Visitors are welcome in most homes. Although that has changed with Covid-19 present hopefully we will return to old ways eventually.
Many of us like to invite people for a meal, a few drinks or cup of tea or coffee. Not a thought is given to how long they might stay.
However, how often do you find your visitors stay beyond a suitable time. They leave you clock watching, nodding off to sleep, pacing up and down the room or even doing the housework ready for a quick takeoff in the morning.
Traditionally it is rude to suggest your visitors leave. No one wants to “upset” friends or family. So here are some tactics we have experienced or have heard about from others.
Time for Pills
Many of us are blessed with excellent health. Others are not so lucky and have several medications to take daily. They suddenly remember they have to take pills before bed and jump up and start sorting them out. For those of us who are healthy the sight of someone not so fortunate sorting all their pills and medicines for the next scheduled dose is not a sight we enjoy. It crosses the mind they must rattle as they go upstairs to bed. A quick reminder goes through the head “must keep myself healthy”. So, you see, it can be enough to send visitors on their way!
Be careful of this tactic if the visitor is also on medication. You could find another lengthy conversation about the benefits of each medication. Bed will seem a long way away.
Chinese say “like more tea?”
It is well known the Chinese people love a cup of tea. If offered tea in a traditional Chinese family home it will be in small cups. Everyone’s cups will be filled and refilled as conversation carries on. Eventually, according to a Chinese Tea Master I once met, if the person asks if you want more tea it means it is time for you to go home. If he wants you to stay he will just keep serving more tea without asking! He has probably been given the look by his wife that dinner is ready or time to do something else. Believe it or not…well that’s what a Chinese guy told us.
The issue with this of course is that if the person doesn’t understand Chinese custom. They may take it to mean they are welcome to stay longer. You could try “would you like another drink before you leave?” there is an assumption you are leaving, although no time when!
If only it was simple.
Best be going then
We all have little sayings we are known for amongst friends. Sometimes they are humorous, sometimes annoying and other times just confusing.
Some young people I know often chuckle about a saying they hear from someone close to them. Initially it was confusing. Then it was humorous. This host says “Well best be going then”. The first time they heard it they wondered where she was going given they were at her place. Soon they realized it was them who “best be going”. There is a rather charming and old-fashioned sound to it, don’t you think? Yet, somehow, no need to explain why it is best you get going – once you realise it is you who is going
We used to own a café. It was in an old house with verandah and an outside courtyard. Most customers sat in the courtyard enjoying the fresh air and garden like surroundings. Usually in a café you see or hear the staff clearing out food cabinets, wiping down benches, bringing in Signs. Obviously they are going to close soon.
However our customers didn’t always notice what the time was from their relaxed garden seating. They could talk for hours and hours. We liked to be flexible. If we had enough tasks to be done we would let them be. We would clear their tables of dishes, wipe all the tables and chairs around them, close the gates, empty the rubbish, turn off the water feature.
Eventually it would get too much for my partner. Much to my disgust he would walk round closing the verandah windows with such force they couldn’t help but be surprised by the sound outside. Inevitably the lovely customers would come inside to say good bye and ask “what time do you close?” or “You will be looking forward to finishing for the day”. How did they know?
How to avoid the hassle
- Don’t invite people to visit
- Tell the visitors you can only hang out until a certain time most nights before falling asleep on the couch
- When inviting visitors over make them aware of a time limit due to other commitments
- As time marches on say sweetly to your visitors you have loved having them and could you arrange another time to meet up to carry on with your socialising.
- Yawn excessively
- Be honest – say you can’t stay awake any longer, it has been a long day. Or explain you have some work to get done before the morning or next visitor or before going to work.