I heard it again, louder and clearer this time. It was the same voice, the one that I had imagined to come from my dreams. Now close to my door, threatening my peace and quiet, it sounded faintly familiar even in my state of slumber.
“Titi!” The voice – soft and feminine but grating on my sleepy nerves – persisted.
My eyes flew open and I was awake in a heartbeat, my breathing heavy and my heart pounding. Who was this person? I wondered. My foggy head was unable to place the voice, as familiar as it sounded.
“Titi!” Was that a tone of urgency I was hearing? I could not be sure, not while I was still groggy from sleep.
I sat up in bed and frowned at the door, massaging my suddenly aching temples with my fingers. What did this person want? Realising that I was asking myself the one question over and over again, I shut my eyes tight, as if to will my uninvited visitor away. But the sound of footsteps turning around to my window told me that there would be nothing of such.
“Titi!” the voice called one more time, and my eyes darted in a panic across my room, which looked a sight. The thought of this person sliding my window open and pulling my curtains aside to check if I was home filled me with dread.
“Yes!” I answered, ditching the idea of hiding. Then I voiced the thought that had been whirling in my mind since it dawned on me that I was not having a dream, “How do you visit someone uninvited?”
Should You Visit Uninvited or Unannounced?
“It depends on how close you are. If you are very close, and it’s something that both of you don’t mind, then fine,” says Omolola Fadipe, a human resources expert in Lagos, as she shares her thoughts on visiting uninvited. “But I think, out of courtesy, it’s important to at least inform whoever you’re visiting that you’re coming. I feel it’s better,” she adds.
It was what I had expected of my visitor. A text or a phone call to tell me she was coming would have prepared me for her. I was neither in a physical or mental state to see anyone, and her visit left me in a sour mood.
“I don’t think it’s polite. I don’t think it’s nice to just show up unannounced at a person’s place. A lot of time, when people knock at the gate, I feel like you should have called the person that you’re coming to see that you’re coming. I don’t like it. I don’t do it!” says Olubunmi Ajiboye, a scriptwriter, editor and content producer.
Rudeness is not all that is wrong with visiting unannounced, though, as Fadipe asserts: “One, the person might not be around. Two, the person might not be buoyant enough to give you a nice treat. And three, the person’s privacy may be invaded at that particular time.”
Besides invading my privacy, my visitor had succeeded in disrupting my sleep and destroying any chances of returning to it.
Why Do People Do It?
If there is so much wrong with visiting unannounced or uninvited, why do people do it? “When I was living just a street away from my best friend, I showed up at her door all the time,” admits Oladayo Onanuga, a healthcare practitioner, “Her house was on the way to the bus stop, and I would stop by on my way home from work, on my way to the salon, on my way from church.”
Could my friend’s unannounced visit have been motivated by the same thing? Probably. She had only recently moved into the same neighbourhood, and she was not quite going out of her way to give me the update she thought I needed.
Of course, I had finally figured out who she was just before I responded to her call. It was a friend with whom I had chatted on WhatsApp earlier that day about buying cabinets for my room. We had concluded that I was too busy to check out the pieces of furniture, and since it was not urgent, I would go check them out some other time while she went that day. You can then imagine my utter shock when I heard her at my door hours later just as I was getting that much-needed sleep.
Fadipe affirms that there are some peculiar occasions which could warrant unannounced visits, using a recent experience where she had to make an unexpected stop at her in-law’s as an example.
“I was going somewhere, and my husband was supposed to pick me up at that particular place. Unfortunately, he didn’t get there when he was supposed to, and the person that gave me a drop there, his brother, lives very close to that particular place. He suggested going to his house while waiting for his brother. And, you know, we just went there. The wife was not expecting me, her first reaction was shock and she had to rush in to change her clothes. She also had to think of what to offer me,” she recalls.
An emergency could be a reason for unannounced visits, too. For instance, when you are worried about the physical, mental or emotional health of a friend or family who has become unresponsive to phone calls and texts, and whose behaviour raises concern, an unplanned visit may be necessary.
What Should You Do Before Making That Visit?
But these are exceptions, not the rule. Imagine someone barging into your room when you are eating, sleeping, dressing or doing nothing but enjoying your own company and a little quiet. How does it make you feel? Exactly! It’s how people feel when you visit unannounced. It is no wonder then that Ajiboye calls these visits “unsolicited.”
“I don’t like people just showing up unannounced at my place. I don’t like unsolicited, unplanned visits. If you want to come around, I should know prior to the time. Also, because when I’m going out, I have to mentally prepare myself for it. I like to go there, do what I have to do and come back, I do not make any detours. It’s the same principle that should apply to visiting,” he states.
You do not want your visits to be a source of inconvenience to anyone, certainly not your friends and family. So, before you make that visit, call or send a text. Not only does it save you time and money, it makes you polite and considerate of other people’s feelings.
Photo by Godisable Jacob from Pexels
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