General Relationship

Dealing with Unannounced Company

Do you have a pesky neighbor who seems to peak his or head in your front door at the worst possible moments? Do you have family members that show up at your door, unannounced of course – right when you are in the middle of dinner or helping the kids with homework? Are there children in your neighborhood that are constantly ringing your door bell? If so, then you have a problem with unannounced company. In most social circles, visiting someone’s home, without calling ahead of time is considered rude behavior whether you are friend or family. Learning to deal with these unannounced visitors in the beginning is essential to nipping the behavior in the bud.

There are tons of tips for dealing with unannounced company. The first, and probably the most important tip– depends upon you. If every single time that nosy neighbor or annoying mother in law comes to the door, you welcome them with open arms and accommodate them completely; you are setting the state for more of the same. If you find that your sister comes over with her 3 bratty children the minute you serve dinner, and you feel the urge to accommodate their dinner needs as well, there is a good chance you are being manipulated and used. Sure, every one wants to be polite and welcoming of guests in their home. Yet, your guests should show you the same respect that you show them, by giving you a heads up and calling before they just show up.

It can be difficult learn how to turn company away. Especially when its family. But in order to set the precedent that a simple phone call is required before ringing your door bell, you have to set boundaries and limits. There is nothing wrong with opening the door to a neighbor, not inviting them in and informing them that you are in the middle of something. Ask them if they could come back the following day, or in a few hours. The same is true with family members. Or, if they must come in – make sure that you don’t make a habit of stopping everything you are doing in its tracks to sit down and host their unannounced visit. If you continue with your chores, or sit back down at your computer to work – they will eventually get the point. In fact, most reasonable people would see this as the time to say something such as, “I see you are busy, I will call you later!”

Of course, there are others who may become upset that you have ‘ignored’ them while they were at your house. These people likely don’t have very many social graces of their own, and you will literally have to be abrupt with them. You can avoid being rude in return by saying something such as, “You are welcome to stay – but I have a deadline to meet on this project, so I have to continue working.” Then carry on about your business. If they don’t take this as their clue to leave – so be it.

You should also let people how you feel about their unannounced visits. You don’t have to do it in the very moment. Instead, wait until you are on the phone with them and make a comment about how someone is always coming to your house without notifying you first. Explain how annoying it is, and how you wish they would just give you the courtesy of a simple phone call. This underhanded message may do the trick. If not, you have to make a point to let your friends and families know that you have a new house rule in effect which is, CALL FIRST. Most people can learn to respect this, and should understand that showing up at your home can be inconvenient at times. In other words, be honest. Tell your sister the next time she shows up at dinner that you didn’t know she was coming, and that you didn’t prepare enough to feed her family. Tell your mom that you need to work and that if she wants to come visit the kids, that’s fine – but you will need some quiet time.

When it comes to children, it is also important to set boundaries that speak volumes about your visiting policy. Many parents allow their kids to wander aimlessly around the neighborhood going door to door looking for available playmates. When they show up, tell them that your child cannot come out and play and that they can call them later. Don’t even allow them to come in the house. After a time or two, the child should be able to figure out that your home does not have a blinking, ‘Always Open,” sign. If it persists, call the parents and explain that while you appreciate their child, you would prefer they call you ahead of time to make play dates.

Another option, is simply not opening the door. This doesn’t mean that you have to hide in the darkest corner of your home until the person drives away. But literally don’t go to the door. If they call you, explain that you were in the shower, or upstairs, or taking a walk. They too will eventually get the point. If their efforts to visit stop working, they will find ulterior methods – such as calling ahead of time, before trespassing on your space and time.

Your home is the one place where you set the rules. It is indeed nice to have family and friends visit from time to time. But your home should not have a revolving door. You deserve to have quiet time, without company – and to have people give you the courtesy of calling you before they intrude in your home. If the tactics above don’t work with certain people in your life, then risk being hurtful to be honest.

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20 comments

Lovebug4 July 10, 2016 at 12:20 AM

This article is very helpful for majority of situations!
My problem is that my Husband told his side of the family call before you come years ago. They were showing up at random times…
Now they call and if we answer say are you home? If we are not they come wherever we are. If we are and I tell them now is not a good time they say oh well we will just be over for a minute. I usually answer and yes.
Lately they call and still come over when we do not answer our phone! I have tried not answering, staying busy, hinting. Please help with what can be done? My Husband doesn’t mind because it is his family. Btw they do not like me which is fine. This is making me feel as though are no boundaries for our house with our young children.

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Captain obvious. October 6, 2017 at 10:42 PM

People who disrespect you by dropping in deserve no respect, they don’t understand diplomacy or tact or basic civilized courtesy. Do not hide. Do not lower yourself to subtle compromise.
Confront your own fear of confrontation. Man up. And tell them never to stop by again in future without calling first. Oh and BTFW you enjoy your privacy, you never violate others privacy and you’d appretiate in future if they showed you the common basic courtesy of not dropping in, not freeloading, not wasting your time with their presence.
Period.
I guarantee you will never have a problem again…. unless they have an IQ of a moron.
In which case, tell them they are trespassing and have hereby been served notice… and if they still do t get it…just take out a restraining order.

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Captain obvious. October 6, 2017 at 10:45 PM

Or… start talking about Jesus. Non stop. Either you will save their obnoxious soul… or drive them away. A win win.

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Sally September 15, 2018 at 1:05 PM

Great comments! I’m with you 100%. There’s no other way with people so clueless but to be blatantly forthright from the instant they trespass against us. Be as polite as possible and say as little as possible; but whatever you do ward them off at the first pass unless you think nothing of wasting your time with this kind of people. They’re pathological. This kind of behavior is part if their personality. It’s all about them. You can not give them an inch; if you do, you’ve had it. The key is to trust first impressions with people. In the first few seconds if meeting them, what did your gut tell you? Listen to that — it never fails you.

Rarely is their an exception to this rule. Ever notice the people in your life you value the most wouldn’t dream of disrespecting your space unless for good reason?

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Misty October 12, 2017 at 8:03 PM

I have a note taped to my door that says the following:
“I appreciate friends who liked me enough to come and visit, however, I appreciate even more the courtesy to call and talk to me first! I find it rude to show up unannounced. If I did not know that you were coming please do not knock! I will not answer. Call or text and wait for my reply. Thank you” This way I don’t have to be snippity or even open the door! But if they knock anyway, oooh lordy! They won’t do it again!

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David Beart October 12, 2017 at 8:11 PM

I would like to have a note like that on our door for our kids friends… I know know I only have 2 kids but I swear 4 or 5 live here 🙂

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Ana February 24, 2018 at 2:52 AM

So good to read these comments and realizing I’m not ‘crazy’. Weekends are for me whether I’m busy or ‘busy’. It’s rude to come unannounced and take up my time and energy (I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis and very limited energy). I just need to learn to be confident enough to communicate this with the unannounced visitors, or I’ll use the note option.

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Louise March 3, 2018 at 4:21 PM

I have a neighbour who asked if she could come round, I said not today and she acknowledged the message but then turned up anyway? How do I stop this happening again?

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Dulce Ramirez May 23, 2018 at 2:52 PM

Ugh this has been happening to me for quite some time now. I made the mistake of moving back in with my mom about 2 years ago. Well I live with my husband and my son at her house. But almost every single day my older sister who lives literally like 5 minutes away from our house vistis every day. She has 4 small children and mind you our house is super tiny. Sometimes I dont even feel like coming home because she is already there I see her at work I dont need to see her every day at my house either! and what bugs me the most is that sometimes she just drops off her children there and goes and runs errands with my mom leaving me in charge of her children without even asking!!! She will just go into my fridge and cook for her and her kids without bothering to ask. So I never have a full stocked fridge because she brings all her children to feed off it. I know I may sound rude but it’s honestly gotten to a point where we just lock ourselves in our room to not deal with the craziness going on outside. Ive talked to my mom but she just says she feels bad for her etc. What do i do?????

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Toby August 22, 2018 at 3:01 AM

Be a grown-up and get your own house!

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Bunny September 18, 2018 at 4:24 PM

I can so relate to all of you, though this might be worse. My husband has a uncle who does this at least 2 times a week. He used to drop by unannounced on the regular, even though he lives like 30 minutes from us and has no other reason to be in our area except to see us. I do not feel comfortable around him, he also has mental problems and drug problems. So whenever my husband isn’t home with me and his uncle stops by, I always pretend to be sick or having to go somewhere, which is ridiculous, I know, but I don’t want to be alone with him. After the first few times he stopped by, My husband asked him to call first, but now what he does is call while 2 minutes from the house to tell us hes coming or he’ll call while in our driveway!! Even if the husband dosent answer the phone, he still stops anyway! I don’t know what to do, I just want my husband to stop answering when he calls and ignore him completey and hopefully he will get the point… He even sends “drawings” (lines and squiggles on paper with like 10 copies each),and hand written letters that make virtually no sense. ..i don’t know what to do.

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Susan December 22, 2018 at 3:04 PM

I have a next-door neighbor my husband and I talked to over the fence this summer or standing on the porch. Now, she rings our bell and then rings and rings it again if I don’t answer. The problem: my husband is a shift worker. If I have headphones on, I don’t notice until my dog barks. That wakes hubby. I have told her I am cooking or cleaning or whatever. She will say she’ll come back later unless I offer to come over. I was thinking of disengaging the doorbell or putting a sign that says, “Shift worker. Please do not ring bell,” over the ringer. She did have my cell number but says her phone is broken. I appreciate this article. I have been thinking I am just a social misfit and should be more accommodating. lol

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Nwwoman February 8, 2019 at 1:19 PM

Meanwhile I am a widow with no family within 2000 miles. I delivered presents to friends at Christmas and left them at front doors, even when I knew they were at home. I am alone at home 98 percent of my life. I do not like to disturb friends who I know are busy with work, family and their kids. Imagine my confusion when I got angry calls saying why didn’t I knock.. why did I not visit..why did I drop off packages and leave. One woman showed up on my doorstep rattled and angry with me. I have a “no visit” friends at home rule because I respect that everyone is busy with family and work. I am lonely all the time and I have about 5 hours of human contact monthly but I would not dare to add me to someone else’s day when they finally get off work and home time. Good grief. There is a lot of people who are very alone and lonely in our country. It does not kill!

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KittyCat June 20, 2019 at 8:01 PM

I have a former neighbor who constantly stops by without notifying me first. One time, my house was a mess and was not fit for visitors so I had to step out and talk to her outside. It was really embarrassing and annoying at the same time. Another time, I wasn’t home and my son answered the door. Why do people feel that your time is theirs and they can drop by without a call first? I like the idea of not opening the door. That’s what I will do next time.

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Angela July 18, 2019 at 6:38 PM

Used to have friends that did this constantly i would get so annoyed, i eventually told them to stop doing that.. its definitely a pet peeve of mine

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Brenda August 14, 2019 at 9:43 AM

This always happened to me…I usually had a note referring to manners and common courtesy Wich (even b4 cell ph) would say something like…”If you had the common courtesy to call before dropping by…welcome friend,please knock…If not, there is a payphone on the corner of first and main, please use it. It didn’t always work but I would stand my ground and not answer the door. I doesnt do anyone any good to reward bad behavior.
The problem I have now is unbelievable to me. I am terminally ill and on hospice but doctors nurses,pharmacies,delivery pple,social workers,chaplains,and other health care workers are the biggest offenders rarely giving no notice at all, yet punishing me if not available,sick,or finally medicating the pain long enough to get a few needed hrs of sleep. Of all people I would expect them to understand and not be so rude and inconsiderate
Anyway,I could go on forever but what I really want is to know if anyone has any advice or suggestions to offer?

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Indiana September 5, 2019 at 9:46 PM

The only advise is to keep telling them not to come over without calling. Even if they call you might not be available. My mother in law always drops in. She thinks it’s OK. I have repeatedly told her to call first, but she doesn’t.

I have a lot of fatigue and I am embarrassed if I don’t get dressed that day. I work in my pajama’s at home. It’s really rude to show up and stare me down because I haven’t got dressed. I feel like I have to explain myself. Then I just get more rude comments from her.

Really I just don’t care anymore. If she pulls up in the driveway, I have to have the kids come in off the porch. If I open the garage so they can go ride their bikes, but I am in my hack around clothes, I still don’t answer the door. It’s really annoying. It’s to the point where I am considering moving as soon as I can.

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Lena November 2, 2019 at 5:39 AM

Unless a person has contacted me prior, I simply do not answer the knock. They can knock over and over, all the while knowing I am in residence. I will continue to ignore. I used to be ‘nice’. I used to answer the door and let everybody in to hemorrhage me of my material resources and mental/emotional resources as well.

Now that I am ill, they couldn’t care less about whether I lived or died but still, they assume that I am needy because I am ill so that means I will let them in.

Absolutely not! I am not needy and never have been. If they say they didn’t have my number, it is because I didn’t give it to them. Still, they are pig-ignorant and cannot work out why that is.

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Serena December 17, 2019 at 8:10 AM

I am so glad I am not the only one. I have been married for 12 years and I have had the constant annoyance of in-laws turning up unannounced. This has not stopped……on Saturday I came back from kid’s lesson at 14:15 and told the kids to go upstairs and get changed so we all went to get changed, but I needed to use the toilet. On the following Sunday my father in law called my husband and said ‘I came to your home, knocked on the door constantly and no one opened the door, I was waiting for ages, I thought you were ignoring me so I went home had a bottle of Vodka and nearly died’ so my husband told me this and I got very angry and said’ FFS I was in the toilet and he should call before coming, why does he think we are always available’ the most frustrating thing is my father in law drinks a lot and never had a incident where he nearly died, my brother in law didn’t call us which means it is not true, he lied to my husband because he rang the doorbell once (ring door bell and my phone was on silence) and he didn’t bang on the door like he said, this was all captured on the CCTV and my kids told their dad no mums right no one knocked on the door. I wish he would stop turning up unannounced it’s getting on my nerves, he comes every weekend or weekday whenever he feels like it, I believe his doing this because he wants us to give him a room in the house however we have no space and he is a bad influence on my husband and I also think he wants a key to the house because why else would someone keep doing this and then lying about it? He doesn’t get it, I have tried everything, yet he keeps turning up and then we must accommodate……this interference was so bad that I nearly didn’t have a second child because my father in law, step mum and their children would always turn up. I wish they would f****ing stop. My sister in law said her dad is selfish he keeps thinking about himself because every time he visits he doesn’t even talk or play with the kids, doesn’t help us with childcare nothing. So fed up because he is emotionally black mailing my husband

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adictos al celu February 18, 2020 at 1:06 PM

this is dumb what you do if are real and not addicted to phones? just ask to do something other time that you just are passing by to get in touch

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