I Was In The Area So . . . . .

19 December 2010

A couple of years ago, I was with a group of knitting friends in a cafe when one of them complained about a friend who would just drop by to her house unannounced.  She thought that was dreadful and everyone else in the group agreed with her.  Except for me.

Then this week, I read an article in one of the Sydney dailies which touched on this subject.  The writer said it was now a complete “no no” in Australia (or at least in Sydney) to call on a friend without prior warning.

When I lived in London, friends would just drop in and I took it as an extreme compliment – they presumably felt they would get a warm welcome.  And we’re talking about FRIENDS here, not passing acquaintances.  Friends won’t be offended if I have to tell them that I can’t stop as I’m on my way out, or I only have half an hour free but it’s enough time to put the kettle on. 

As well as being a compliment to my hospitality, it’s also easier!  If I know you’re coming over, I’ll make some attempt at tidying up and cleaning, I’ll make sure I have some cake or biscuits on hand etc.  If you just drop by, I may only be able to offer you a tea or coffee and have to clear the knitting from the sofa but presumably you’ll realise that. 

I wondered why nobody here ever dropped in but presumed it was ME.  I’ve often had friends over for meals and don’t seem to have trouble persuading people to come over (well David is a great cook).  But nobody ever calls by on the off-chance that I’ll be at home.  And nowadays of course they can phone from a mile or so away to check. 

I also use to pop over to see friends in England but I was glad I hadn’t been doing that here when I heard the opinion of my knitting crowd. 

So if you’re a friend of mine, and you find yourself in my area, drop in to say hello.  If it should be grossly inconvenient (which would be rare), I’ll tell you.  If not, you’re very welcome.



  1. I don’t know if this is a Sydney thing, but I miss it too. In NZ people often dropped in, and I wouldn’t have hesitated to drop in on a friend. People here aren’t as inclined to have you over for a meal, either; they’re more likely to meet you in a cafe. I’m not sure what it all means, if anything. Maybe it’s got more to do with the big distances in Sydney and the terrible traffic…?

  2. I frequently drop in on people (often with a phone call to check first), but I am used to people thinking I am rude 🙂

  3. I’d love to drop in…

    It’s still normal here, for friends to drop in. I love it!

  4. Americans LOVE the pop-in, at least in the Midwest. Most of my family members would be offended if you were in their area and didn’t stop by for a bit. Here it’s very different. Yesterday we went to a barbecue way, way out in the suburbs and it happened to be fairly close to the retirement village where Rodd’s grandmother lived. “We should stop by!” I urged him. He completely resisted. He had all these excuses, like she’s sure to be at dinner, or she’ll be upset she didn’t get to plan something for us, or we’ll mess up her weekend routine, etc. I just think that we see her so infrequently she would’ve been happy for the visit, don’t you think? Still, not my Grandma so I didn’t push. 😦

  5. I completely agree Sally, the worlds gone bonkers.

    I remember when I was a kid the neighbor just popping by unannounced for a cuppa to say HI, those days are truly gone. I think people no longer value friendships and live their lives running and not stopping to think what is actually important, like stopping to see a friend for that cuppa.

    Should I be out your way I’ll drop by 😀

  6. ooh no, I would always give a quick text. I always feel on the back foot when people just drop in. I like my house to look tidy but I have two small children. It only takes about two minutes to get it nice but I do really appreciate those two minutes! Friends are always welcome to drop by, I love visits! but just a quick text from the top of the street and I will be so much more relaxed. I know a friend doesn’t care what my house looks like, but I prefer them to see it how I like it to look rather than how my kids like it to look!

  7. Recently I was remembering a time when WM and I were young newlyweds; we travelled to Queensland on holidays and dropped in (unannounced) on my great-uncle and great-aunt. We were warmly received and even accommodated for a few days (which gave our soaking wet tent a chance to dry out). However, I remember I blushed at the recollection and realised I would not do that now!

    When we went to Tasmania in 1996 (a good fiffteen years after the prior event), we called our long-time family friend (of my parents) before we visited! I think I learnt etiquette in the school of hard knocks!

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