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Dealing with Relatives Who Come Over Unannounced

Category Family
Uninvited guests, especially family members, can put you in an awkward position. It can be hard to define the need for privacy and general courtesy to your relatives. This is a guide about dealing with relatives who come over unannounced.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
May 15, 2017

Is it okay for my father to just walk in to my house after marriage? We recently moved closer to my mum's place after having a baby. As I am working I leave my baby for her to babysit. Now just because we are close by my dad just walks into my house without even calling me and this is making my husband uncomfortable and this is happening on weekends. He is particular about his privacy and at times we are unable to do things thinking my dad might just come in any time. I mean he wants to relax and be himself, at ease in his home, and I myself am not happy about my dad just walking into my house just like that. How do I handle such situation? Am I being rude or selfish here? It's difficult to make my father understand about this uneasiness.


I feel that my parents should not take advantage and walk into my house anytime just because we two are staying alone without my father or mother-in-laws. Is my thinking morally wrong?

Please me to handle this situation.

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May 17, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

ThriftyFun is available and used in many countries so we, as responders do not always know what country a writer is from but generally assume it is the US. I am only saying this as many countries have different "family" rules and customs that may not be customary in the US.

Since this habit of your father's seems to be causing a lot of friction in your marriage then you certainly need to deal with it before a real blowup happens. Perhaps it started because your mother has been babysitting and so it seemed natural and okay for him to "visit" at anytime he wished.

I believe you (since it is your father) should be the one to discuss the problem with him but maybe telling him first that you would like for him to visit sometimes/occasionally but that he needs to call before coming as you and your husband (and baby) may have other plans and maybe you can schedule a visit for another day.

You may have to be firm and let him know that it is upsetting for anyone to just come to your house unannounced. Once he understands your position, hopefully he will agree with you. If he does not, then it may take a while for everyone to realize that you are grown up and have a family and home of your own and your family's welfare and peace of mind has to come first. Privacy is a big part of everyone's life so you are not being unreasonable in your request.

You do not mention your mother's role other than she babysits; but does she do the same thing? If she has the same "habit" then do you plan to include her in your request for more privacy?

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May 17, 20170 found this helpful
Best Answer

lock your doors-tell him if the door is locked he should not come in without being invited. if he doesn't comply, change the locks.

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May 16, 20172 found this helpful

That's not cool. You are adults and need your privacy. You should have a talk with him about your and our husband's privacy. He should totally understand.

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May 16, 20171 found this helpful

It is not right. They need to call before they drop by. I would talk to them before you get so annoyed that there will be a major blowup.

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May 16, 20170 found this helpful

Yes, talking is good. But a door lock is better. If you ever watched "Everybody Loves Raymond" you know how frustrating it was for Marie to just walk in. But, they never locked their doors.

Not only will it keep him out, but home invasion is on the rise and it's much easier if they don't have to make any noise and can just walk in.

In my house it's "closelock" as in one word.

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May 21, 20171 found this helpful

I have some folks that often come over uninvited. I at least keep my doors locked so they can't just walk in.

1. I have often asked they call before they come. So 1 of them does that now.

2. The other person I have a couple clocks in my living room. I look at the time and keep 20 minutes later in my mind. I then get up and say either I need to use the restroom, or that I have to make a phone call.

3. When I am organized enough, which is difficult, I have a timer and set it before I open the door. I set it for the 20 mins. Amazing the person has never caught on. That I don't understand.

For your dad try talking to him. Tell him exactly what you wrote.

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May 22, 20170 found this helpful

No, it is not right. I have a married son and I'd never, ever barge in on him and his wife. Your father should remember what it is like to be a young couple who wants to be alone at times.

I don't know if you've ever seen the TV show "Sex and the City," but one of the characters had the same problem with her elderly MIL barging in (she had a key) on Saturday morning.

They were trying to have a baby, and one Saturday morning, MIL came strolling into their bedroom................let's just say she started calling and knocking first.

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0 found this helpful
November 15, 2010

My sister in law visits our home at least 5 times a week. She never calls to ask if it is a good time to visit. She always stops by unannounced and uninvited.

If I am in the middle of cooking dinner, I either have to make more food to feed her or put my dinner on hold till she leaves. It is obvious that we are getting ready to eat, but she doesn't get the message to leave. We sit there hungry until she decides to go home.

We have been walking out the door to leave and she shows up and we have to postpone our plans. We have rented movies and have to stop watching because the movie was inappropriate for her 3 year old. We've even been interrupted by her when we were intimate.


I don't know how to make her understand that her constant visits are a nuisance without hurting someone's feelings. Five visits a week is just too much.

By citykitty

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

My rule is, and has been for nearly forty years, 'Please call first if you want to visit just in case I/we are busy or not feeling up to company.' All you and your husband need to say to her is, "We have a new house rule" and explain that you both would prefer the courtesy of a phone call. As a matter of fact it should be your husband, since it's his sister, saying it to her in your presence. I like what Lorelei mentioned about making sure it's said at a time you had invited her instead of during one of her surprise visits.

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November 18, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

Although I agree with some the ideas suggested by the others, I think there's something you need to think about first. Is it possible she is lonely? Does she not have friends of her own? Is she a single mom? If this is a possibility, perhaps you could help her find some activities that have other single parents, where she could make some new friends and be less dependent on you and your family. You could also set certain days and times for her visits, maybe like lunch/dinner once a week and a movie or game afternoon/night on another day for her and her child and your family. (You could also ask her to alternate weeks with you to give you a cooking break, etc.) You can tell her this would make everyone's time seem like a special day (by having some time apart). I know too much family can be an annoying thing but not having any family nearby (My siblings and their families live 16 hours away and I would love to be able to see them more often.) can be sad.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

Why not just tell her what you have posted on Thrifty Fun?

I would, if the situation was reversed, just tell her not to just drop in any time she feels like it. You may want to add the unannounced visits are taking time away from other projects that you need to do and her visits are are disruptive to your plans. Ask her to call ahead to see if you have the time for her visit. I would not hide from her or not open the door to tell her you are too busy at the moment for a visit.

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November 15, 20100 found this helpful

Never tell her a lie. That is of the utmost importance. That is worse than hurting her feelings by telling her the truth. You just need to build up the courage to say, "I'm sorry, this isn't a good time for you to visit" and close the door. If she asks what is wrong just tell her: we are sitting down to eat, we are going out and need to leave, we are busy with family matters (for the movie situation). And you can always add to the statement above, "You should have called, I'm sorry".

Think of it as tough love (but I don't think it is even close to what tough love really is).

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful

It is you and your husband's responsibility to set "boundaries." You have not done this successfully. You don't say what strategies you've tried. If you tell her in a straightforward and calm manner and she has hurt feelings, that is her responsibility to deal with. You can only control your thoughts, feelings and actions. She is in control of hers. Again, she can't gain entrance to your home without your granting her access. Good luck. I get the feeling that it is very hard for you to say no and not feel bad about it. You have to claim your power. :)

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful

You have to stop enabling her behavior. This won't be easy since you have been very effectively training her to visit unannounced and often. Every time you allow her to interrupt what you are doing, you are training her to do it again. So, you simply have to stop putting aside your activity when she shows up.

You have received many good answers already as to what to say to her. I would say continue going about your activity when she comes in, and don't do anything extra to accommodate her (with the exception of the inappropriate movie. I would lock the door if you are going to watch such a movie and do not answer it if she comes to the door.) Again, I would definitely stop what you are doing because you are actually encouraging her to continue the behavior that you do not like.

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful

I had a sister in law exactly like that. It was awful. She showed up and just walked into the house. When you have kids out playing you can't really lock the door. It never stopped until we moved too far away for her to just show up. The problem is that if you tell her to call she probably won't. Then you have to tell her again that if she doesn't call you won't let her in. Some people have no bounderies. My husband wouldn't address it. Unfortunately, there is a good chance she will end up mad but it is her own fault. Your home has to be your sanctuary. She should already know five nights a week is too much.

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November 16, 20100 found this helpful

I agree with the general opinion here. She should have more tact than just to show up. You feed her, accomadate her, and let her do as she pleases, uprooting family and alone time. Do not hint, just flat out tell her that you have plans, and they do not include her.

I am sure she would not like being brought out of her bed at 3 a.m. by your pounding on her door wanting to have a 'bull session'. I am sure just one of those would put her out of sorts.

Sit her down (I agree, it should be a family metting, with hubby leading the talk, as she is his sister), tell her that there are going to be rules:

1. She is to call, put a limit, say at least two hours before she intends to visit. If she just pops up, you cannot guarantee that you will accomadate her or even be home.

2. When you and your family are getting ready for an activity, she is to take the hint. Unless she is invited for dinner, or with the family to an outing (like a movie), that is the time to leave. As for the movie, if she shows up while the movie that may be too intense for the 3 yr old is on, tell her that now is not a good time, and she could call for a raincheck.

3. You are your own people, not her back up for when she has nothing to do and nowhere to go. Make appointments (really goes along with call ahead) but if she calls and that day/evening is not good, offer a day later in the week.

If she gets offended, too bad. Really, I suspect she'll be more mad than offended.

I am all for family, but family or not, she is not taking into consideration your feelings, plans, and the fact you do not need to include her at her whim.

Good luck, she is going to be unhappy, but I bet just one of those 3 a.m. visits to her place wanting to chit chat and have her prepare a meal for you would really be something she would not forget anytime soon.

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December 5, 20110 found this helpful

I did not read the suggestions from others, but here is what I would do in your situation:

1 - If you are about to eat dinner, eat it anyway. You actually can do this in a polite way. I've done it to family and have had family do it to me. No biggie.

Example: There are times when I just need my grandparents' advice. I'll pop in unannounced, knowing that they have an open-door policy. If they are about to sit down to dinner, my grandmother looks at me, apologizes, lets me know I am more than welcome to stay, but that they were about to eat dinner and are going to have to eat in front of me. If your sister-in-law cannot respect this, that is her problem, not yours.

2 - If you are about to leave for whatever reason, you should be able to let her know that you were just headed out the door, but you be free (enter time and date here) and would love to see her then. Again, if she takes offense, she is being selfish and that is her issue, not yours or your husband's.

3 - You have a movie, you paid so you could watch it, and it is your and your husband's home. If she wants you to turn a movie off because it is inappropriate for her child, I would tell her she can deal with it, send the child to another room, or go home. This is one that I would have a tough time being polite on. She is being selfish and controlling.

4 - As for the intimacy - I'd just make her wait. You'd hope that'd embarrass her enough to start changing some things.

5 - Have you talked to your husband about this? If he is just as annoyed, he may be the one who needs to deal with it... Not only is he the man of the house, but it's his family to deal with. He should know his sister inside and out, which could be helpful in dealing with her mishaps.

I do wish you and your family the absolute best. It's important to have close family ties and it does make me smile to think of how close his sister must feel to you guys if she acts this way. But, a line does need to be drawn. You guys need to be able to live your own life and she needs to go live hers.

Anyway, that's just my two cents. I hope God leads you all to the best possible destination!

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August 11, 20160 found this helpful

Hello. My name is Em and my cousin lives in a shelter/hotel with her adult daughter. The cousin comes over to my home every other weekend while her daughter comes the weekend her mother doesn't. The daughter loves to fry her hair in my bathroom sink, leaving hair everywhere, and has cursed me out when she doesn't get her way. One time she actually broke my fish tank and walked out the door even got in my face and called me the b word and my mother some derogatory names that will not be repeated here. She's been doing this since the age 14, her mom sits by saying nothing in our defense aligns herself with daughter as her friend. Now, as it stands their both homeless yet the daughter calls and ask us in advance if it's okay for her to visit but her mother refuses to ask. What's the problem? Is it a sign of weakness to do such a thing or is it just control or power over someone else? I am really ready to tell her to make the best of a bad situation by watching tv there instead of my guest bedroom because she leaves the tv on all night long just like her daughter. Tired and exhausted of them both incessantly complaining and talking about themselves like the world revolves around them.

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