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Etiquette – My 5 Do’s to the Fine Art of Visiting Friends & Neighbours

Do you like to host people in your home? I do! I love that feeling of having people over to watch a game or movie and the opportunity to whip up my Nkwobi special or Cocktail/Mock-tail mixes. In fact, having people over is one of my To Dos! Why, just the other day, I made home made burgers using homemade mini bread rolls I got from Hegemonquickeats just for myself, M.I and Mum. Someone dropped by and I turned it into a mini get together. I served the burgers with potato wedges, my home made dipping and my special cock/mock-tail. Everyone loved it.

But, sometimes I wish some people will get that there are unspoken rules on the etiquette on visiting friends, neighbours or family.If you are doing this, it’s no wonder some of your friends avoid your calls at certain times or say they are not around for you to drop by. However, these  post shares rules tailored for visiting Neighbours, Acquaintances and People you are generally not close to. Here are 5 of my Etiquette Rules on visiting and they are scripture based.

  1. DO call before you visit.

 Whoever greets his neighbor (visits) in a loud voice at dawn (at the wrong time)

might just as well have cursed him . Prov.27:14(CJB. Paraphrase mine)

If you are not a close member of the family, a beloved Uncle or Aunt, Do call before you visit. You can get away with showing up uninvited or without notice once, twice or multiple times but eventually, your “Visitee” or host will get tired on your antics.

I had a visitor that always dropped by my house without notice just as I and my friend, Grace were headed to work or just when we returned from work. Imagine leaving your house by 6.00am and someone greets you at the door on your way out. Most times, those visits are meant to “obtain” something from you. At some point, I stopped answering the door and would rather go to work late than attend to the Visitor. When the visitor got that I had begun to avoid him or I was leaving way earlier, he got the message. Or perhaps you always visit when the family is about to have dinner…what timing. If you are doing this, please stop.

2. Do Bring a Gift when you visit.

A gift gets attention… Prov.18:16(MSG)

Scripture says a man’s gift makes room for him. I  don’t know if this is based on the training I got from home but people who know me know I barely visit empty handed especially for the first time. I believe extending a gift shows thoughtfulness and goodwill to your host. And people are more willing to accommodate you when you show such thoughtfulness.

When we first moved to our apartments, a neighbour had decided to share our parking space with us, putting their stuff just in front of living quarters. Now, even though we had every right to tell them to move their stuff, I simply took a bottle of wine next door, introduced myself as their new neighbour and we had a great conversation. The next day, I got out to find they had moved their things. See?

3. DO take off your Shoes.

“…Remove your sandals from your feet,

for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” Ex.3:5(MSG)

Except where otherwise instructed or in a different setting, please take off your shoes when you get into your host’s house; think about the effort used in brushing that carpet/rug; that is your host’s sanctuary. It grates on my nerves every time a visitor drops by and steps on my carpet with his shoes. My mind starts running with the image of those shoes stepping on urine soaked soil, spittle or what not. If you are not comfortable walking barefooted, please wear socks and make sure they do not stink. A Pastor came earlier to visit and I had to tell him to take off his shoes. Yes, he had stepped on mud. Be humble so you can be honoured.

The only exception to this rule is in exceptionally dirty houses. I once visited a house that was so dirty, even the household wore slippers. The walls and floors of the house were dirt infested. Urgghhh!

4. DO Compliment the Host.

Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; 

it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!Prov.15:23(NLT)

That wasn’t me. That was straight from the Bible. Whether it’s the house, furniture, the drink or food, give a compliment. It goes a long way and it may just be what your host needs after a long day.

5. DO know when to visit and when to leave.

 And when you find a friend, don’t outwear your welcome;

show up at all hours and he’ll soon get fed up. Prov.25:17(MSG)

Let me take you through a scenario: You get home at about 8.00pm after a long day; tomorrow is a working day. You don’t feel well but there is a knock on the door. You open it;it’s your acquaintance two compounds away. He came to visit and you welcome him or her. And your visitor stays with you until 10.00pm. Tell me how you would feel? Try to be considerate with your host. I have come home by 9.30pm after spending two hours in traffic only to hear a knock on the door barely 10 minutes after kicking off my shoes. I have also had visitors who dropped by two or three times a week, every week- that’s like visiting all the time. Even King Solomon said you need to withdraw such frequent visits lest your host be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

No matter how noble your intentions, such repeated visits will not be appreciated. When your Host just got back from work, seems tired, is speaking in monosyllables, don’t try to stay longer. Allow them to reboot for the next day’s work. Of course, this depends on how tight you are with your hosts. I have my girlfriends that can drop in anytime and we may not say anything but we still had a conversation.

Those are my 5 Dos. Visiting and being Visited is an Art;Fine Art.

Please share your Dos so we can all learn.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Nice piece. There’s a hubby’s biz partner that can visit at 10pm without any prior notice, very annoying. And the worse he keeps his very dirty legs on the sofa. Hubby told him every time to remove his legs and that we had a kid who could drop ba meal on the sofa and and pick it up to eat again, last time he got really upset and Said he will stop visiting and guess the answer. He still comes anyways but no longer puts his legs on the sofa. Bottom line, YOUR HOME, YOUR RULES. Cos people can be very inconsiderate.

    • Thank you Josephine! I totally understand and agree with you. It’s My Home, My Rules. And again, you win a recharge voucher for being among the first 5 to leave a comment. Way to go, girl!

  2. Very interesting read….. and I also love the bible passages quoted…
    My friends know they must call before visiting.. I remember one time I was at home but not in a good mood to talk to anyone . My friend knocks on the door, I didn’t answer . My a.c. was on so obviously she knew someone was home ..she kept knocking and finally calls my mobile
    I answer and say to her so you can call .. *smiles*
    It’s really annoying though
    The most annoying are the ones that would not bring anything but always have the effontery to point out what you don’t have at home but will help you finish the little you have.

    • Hi GraceJunkie,
      Thank you so much! I love the way you can be firm on calling before visiting;it’s courtesy. And oh, I know people who help me finish what I have yet complain about the pepper or salt or texture of the food they just finished.
      Congratulations! You are my second comment and thus you win a 750 recharge voucher! Way to go!

  3. “My mind starts running with the image of those shoes stepping on urine soaked soil, spittle or what not. ” Oh Lord! Hahahahha.

    “The most annoying are the ones that would not bring anything but always have the effontery to point out what you don’t have at home but will help you finish the little you have.”As for these one’s ,never open your doors to them ever again.
    Finally my friend you write so beautifully well.

    Gracie.

    • Lol, Gracie! Thank you or the constant push Friend! And are you not in luck? You win a 500 recharge voucher! You are my third comment for this post!

    • Hiya! Thank you, Babyim. Yes, to soaring! Haba, remember “…this depends on how tight you are with your hosts. I have my girlfriends that can drop in anytime and we may not say anything but we still had a conversation.”
      You one of the girlfriends! And girlfriend just won a 500 naira recharge voucher for being my 4th comment! Ese!

    • Lol! Yes, we have to update that! I laughed at the Hyena part! Lol! You are the fifth of my first 5 comments for this post. You get to win a 500 naira recharge voucher! Whoop!

  4. Gift giving sha had to come up. Lol! I would have knocked at the door, smiled some, oohed and ahhhed over their kids, decor…passed my message across and would have been done with it.
    Nice article.
    I have raised you well.
    Well done!

    • Lol @ gift giving. Oh yeah, one of my Do’s. That is also a very straightforward suggestion;I see you agree with my third and fourth Dos!
      Thank you. Humph!@raised me well.

  5. Also when you are in someone’s house(even in your parent’s house), as a guest or for an extended stay… learn what their dos and don’ts are, that way you don’t become a burden.

  6. Also if you are in someone’s house as a guest or for an extended stay(even at your parent’s)… learn what their dos are so you don’t become a burden.

    • Zee! Thank you for honouring me and stopping by! I agree with you. Some people are so clueless. I had someone who stayed with us for a time and to be honest he had learned how we operated so we rarely had any friction. That is being considerate.

  7. Nice Blessing, I also appreciate being informed before any sort of visit, reason is to prepare for the visit, prepare my mind n prepare what you will snack on.
    Most time when someone comes without prior knowledge I greet and get back to what I was doing before he or she intrudes.
    And I will also inform the visitor to notify me when next he would like to come visiting.
    Please speak out so they know.
    Even my silbings, in-laws n parents always inform me before coming.

    • Thank you Blessing! Wow, I like that. I used to be timid about how people trudged in and out of my house without notice but now that I speak out, it is much better. I can prepare adequately and also be more attentive to the guest. Thank you for leaving a comment!

  8. Lol! Very real points!
    Some people just don’t know how to act and it amazes me.
    A big don’t is “don’t plan to sleep over without informing me just because you think I have space in my house. Is it your house? Do you know what I am doing with my extra bed or room? Visiting for a few hours is so different from ‘living with’ someone. DO ask permission (even from family) and only if you’re truly close to the person

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