Is It Okay For Friends To Just Drop In?
Two friends have different styles about dropping in unannounced and it has created friction in their relationship.
My friend and I seem to have different schedules and sensibilities. I have a high-pressure job and family responsibilities. We both work from home.
She feels that a friend should never have to call ahead to visit and says her door is always open.
We had a blow-up over that very issue because she was upset that she spent gas to come here and I didn’t answer the door. I had gone out for lunch with another friend. But when she saw my car in the driveway, she assumed that I was home and just ignored her. When I told her that wasn’t so, she didn’t believe me.
I feel that even if that had been the case, it would have been okay because not everyone welcomes having unannounced company.
She was offended by my apology and offer to give her money for gas and kept insisting that any good friend would welcome another friend with an open-door policy. She told me to “get on with my life” and if I want to visit her, I don’t need to call ahead. Then she hung up the phone.
Am I wrong?
There is no right or wrong when it comes to dropping in on friends. It depends on the relationship between the friends and how each one feels about that informality.
In your case, it sounds like you may have an out-of-sync friendship. You seem to be on a more hurried schedule, juggling multiple responsibilities; your friend has enough spare time to drive to your house without even knowing if you’ll be there and not caring what else you might be doing.
She feels that it is perfectly okay to drop in on friends unannounced; you would always call and expect to be called. What concerns us more than these differences in style is that your friend is unwilling to accept the boundaries that make you feel comfortable. Moreover, she doesn’t trust or believe you.
Seems like your communication problems ended in what must have been an uncomfortable blow-up.
What can you do now? If this friendship is otherwise satisfying, you can apologize and discuss your boundaries again when cooler heads prevail. Let your friend know the friendship is important to you, but that you feel it’s a point of respect to call before coming over.
If your friend can’t understand and respect your feelings, you may need to let go of the friendship.
Whatever you decide to do, hopefully, this unpleasant experience has taught you something about yourself, about your friend, and about the complexities of friendships.
Irene & Sheryl
Friends need to respect each other’s differences.
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