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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Phone First...
Random Visitors and Random Thoughts

Spring has sprung! And with it brings endless opportunities to meet and greet other singles, and reconnect with friends of the past.

(No more hibernating).

There’s something about warm weather that makes folks want to be out and about and experience the seduction of the season! The birds are singing, the mood is light, there’s laughter in the air.

Wouldn’t you agree?


But in your excitement and quest for out door adventures, be sure that you are courteous to those you might call upon! Maybe I’m an old fuddy-duddy, but I believe that even among family, suitors, and friends, there should be a respect for privacy and a regard for differing lifestyles.

Here’s what I mean.

Some members of my family thought that I had taken leave of my senses, a few months ago, when I had an unexpected visitor — a blast from my past. An ex-boyfriend of mine, (who is also a good friend of my family), stopped by without calling because he “was in the neighborhood.” When I became frazzled by it, they thought that I was being unreasonable.

Here’s some food for thought… What if I had male company at the time? Or hadn’t been home? Or was suffering from P.M.S.? Or had been home looking like death warmed over? Or had been vacuuming in the nude?

Though he is near and dear to me, a call would have been just plain courteous. Is it unreasonable for folks to fathom that I might actually have a life with multiple meetings, and housework, and days when I’m ill, and simply prefer solitude and the pleasure of my own company? Is it evil to prefer to be given a few hours advance notice as opposed to random visits? This way, everybody gets to equally enjoy the time we spend together. I get a chance to pace myself and put on clothes that make my appearance more palatable. And it’s a win-win situation for all! And don’t we all want more win-win situations in the game of life?

Oh, well… now I feel better. I‘ve always said that writing is therapeutic. Thanks for letting me unload. :-)

To illustrate my Point, Here’s What a few Other Singles I Polled Had to Say on the Subject:

“It’s just common sense to call before appearing on someone’s doorstep. It’s more practical too. Why waste a trip?” --N.B.

“Friends and family alike know to call first. If not, I won’t even answer the doorbell.” -- JUSTIN

“Do people actually do that?”-- ELANA

“Calling first shows class and consideration.”-- NOEL

Here’s How to Always be a Welcome Visitor!

» Visit at reasonable hours

» Don’t be overly imposing (i.e. if you have special dietary needs, eat before you arrive) or let your friend/family know so they can shop in advance.

» Don’t be begging! (It’s an insult when you only come around when you need something).

» Be of good cheer! It’s okay to need a shoulder to cry on, or a sympathetic ear, but don’t let folks hate to see you coming.

» Obey the rules of the house. If your host or hostess doesn’t like smoking in the home, or asks you to enter the side door, or wants you to observe some other act, don’t challenge it. You don’t pay the mortgage do you?

» Discipline your kids. “Junior” playing drums on my glass dining room table, or Suzie jumping up and down on my couch, really isn’t cute.

» Remember to say please and thank you.

» Don’t criticize someone else’s choice in décor or decisions. Again, do you pay the mortgage?

» Don’t be overly nosey. It’s okay to be curious, but don’t rummage through people’s medicine cabinets, bedroom drawers, or private corners. What are you looking for?

» Don’t gossip about what others have or have not got. It’s tacky.

» Follow the leader. If you want to know whether a behavior or act is acceptable in someone’s home, take clues from the owner.

I consider it a blessing and a privilege to be in the company of someone’s private quarters, and to be allowed in their arena. Some of my most enjoyable social functions and most engaging conversations have been enjoyed in my friends’ homes. Hopefully they feel the same way about me and mine.

But mellow the madness! Phone first… in the words of a famous song “If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake!”


Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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