Surprise Visit: Is it OK to stop by a neighbor’s house unannounced?

Q:  My husband feels it is OK to go to a neighbor’s house and ring the doorbell just to say “Hi.”  I feel it is rude to make a surprise visit.  Last night we went on a walk and my husband decided to go see a neighbor.  After we rang the doorbell, the neighbor invited us in and told us he had company and was eating dinner.  My husband felt it was fine to go in because we were invited in by the owner.  I felt very uncomfortable going in while they had company and were still eating dinner.  We stayed about 15 minutes and left.  What is the best etiquette in this situation?



A: It is fine to drop by to say hello to neighbors on the spur of the moment. However, if your neighbors are busy, eating dinner, have company, etc., it would be better to politely decline the invitation to come in and visit.  You can also offer to stop by again at a time that might be better for them.


  1. D

    I disagree. Nothing is more inconvenient than being surprised at the door by an unannounced visitor. With all the technology available today, a quick text or phone call to say you’re popping by is common courtesy.

  2. David

    I agree with D.
    What if other neighbors were there dining and you hadn’t been invited? Or, if first – time visitors were there? They might make a character judgment of your neighbor, assuming he or she is fine with just anyone dropping by unannounced. It depends on the community and degree of familiarity with the neighbors, of course. Probably fine in Mayberry, but otherwise, no.

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