, avoiding emails and turning into grumpy recluses. How can we politely say WE DON’T WANT ANY VISITORS!!!! especially familes with young kids.?????? please help??????

    • Elizabeth

      It sounds as if you are simply having trouble saying no! Next time someone calls and says “We were thinking of coming up to visit you this weekend!” You can simply say, “Sorry, unfortunately this weekend isn’t going to work for us.” “We have plans.” (No one needs to know your plans are to sit around and enjoy some quiet! You could also say to the persistent ones, “We’ve had a lot of guests up lately, and while we do enjoy it, we’re a bit exhausted from all the excitement. We’ve decided to hold off on guests for the next three months just to catch our breath.”

      If they call again in three months, “I’m sorry, next month is really busy for us.” “We can’t do it that weekend, sorry.” “We liked the peace and quiet so much, we decided to treat ourselves to three more guest-free months!”

      And, if you really want to throw them for a loop: “We were thinking of coming down to visit you actually, how’s this weekend?”

      • dawpa74

        Thank you so much Elizabeth, you are right, we do have trouble saying no to people. We just find it so hard to say no without sounding so selfishly rude. To be honest we have tried the “we are busy” method but that only works for so long as these guys are determined!!! LOL, and as for visiting them, No way!!! we would rather pay and stay in a B&B as we like our own space and Our friends still don’t take the hint!!! at this rate Im going to mention the rather nice local tourist park down the road LOL. Thank you for replying. Had a bad morning following “the phone call” last night, feel better now after a vent.

        • Jody

          Elizabeth’s suggestions are excellent. I’m like you Dawpa — find it hard to say “no,” and when I do people often act offended. If you tell people “no” in a pleasant tone of voice they’ll have no reason to be offended; after all, it’s *your* place and *your* time. If people just show up at your door, you may need to be more forceful — something like “sorry we can’t ask you to stay, there’s a nice park/inn/B&B up the road.” Good luck and I’m sorry people are treating your place as a free vacation spot.

        • Elizabeth

          It really isn’t rude to say no. Actually, your friends are the rude ones for putting you on the spot like that and acting entitled to your hospitality. “We’re just not up for guests right now.” is a perfectly valid excuse. That in combination with “But, check out the tourist park if you want to come to the area, and we’d love to meet you for dinner while you’re in town!” should be all you need. You may need to be more blunt with the more persistent ones. I would recommend figuring out in advance how you want to handle those people. You and your husband could role play to see what you’re most comfortable with. But remember: if these people are going to get angry with you for simply wanting to enjoy your own home in peace, they aren’t very good friends and you may be well rid of them!

    • casey

      Sometimes you just have to be blunt and state exactly what you are feeling – who needs friends or family that does this? Put it back on them – People who do this have no respect for themselves!! Treat them like they treat you!!! Be blunt with no apology. Believe me, they will respect you for the first time since you are giving them the truth and not being a door mat for their stupid behavior!!!

  16. dawpa74

    You are so right guys, thank you so much. We will sit down and discuss this further and come up with a strategy plan. I want to be able to enjoy having people to stay and we have decided its definately the young families that we find the hardest. Its not that we don’t like young children, we do, just in small doses. Our poor daughter always ends up being babysitter too which she and we hate. Anyway I will suggest they stay at the tourist park and see how they respond to that..thank you ever so much, I really do know the answers it was just lovely to vent and now need to be confident enough to stand up for ourselves… 😀

  17. Samantha

    Thank goodness I found this page. I have the same problem for this past few weeks; people come unannounced. To be exact, my bestfriend, whom I think are no longer one since she is not talking to me anymore after the whole incident. I am studying abroad and I am home at the moment for my summer break so most of the time I enjoy being a successful couch potato and wearing pants has never been on the top priority. One fine morning while I was watching tv, I heard the gate was opened (stupid of me not to lock it up after my parents went to work) and a loud bang on the door. I was annoyed at first as it was utterly rude for anyone to do this (even my hardcore cousins know to knock politely) and I become more furious when I peeked through the window and I saw her out there. The house is a complete mess up, the dishes weren’t done etc and I have yet to do them as I enjoy doing them after watching my favourite soap first. She didn’t just stop there. She kept knocking and shouting my name. To my surprise, she even went parading around the house, peeking through every possible window she can find. I felt so furious and disrespected! I have to hide inside my room and just let the phone rang non stop. She went home 3 hours after that! I called her that evening to say sorry and she starts yelling at me, being mad why I didn’t open up the door for her etc. I explained that she have to call me beforehand instead of just showing up at someone’s front door and knocking like crazy.

    The week after she did the same thing. Worse, she even made plans beforehand with a friend of mine (he’s a guy that I like since forever) and they both showed up unannounced. He waited in the car but she kept banging on my door, even pulling the door handle like some mad person. I was totally furious and frustrated that she did the same thing, even worse. After they went home (I stood quiet in my room like before), I received a text message saying that we are no longer friends and she said that if I kept this kind of attitude, people will never want to be my friends. I texted that guy and was sorry for everything and he just replied that I am no longer exist in his life, just pretend that we never met.

    My question is, who is to be blame here?

    • Jody

      Samantha — it’s easy for us to “armchair quarterback” after the fact because we weren’t there at the time. If you don’t want to see people, no matter if they’re good friends or not, it’s your prerogative. I think your friend was definitely in the wrong to persist after you told her to call first and not just show up. As for banging on the door for a period of time and peering in the windows, that’s just plain rude.

      • Vanna Keiler

        I agree with Jody. Perhaps someone should point out to these type of visitors that essentially hanging around a house without permission after no one has responded to the front door knocking is deemed “trespassing”.

        There is simply no excuse for this type of behavior, and apologizing for anything would be enabling others to feel this is appropriate behavior and justified in their actions. Clearly, your friend and male friend do not respect you nor your home and I would consider it a good omen that they have declared you a non-friend. Why could not your friend call you before coming over? I think you are dealing with people who no longer respect you and your time enough to treat you like a friend, but with contempt enough to try to bully you to answer your door on their terms. It’s kind of an indication of the ending of the friendship, or at least a crisis point, where there seems to be a power play type of behavior, which does not bode well for the friendship’s outcome. Perhaps this friendship was already headed towards its end before this behavior started?

        You know that old saying: With friends like these, who needs enemies? :)

    • Deanne

      Samantha –
      I don’t think you were at all in the wrong. As Jody said, it is entirely your business how you spend your time during your break. There is nothing wrong with asking people to call ahead before coming over.
      Her behavior is suspect. Well adjusted people may do the occasional pop over, but they do not bang incessantly on the door, try the doorknob, and walk around the house peeking in windows. They also do not scream at you about changing your attitude or people would never want to be your friend.
      This strikes me as her possibly having a disturbing control issue. It is a trait often found in stalkers. I’m not saying she is one, but as I said, normal people don’t act like this.
      Her bringing your guy friend (whom I assume she knows you like) over on this second round of invading your space, without the courtesy of a call, makes me wonder if she’s not interested in him as well.
      This is very odd and I can’t help but think you’re much better off without her in your life.

    • jan

      Although I can sympathise with those who don’t appreciate drop in visitors, I am totally shocked that you hid in the house rather than answer the door when the friend called the second time. if she was banging the door like crazy and calling your name. did you consider she might of been having a crisis that needed your help?

      can I ask what would you do in a panic situation, knock or make an appointment

  18. Michelle

    I have a problem like this with my boyfriend’s niece. He and I live together. The problem isn’t her fault-she is only 14 years old. But last Friday,I was home alone. My boyfriend had gone to his Mom’s. I was upstairs,and I was scared at first because I heard someone trying to open the front door. Then later,I thought I heard the door again,so I went down and the front door was open,then his niece was in the living room. Her brother who is 6 goes to school nearby,and their Mom isn’t the greatest. I and my boyfriend don’t like her either. She had wanted her to pick him up from school. I was mad and we had issues with them coming over without calling first in the past,so my boyfriend got the key back. We don’t know how they have a key again. I told his neice that she didnt contact my boyfriend. She said her phone is broken. My boyfriend said his sisters phone is broken or off,too….. She had said last week that she was going to go wait at the park{its next to her brothers school}. My boyfriend has had issue with me taking it out on his neice and nephew by the way I act. It has just pissed me off even though it isnt their fault. Well,I had told her ok and she walked to the park. But I ended up walking there and taking some busfare for them with me. They can’t take the schoolbus,and if asked why,I can tell you. Anyway,so I needed some more sleep and had started to try to take a nap but I started hearing someone making a sound. Then I went downstairs and someone was banging on the front door,and ringing the doorbell. It very well may have been his niece again but I didn’t answer it because I honestly didn’t want to,and maybe if I don’t,maybe it won’t happen again. But I guess I did a bad thing there,and they may end up having to walk a hour home. I know that wouldn’t be good. This makes me mad,and my boyfriend is supposed to be home on fridays from now on,so he can deal with it. My boyfriend was like,she didn’t come in. True,it was a improvement. But if it was her,or if this is going to happen every week,I don’t like it.

    • Lori C

      Dear Michelle, You poor thing! Here you are trying to sleep during a work day and a Friday no less! I can’t believe your boyfriend’s 14 year old niece has the audacity to need a place to stay while she waits for her 6 year old brother to get out of school so she can ensure he gets home safely. You are totally correct to be livid at a teen who’s mother apparently doesn’t give a care about either them or whether the teen has a working phone. I don’t know why these two hooligans were back at your house again, disturbing your sleep a second time after you were so kind to walk to the park to provide each of them bus fare. If this is going to happen every Friday, you are correct your boyfriend should not leave the house so you may get your rest. The last thing you want to do is sit down and calmly discuss what you and your boyfriend can do to help his niece and nephew.

  19. SummerStorms

    What about parents? I’m 40, married with kids. My mother does call. But she says Oh, I’ll drop around in five minutes, and you’ll need to give me X (insert random item that we borrow off each other). I’m perfectly happy to give her whatever. Buuut I hate that she gives me no option. Is there any way for me to tell her this…. nicely?

  20. Lori C

    “Mom, I would really appreciate it when you call if you could ask me when would it be a convenient time to stop over and retrieve the cake pan I borrowed. And I will do the same for you.” If this is really an issue, stop borrowing her cake pan and purchase your own. Then she has no need to pop over to retrieve the borrowed item. Or return the cake pan as soon as you are finished with it. Be sure to call and ask her when would it be a convenient time to return the borrowed item.

  21. Dorissa Corbett Iavarone

    How do you deal with other people’s children, dropping by, after school, every single day-without calling? Most times, my 8 year old has just gotten in, and is having a little down time, before doing homework. They think that they can just stay, as long as they like, at my house! Most times, I have plans to go out, and don’t want to have to bring them with me! It’s really starting to get annoying! And, when they do go to their house to play, with my son included, they always come back within 15 minutes! It’s doesn’t seem fair! We don’t have a lot of toys, laying around, for them to play with, like most houses, as my hubby runs a business out of the house. Did I mention that these kids(boys) are all VERY LOUD-compared to my kids? Anyway, I am DESPARATE to know how to deal with these kids! I have tried telling my son, in front of them, that he has not done his homework, and can’t play… but, none of them seem to get the point!

    • Alicia

      Meet them at the door. “I’m sorry you can not come over to play today. ” Don’t let them in the house. Also lock the door so can’t come in unless door opened by family.

    • Elizabeth

      You are being far too passive and coy. These are children, and you are the parent in charge of your house. You should address the children directly, instead of trying to have your child deal with it.

      “Sorry, Billy won’t be available to play until later on this evening when he’s finished with his homework.”

      “Sorry kids, you’ll have to head home now, we’re heading out on some errands.”

      “Sorry kids, if you can’t stay at Alex or Jimmy’s house, you’ll have to play outside, because Dad needs some quiet time to work right now.”

      “Kids, kids! If you want to stay here, you’ll have to quiet down! Please use your indoor voices, you’re giving me a headache! Otherwise home you go!”

      “Sorry guys, new house rules: no yelling or screaming indoors, you must call before you come over, and you have to leave by 8pm.”

      These are not invited adult guests, these are uninvited children, and you, as the adult and the homeowner, have every right to correct their behavior and/or send them home.

  22. Jo

    My in-laws are the worst. My husband and I recently separated and I moved back into my mom’s house with our children. Unfortunately, that also puts us a couple of blocks away from his parents, and his siblings. They all come over unannounced, demand to see the children (when they just saw them YESTERDAY), and if my children happen to be outside playing tag or whatever, they just pull in the driveway and sit on my front porch. They even bring their big ol’ cups of sweet tea to not “put me out.” It is very infuriating to peek out the window to check on the kids and see them plopped down on the front porch! Or to be in the middle of cooking supper and all of a sudden hear their smoker cough. Disgusting. I’ve brought up the fact that this isn’t my house before and that the children have play dates and homework and supper and baths and whatever, and they just say “Oh, well, I was only driving by, but I saw ’em out and stopped to say hi for a minute! I guess I lost track of time.” I can’t ask my kids to stay inside, and I shouldn’t have to. HELP.

    • Lori C

      If you children are not outside playing in the yard, and your in laws are truly coming by your parents house unannounced, knocking on the door and demanding to see the children, you may tell the in laws this is not a good time for a visit, please call first next time and close the door. If the children are outside playing and the in laws drive by and stop to say hello that is fine. What is not fine is parking the car, getting out and sitting on your parents porch without permission. This is your parents house. Your parents should be be the ones to insist the in laws stop trespassing. I suggest you ask your in laws when it would be convenient for them to have the kids visit at their house. Surely they can sit on their own porches, drink sweet tea and interact with the kids and not be a bother to your or your parents a couple of times a week.

    • Elizabeth

      I think you should just proceed with your schedule as if the in-laws aren’t there. If it’s time for homework, dinner, or the bath, then simply call the kids in and say “sorry, it’s time for dinner.” If you want to take a harder line, then every time they come over, just go outside, call the kids in, and say, “I’ve asked you before to call before coming here. Please leave. If you want to see the kids Sunday, please call and let’s arrange something.” Just because they are outside interacting with your kids, doesn’t mean you have to allow it.

      On the bright side, it is nice that the family cares about the kids so much and wants to see them. I doubt they do this to annoy you.

  23. Barbara

    My husband and I have been married two years. We are both age 72. My husband has two step children…grown from his former marriage. His former wife is deceased. Their were no other kids . Only hers. My husband is very passive. This is important to know.

    His step children, mostly the daughter……drops by with no warning . I told my husband to tell her to call first to set up a day to visit. He did call her. However, he said call before you come. She sent a text…he does n’t pay attention to texts and showed up anyway so scrub that idea. Now it it is not her fault. This time. It is his fault for not using the correct wording in his request.
    He called her again. She said she is not going to call first. Well…..need I say I was furious. I was not raised without social graces. This girl has none. She is very self centered and any conversation with her is one sided. Her side…while we sit and listen to her constant chatter in a loud voice.
    I have dealt with this for the two years of our marriage. And so, now I am done. I told her in a letter as politely as I could the rules in this house are no longer as they were when her mother was here. Now…they are my rules for our convenience not hers. I said to her that if you do not wish to call your other choice is to make arrangements with your step dad to have him to your house or meet for lunch. I have distanced myself from the “family dinners, etc already due to the drama. My husband is free to do whatever he wants with his extended family, however.
    The past year and a half has been stressful due to my husband having cancer and I do not need this nonsense in my life. I like my privacy. I do not especially like visitors anyway. These people seem to think it is fine to visit any time they choose and with my husband being passive and used to their ignorance, does not seem to be bothered by any of it. So, I had to be the bad cop here. Of course none of his family likes me, but this bothers me not at all. So now….Thank you for listening and now….I have a letter to mail. Sometimes an old fashioned hand written letter has more power than a phone call.

    • Jody

      Barbara, it seems to me that you’ve done everything you could. Sometimes people don’t take polite hints and you need to hit them with a figurative sledgehammer. It’s important that with your husband’s illness, you and he deserve your rest.

    • Elizabeth

      I think it is up to you and your husband to negotiate and come up with a unified front. I can understand your desire for more privacy and notice for visits. However, this was the kids’ house growing up, and their father still lives there. If he is happy to have drop in visits, then I can’t see that it is rude for the daughter to do something her father enjoys. I’m sure the daughter can sense you don’t like her and don’t like having people in your home. Unfortunately it is not only your home, and everyone needs to make some compromises. The daughter likely sees you as a latecomer to the family, and as someone who is trying to interfere with her relationship with her father, and I’m not sure I’d blame her for that assessment. Why don’t you take her aside nicely and say that you are glad that she and her father are close, and that you want to help facilitate their relationship. However, you are also protective of your own privacy, and you would like to ask her to call in advance (tell her how long in advance you’d like), and that she can call either her father or you. That way, you can have a pot of tea on, cookies in the oven, or some other nice that that would make her feel at home. You will get a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar. Be nice to this girl, recruit her as your ally. Otherwise she will simply see you as the enemy and circumvent you, which sounds like it wouldn’t be that difficult given your husband’s passivity.

      The other option, of course, is to take up nudism. The first time she walks in and sees you naked sitting on the couch watching tv will be the last time she drops in unannounced!

      • Barbara

        Elizabeth thank you so much for your reply. I should have mentioned this is not the family home. Kids were not raised here at all. I have already tried all your suggestions.
        These are not biological children by the way. She has plainly stated she will not call first. She has issues and has no social graces. Friends have dropped her over the passed few years because she wants to control them. Etc, etc. I could go on but you get the picture. She is very negative and does not like anyone to have an opinion except for hers. My husband understands my feelings. Otherwise, there will be no more tea, or honey coming from me until she corrects her inappropriate behaviour. Enough is enough. My feelings will not be hurt if she stays away. I will not tolerate any further rudeness from her. But thank you for your feelings. I understand what you said would work with those who have common sense.

        • Elizabeth

          I’m sorry to hear that you are dealing with such a difficult person. Plan B then – nudism! In all seriousness, I wish you the best of luck.

    • Deanne

      Good for you for writing and sending that letter, Barbara. Your need for privacy and for your boundaries to be respected are very understandable.
      It’s too bad because this doesn’t sound like it needs to be contentious. I didn’t hear you saying you didn’t want your husband’s step children to visit, but rather that you just want them to show you the courtesy of arranging a time first.
      Their step father is in a new marriage and is going through a rough time medically. No matter how they feel about you, you’d think they would respect him enough to not bring about a stressful situation.
      I wish you both the best and I hope it works out for you.

  24. Deanne

    This is a hot button issue for me. I was raised that you always ask in advance when would be a good time to visit someone.
    We are a military family and have lived in many different places over the years. I have dealt with the issue of unannounced visits at every single duty station.
    When I was a young woman with babies, I hated people coming over at any given time, waking the kids from their naps, etc. Unfortunately, I hadn’t developed the ability to advocate for myself at that time. I would just ‘grin and bear it’, all the while feeling resentful.
    As time went on, I would just not answer if someone showed up unannounced. This worked with most people, but there was this one person who, I guess, had decided to make me her ‘project’. Now, I was in my mid 30’s at this point, had been a military wife for over a decade, and was a fully capable adult. For some reason though this woman glommed onto me. We knew each other casually through our husbands’ work. She started coming by unannounced. I didn’t particularly care for her as she had an odd vibe. I did my usual and didn’t answer the door. The first time this happened, she gave up and left after ringing and knocking for a bit. A few days later, however, she was back again. Once more, I ignored the door. Instead of leaving though she started banging on the door and shouting, “I know you’re in there!” and going around looking in the windows and banging on them. Finally, my friend and neighbor (it was a duplex) opened her door and told her that I wasn’t at home (even though she knew I was). The woman left in a huff. I discussed the situation with my friend and she expressed concern over the woman’s frankly bizarre behavior.
    She called me that evening to chew me out for not being there for her visit. I was very nervous because I hate confrontation, but I hated the feeling of being trapped in my home whenever she decided to come around even more.
    I told her that I was not available nor had I been expecting her. I told her I had spoken to my friend who she’d talked to earlier. I said that I didn’t appreciate her banging on the door and windows, bothering my neighbors, and that I thought it best if we didn’t have contact any longer. Thankfully, she backed off, but for the rest of the time our husbands worked together, every time we were around them at a work function she would look at me like I was crazy. It takes all kinds.
    Happily, I am much better about standing up for myself now. My close friends know to contact me before coming over. If somebody starts in with the unannounced visits, I open the door and speak to them as they stand on the front stoop. I ask them politely to please call before coming over. Luckily, I haven’t had a problem here. (Knock wood)
    Just last week we had some new people over. The woman mentioned how she would like to get together with me for coffee during the day. I agreed that would be nice but that it might be a bit before we could schedule a time as I currently have a work project I’m committed to, and which is taking a lot of my time. She kind of laughing said that surely I could fit in a coffee during the coming week. I replied that, unfortunately, I could not. She then said, “I’m not above just showing up at your doorstep” to which my dear husband (I love that man) said, “Nope, don’t do that. She does not appreciate that at all.” She looked taken aback, but hopefully she’ll listen.
    I don’t understand the ‘I’ll just show up’ mentality and I never will.
    Sorry for the novel! :)

    • Lori C

      I’m guessing there are people who grew up in neighborhoods or had families where it was acceptable to just drop by unannounced anytime and you would be greeting with open arms, cake and coffee. These folks think everyone is like this and that is why they think it is OK to drop in for a visit. However, once someone asks you to please call first in order to schedule a time to visit, that request should be honored.

      Now, the woman who kept pounding on your door and yelling, “I know you’re in there” has a couple of screws loose. Who does that??

      • Deanne

        Lori, she definitely had a couple of screws loose. She was not a popular gal in the community and after that little run in with her I could see why!

  25. J Alston

    I do not accept uninvited guests at my home. I’m constantly intruded upon by family members and friends. I have stated on numerous occasions that I do not like pop ups. To continue to pop up is absolutely disrespectful, inconsiderate and self centered. I only ask for the courtesy of a phone call,? how hard is that? There’s no justification for unannounced visits when told not to do so. I simply do not answer the door and carry on about my business as if they were not there. People may find that to be rude but it’s not! rude is barging in on someone and not respecting their wishes to a home they pay the bills in. Rude is also having the audacity to pop up with others! You cannot invite yourself to someone else’s residence without their permission. This isn’t the stone age we have cell phones. No excuse! Now you’ve planned my day for me, what I have to do does not matter to you because it’s all about you. I have to cater, feed, entertain your presence. I don’t care if someone see’s the vehicle outside that’s none of their business, and why are you clocking my whereabouts? If you did not call you will not get in. Simple as that.

  26. Natalie

    I am 39 and a new mother of a 2 1/2 year old and a 6 month old. I had back surgery (emergency due to bladder malfunction) half way through my second pregnancy. The disk reherniated 3 weeks later and is still herniated. I am both physically and mentally a bit fragile right now. My father~in~law has tried to pin us down for every Sunday a long visit since we had our first child. He now is popping by on the weekend unannounced to see HIS grandchildren. He comes and stays several hours. Go ahead and blame me for this but we told him he can stop by anytime not realizing that he would not call first and not knowing he was going to do it all of the time. I.am not usually a complainer but my back is so bad and I am housebound with the kids all week while my husband works and I had a meltdown today over this father in law issue. Someone please help me with what to say. He is not going to take kindly to me saying that yes we said you could come anytime but we meant no you actually can’t. I also don’t think my husband is on my side with this. Thank you

    • Alicia

      Talk to your husband first. Because until both adults of the house are on the same page it will not change. Once your husband and you have decided what you both want. Is it call ahead is it regular scheduled visits whatever it is you two decide and then present the new plan and a united front. But firat you and husband need to figure out what united front you are presenting.

    • Lori C

      You are under no obligation to entertain anyone that pops by unannounced. Even if your father in law calls first, until your health improves, it will never be a good time to schedule a visit. So, talk with your husband. He needs to step up and be at home to handle the pop in visits if he refuses to ask his father to call first. You continue doing what you were doing. If your husband doesn’t, feel free to let your father in law know he needs to entertain himself. And continue doing what you were doing. Is there any reason grandpa can’t take the older child on an outing ?

      You sound overwhelmed. Please see about getting some daily help during the week caring for the children until you recover.

  27. Jennifer

    Nothing is more annoying than a person who invites themselves to sleep over at your house, often with no warning. I have a colleague who often does this and it makes me very angry. We are barely even friends! After a workplace event or someone else`s party she waits until the last minute and says `oh I have nowhere else to stay tonight (she lives in a different town) so can I crash at yours?`. Of course this makes it very hard to say no if she has nowhere else to go, but the problem is that she believes finding accommodation is other people`s problem and never organises anything in advance. I mean seriously, if you`re going to be in a different town late at night, and you know this weeks in advance, why would you not arrange something before the event so you don`t inconvenience anyone? It`s gotten to the stage where I avoid going to things I know she will be at because I know she will pop the dreaded question. Sometimes if I`m feeling assertive I say no and make up an excuse but this in itself is stressful for me because I don`t like to be put in such a position. When I say no to her I feel like I should tell her the reason but sometimes it`s hard to make up an excuse on the spot. Home is a place of quiet and peace for me and I simply do not enjoy people I don`t know so well invading my personal space. To me it`s extremely intrusive. I live alone and my tiny apartment is set up just the way I want it, it takes work to make it guest-ready. I hate when people invite themselves over when I`m expected to drop everything to entertain them.

    • Jody

      Jennifer, I so agree with that. I live alone, but I have a 2-bedroom apartment and things are arranged just as I like them (including the craft room in the second bedroom). Now I rarely even invite people over, one person ruined it for me. I thought he’d be fairly self-sufficient but not really; he doesn’t like alarm clocks so he wanted me to wake him up, he thought it was “stupid” that my condo’s pool closed when it did, he was put out when another friend (just back from a long trip) was too tired to go out at night.

    • Lori C

      I suggest: I’m sorry but I am unable to accommodate you. Thanks for understanding. Her: But I don’t have anywhere else to stay! You: I am sorry, but i am unable to accommodate you. Her: But whyyyyyyy??? You: I am sorry, I am unable to accommodate you. Repeat as needed. Don’t let these types keep you from attending events. You under no obligation to make up an excuse. Practice saying this out loud with a friend so you will be comfortable and confident when the moocher tries to guilt you into an overnight stay.

  28. Susan

    I just had a fight with my partner about this issue. Her co-worker and weirdo husband and boundary-less children stopped by unannounced at our house after we had come home from a day of skiing and i was watching March Madness games to see who would get into the final four. I got up to greet them in the kitchen but they did not acknowledge my presence as co-worker intruder was in the middle of a work story. I went back to the couch and continued watching the game which was very exciting. When they finally left, after sitting in the living room where i was watching the game and talking over the game, my partner accused me of being rude for not entertaining them. I thought it was rude of them to show up uninvited and leave the front door open. We got in fight over it, and i felt even more resentful that the intruders ruined my sunday afternoon. both my partner and i work long hours in stressful jobs dealing with other people’s problems. my home is my sanctuary and i don’t feel like i need to entertain rude weirdos who show up unannounced. I am glad to see i am not alone, and not the rude one.

    • Elizabeth

      It is absolutely rude for that family to show up unannounced. You and your partner should discuss how you will handle it in the future. It is possible that she felt she could not deny them entry, and would have liked your help in entertaining them so she didn’t have to bear the burden alone. You might have called her upstairs to have a quick private chat. You both could have decided to humor them for 20 minutes, then said “Well, thanks for stopping by. We have a bunch of chores to do, though, and we need to get to them. Hope you have a great rest of your Sunday!” Your partner can definitely politely say to her coworker, “It was great seeing you on Sunday. However, in the future, please give us a call first before stopping by.”

    • Lori C

      What if this co-worker had called first? Would your partner had told the co-worker it was OK to come over? What if your partner wanted them to come over and you didn’t? It is hard for your partner to say no when she wants to say no?

      Even though it was incorrect for these people to show up unannounced, it would have been nice for you to figure out a way to support your partner and together figure out a way to show this folks the door. You are not in the clear. You made no attempt to make the best out of a bad situation and seem to be blaming your partner for allowing the situation. Please calmly talk this out and have a game plan for the next time this happens. Clueless people who stop by unannounced will do it again. Even if your partner has a conversation with the co-worker about calling first, there is no guarantee the request will be honored.

  29. Mike

    Just had the worst Easter. My wife and I were hosting Easter for the first time in our tiny house. I’m in my late 30’s and my wife is early 40’s and we have a daughter who is 2.3. Invited to this dinner were 3 family members on my wife’s side and my stepson (21) and his girlfriend home from college. We were also celebrating my mother in laws birthday.
    About an hour before dinner my mother and stepfather show up unannounced to “surprise” us. They live about 6 hours away and decided to drive up. It was nice to see them and timing was perfect because the showed up about an hour before dinner. But then it was time to serve dinner and they were not leaving. While they did not expect to eat (they showed up with full bellies on purpose), they insisted on quietly sitting on our couch while we the rest of us ate dinner in the next room. My house is so small that the living room and kitchen are essential one room separated by a half wall. So it was really awkward. We have a small kitchen table and there was no room for them to sit with us. I ended up pulling my mom aside in the middle of dinner and did everything to explain how awkward this was and how I was really happy to see her but she should have called. She did not see it that way. She drove all this way to see HER granddaughter on Easter. I offered to try to make some time the next day but she said they were leaving early in the am. I essentially had to kick her out because she was not taking the hint. I have never had to do something like this and now I feel awful. But I feel angry that I was even put in this position. The rest of my night was ruined and I could not get out of my head to enjoy the company that was invited. They could all hear us arguing. It was embarrassing. Was I wrong to ask her to leave? This feels awful.

    • Elizabeth

      Mike, I sympathize with the position you were put in. I have also experienced the extreme awkwardness of having dinner for people, but one or two said they were already full and just sat on the couch while the others ate. It was uncomfortable to say the least.

      Your situation was compounded by the fact that you didn’t know your mother was coming, and that she drove quite a ways to be there. If it were me, I probably wouldn’t have asked her to leave. I might have put on the TV and tried to enjoy dinner the best I could. She probably would have joined in for dessert or coffee. While it probably made your company feel a little weird that she was there, it probably made them feel even stranger knowing that you asked her to leave. The one silver lining is that she will never just drop in on you again! And I cannot understand her logic that it had to be a “surprise”. She could have also made things a little less awkward by offering to go out shopping or driving for an hour, and returning for dessert.

      At this point, what is done is done, and I think you just have to forward knowing that she put you in a difficult position and you did the best you could.

      • Mike

        Thank you Elizabeth for taking the time to write back. i appreciate what you said and think you are pretty spot on. It kills me to hear that most people I tell this story to would not have asked her to leave, but what is done is done. I just wish she never put me in that position to begin with. Thanks again

        • Lori C

          Please be sure to have another conversation with your mother and stepfather about them thinking it was OK for drive six hours to drop by unannounced. Do not feel bad when you make it perfectly clear they must call first to be sure it is convenient for them to visit. If she pulls a stunt like this again because she decides she wants to see HER granddaughter, she will be turned away at the door. Follow through do not back down. This will happen again unless you nip it in the bud now.

        • Lynn

          Wow Mike! What a position to be in. Your story sounds like your parents thought they were doing you a favor. I don’t know if they have a habit of taking chances like that. If so, I can truly understand how you were upset enough to make a decision like that. If this is unusual for them, they will be relieved to know you clearly felt disrespected and pressured (in a nice way). I hope they hadn’t planned on sleeping at your home as well.


  30. Maddie

    I would never kick either of my parents out of my home or make them feel unwelcome and I hate drop ins. Yes, mom was wrong. But she’s your mom. why didn’t you invite her to Easter dinner to begin with?

  31. Kristin

    Kicking a parent out of our home sounds like a horrible thing. But at what point is enough enough? My mother in law continues to ignore boundaries that my husband has verbally placed. This has been an ongoing battle his entire life he’s now 45. In our case, she only cares about herself and no one else. We are good people and try to accommodate them as much as possible. To the point of having to call her on a daily basis. She has been known to go to emergency room for some made up illness. The reason why I know she is capable of this is because when we moved out of her house from a temporary stay she freaked out and said she will probably be going to the emergency room at hospital to get our attention. My husband does not like confrontation and it stems from how she treated him as a child. Whipping him with a belt into submission. She’s a manipulator and bully. We moved into our new home over a year ago and she obsessively drove by our house several times a week just trying to see what we were doing. – even if he just spoke with her an hour earlier on the phone. We are at our wits end with this woman and are both so tired of being steamrolled over. We have a life that we want to live that doesn’t include her in every facet. It seems like the more attention she gets the more she requires. All we have asked is for her to call before she comes over – not from our driveway.

    I believe we all have rights to our personal space… What do you think?

    • Elizabeth

      Kristin, some solid boundaries would do wonders for your dealings with your MIL. HOwever, they will only work if both you and your husband are in agreement about how to address things. If she shows up at your home, you can say “I’m sorry, we aren’t available for a visit. In the future please call in advance.” She’s coming around because she knows that you will capitulate. But if you can stay calm and deny her what she’s seeking, you may regain some sanity. That’s not to say that she won’t be upset about it. Her behavior may actually escalate for awhile. But you might mitigate it by having planned meetings that you can point to. Say you have a standing Sunday lunch. If she shows up on Tuesday, you can say “We aren’t available now, but we look forward to seeing you Sunday.” That demonstrates that you’re not cutting her off, but just limiting visits to what you can handle. Discussing this with a counselor may help you and your husband come to agreement about this. The dynamic established in childhood is difficult to change, especially when the parent refuses to evolve. Unfortunately, many people find that they have to move far away from an overbearing parent in order to escape the madness! I wish you luck.

  32. Lori C

    Kristin, I am not sure an etiquette website can help in your situation. I suggest you and your husband access a therapist or a family counselor in order to gain the tools and scripts needed to enforce reasonable boundaries with his mother. This is going to take a lot of hard work and will not be solved overnight. I wish you the best.

  33. Rick W

    First off, lying to avoid (or lying period) is wrong and depicts bad character. Furthermore, if your lying is found out, you lose respect. To avoid surprise visits, I usually say well in advance upon meeting someone (and not necessarily close family; they are always welcomed) to do call before visiting. And if they do not head that request and come anyway then I kindly remind them of that request. I simply say to them, ‘I am sorry but you caught me at an inappropriate time.’ That statement would not be a lie since they inappropriately showed up. Then I would go on to say, ‘Since now is not a good time, name another day and time when we can get together. Or you can call before coming next time as I have suggested to see if everything is good.’

  34. Nery Quedo

    My in laws show up all the time at my house sometimes they knock as they come in, sometimes they dont bother. I was nude with my wife in the living room and they were upset with us. They enter the house wether locked or unlocked ( they have a key). I have become a nudist becausee that is the only way people will stop showing up at my door without calling! It worked wonderful with the Mormons when i answered the door naked!

    • Lynn

      Nery Quedo, something has to change. You shouldn’t have to become a nudist unless you truly love it. When people don’t get there way or lose their power they tend to retaliate, while some will accept the change and respect you. I think I would have changed the locks and explained how the comforts of home is no longer there. If they don’t agree, trust me, there is more trouble to come. Some people just love having power and control. If they love you, they will still be there for you. Sometimes people need to be told exactly what you need. Leaving cracks just allows them to ease back to the same habit.

  35. Jewel

    It surprises me that so many people are going through a similar situation as my husband and I. My MIL lives less then a block away. She never calls before coming over and knocks while opening the door. She has a young son the same age as my daughter and she is teaching him to just walk in my house as well. We have no privacy. She pops in unannounced and then asks me to watch him so she can take of errands. (Like I have nothing to do myself)I just wish she would respect our time and space. I have tried for years to drop subtle hints to let her know I was not okay with it. She just doesn’t get it. I finally got up the courage to be firm with her and that did not go over so well. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings but she apparently wasn’t very concerned about ours.

    • Elizabeth

      Jewel, you have no privacy because you continue to allow your MIL to trample your boundaries. Subtle hints aren’t working, and she didn’t react well to your firmness last time because all of a sudden she couldn’t do exactly what she pleased. She does get it, she just doesn’t care. It is better to go through an unpleasant disagreement now, which will be short-lived, rather than stew and be unhappy for years while she happily behaves terribly. Just make sure your husband is on the same page, so that you don’t have the situation where she goes running to him and finds a sympathetic ear.

      Keep your door locked, ignore the knocking, and when she comes by and tries to force you to babysit, you can say firmly, “I’m sorry, this isn’t a good time. I’m not able to watch him right now.” Repeat ad nauseum. You might also preempt some of this by communicating directly to her (with your husband by your side): “We’ve decided that we are tired of drop in visitors, as it is disruptive to our daily schedule. Please call first before you come, and if you forget, we will likely not be available to receive you.” Just don’t let her in the door unless she calls first. You won’t have to turn her away but once or twice before she learns.

  36. Lynn

    This website is a relief! My friend of 15 years plus decides to constantly drop by unannounced. I tolerated this behavior in the past. My dad had a stroke and now lives with me which, keeps my house in a dissaray. She would come over telling me you need to put this mail away, etc. that p’d me off knowing that I’m a neat freak and this is out of the ordinary for me. My life is extremely stressful now. I’ve let her know indirectly not to show up by not answering the door. She called once and told me she’s outside expecting me to open the door. I politely said, let’s meet at the restaurant around the corner. (Hint). We did. Well, I didn’t order anything because I had eaten. She was taken back, now realizing I didn’t appreciate the instant pop up. We got over that.
    A few weeks later she pops up again! I live in an apartment so I was parking the vehicle and noticed her leaving. I let her leave. Again, she showed up. I was lounging on couch, pillows tossed on floor, enjoying the moment. Now I’m bold. First, this is a secured building. You have to be buzzed in. Ask me if she rang the bell? NO! She’s knocking on the door. I’d called her earlier in the day, she didn’t answer and that was ok. I moved on. How dare her pop up five hours later without a phone call and to be so rude and not ring the bell. Someone must have just let her in. This is where the boldness comes. My son is so silly, he looks through the keyhole and tells me it’s her. I was shocked. We were moving around, television was loud. My son has a loud whisper. I know she heard us. I didn’t budge. She finally stopped knocking and left. At first I started to call, because of course, I felt horrible. After I thought about her control tactics. I became proud of myself. She has brought her sick relative to my house unannounced. That relative is incontinent. Yep. She got me. Peed on my furniture. I’d asked her to make sure the relative sits in the fold up chair that I pulled out just for her. I had to constantly tell her, please don’t sit on furniture while my friend is relaxing. Remember, my sick dad lives with me as well. So I’m exhausted.
    I’m so happy I stood up for myself. If she ever ask, if I were home. I will be happy to say yes! If you don’t stand up for yourself, people will certainly run you in the ground. I’m 48. I’m tired of being careful trying to spare their feelings. They never see themselves as cruel for disrespecting and controlling behaviors but, they won’t hesitate in making you feel cruel for just asking to be respected. I’m tired and proud. Finally!
    I haven’t heard from her in two days and that’s fine by me!

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