The Visit

Is there anything better than a good “visit”? A visit where all you do is nosh a little, drink a little, and talk a lot? I love visiting—though I do find myself to be one of the least interesting people on the face of the earth when I compare myself to others and their adventures and adventurous natures; their interests and passions; and their ability to tell a good story. I am not being humble here or particularly critical of myself—but I find other people and their stories totally fascinating, and my own rather pedestrian.

“Visiting” is a very satisfying way of connecting to people. In the days of yore, visiting was something you did on the spur of the moment, just dropping in on friends and family, sometimes on a whim. And you were always received with open arms, a cup of something warm (or cold in the steaming days of summer) and fresh baked goods seemingly just waiting for you to drop by.

Today, visiting is a bit more formal—particularly with friends. One tends to wait for an invitation now—though I still love it when people drop by. I was taught by my mom that if you extended an invitation to friends or family then your house should be spick and span, you should bring out the good china (as opposed to the everyday), and set everything else aside and concentrate on your visitors. I still ascribe to giving my visitors my full attention, but my house has not been spick and span for years. Sometimes when people drop by I am a bit embarrassed about the state of my house (or the fact that I am still in my pyjamas and it is nigh on noon—I write better in my pyjamas) but then I remember the words one woman ascribed to her mother-in-law who is purported to have said that “people are coming to see me, not my house.” Wise words that I keep tucked away for those occasions when the dust bunnies have turned into kangaroos.

When I was a kid, Sunday afternoon was set aside to “visit”. I lived in a community where Sunday was kind of sacred—and at the time very few stores were open so we did not consider the day just another chance to get our chores done and errands run. Visiting or calling on someone, dropping in, or going to see friends was an accepted Sunday activity, and because it was accepted, it was expected. Whether you were the visitor or visitee (yes, I made this word up) you knew your role. My parents would visit their parents on Sundays, but more often than not, our house was a destination for visitors. I always loved having people drop by, as it was a chance to eat desserts midday—something we were not afforded when it was “just us”.

If you are of the ilk who likes to drop by for a visit, you have to be prepared for various receptions—you are taking a bit of a chance by dropping in unannounced, but sometimes that makes for the best impromptu visit. Personally I like it when people drop by, but am not someone who generally drops by someone else’s house unless it is just to drop something off quickly. Here are a few signs though that your whimsical visit may not be welcome:

  1. The recipient of your visit holds the door only slightly ajar to speak to you with no move to invite you in.
  2. A look of horror not quite imperceptibly crosses the face of the person you are bequeathing with your presence.
  3. The family dog jumps up on you, and no one tries to curtail its activities.
  4. The beneficiary of your visit picks up their purse and keys and makes it seem like they are just leaving.

Signs that you are welcome include a bear hug, big smile, an open door, and gushes of “I am so happy to see you”. A quick invite to come in and sit down while the visitee rushes to the kitchen to rustle up some refreshments is also a good sign.

I do not subscribe to a quote attributed to Francis Bacon who is reported to have said: “Friendship increases in visiting friends, but in visiting them seldom.” But knowing which friends and family agree with Bacon should be noted and struck off your “to drop by” list and added to your “by invitation only” list.


Do you just drop in on friends? Or are you a firm believer in invitations?

Published in: on August 1, 2016 at 12:36 pm  Comments (13)  

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13 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Dropping in is the way to go. Invitations are fine, but you can’t have the spontaneity. Spick and span house? If your friends expect that, you may need new friends. Just give ’em another glass of wine, it’ll be fine.

  2. I have never liked unexpected visitors and my daughters take after me in that respect, and I do not like to visit people without them knowing I will be doing so but that is just me

  3. Yep, no doubt, those 4 signals would tell you to turn around and leave. No doubt.

  4. I think “the Pop In” has gone away in today’s society. I wonder why? Sundays are definitely no longer like as you described. Kind of sad that we are a open 24/7 kind of world now.

    • wehave to stay diligent–it is so hard being “connected” all the time–so sorry that actual visiting has gone the way of the dinosaurs….

  5. What a difference a few decades make. Yes, long ago in a different land, we used to just ‘drop by’ and say hi. Sit for glass of iced tea or a cup of coffee. I remember my mom’s friends doing that with her often. Now, not so much. Too many people are too busy. I feel like I need to call and “make an appointment” first to visit a friend. Sometimes, my friends and I who live in different states need to make an appointment on our calendars just for a phone call!

  6. I do both but I am much more likely to visit when it is planned. I only ‘drop by’ people who I know like it.

    In the past if we dropped by, there were those ‘looks’ when you knew this was not in their plans for the day and it really was an inconvenience. Though not said verbally the feeling was present!

    So for the most part if tempted I phone first! Diane

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