20-40-60 Etiquette: Family stymied over lack of invite to new home
QUESTION: I recently purchased a new home and moved back to my hometown where most of my family lives. I have been here for five months and no one has asked to see my house.
I have since learned that they all feel they should have an invitation from me, either verbal or written to come and visit. I did not think it was necessary as they are immediate family. I felt if they were truly interested in my life they would stop by.
Maybe the rules have changed, but they informed me they did not feel welcome to come and see the house since I did not invite them, and they felt uncomfortable just stopping by.
I live in a small town where everyone knows everyone, and I felt my family would take an interest and just come. What is the proper etiquette for this? Thank you for your time.
CALLIE'S ANSWER: Yes, immediate family can stop by but should call first. It is best to state that you have an open-door policy, if that is what you prefer. Welcome home! Communication is key.
LILLIE-BETH'S ANSWER: I've noticed that I have friends who drop by and friends who schedule before dropping by, and I love both groups. There are pros and cons of each. It sounds like you have a family who schedules. It also sounds like both you and your family have different expectations, but neither of you have communicated the expectations to the other. So put all of your hurt aside, invite them over, and don't worry about why they haven't visited until now. And while they're there, tell them you'd love to see them any time! Sometimes people find it easier to stop what they're doing and come when they have a specific date in mind that they can add to their calendar. Keep trying to invite them – maybe for both planned events and last-minute get-togethers. You'll find your way. It's hard when you first move to a new place to settle into a new routine, even if you consider it “home.”
HELEN'S ANSWER: It would be wonderful if they would just come by to see you, but since that isn't happening, it is up to you to invite them over. Tell them they are welcome anytime, and to get that word out there. Then, continue to invite them if you want them to keep coming. You have been away for awhile, so they are not used to dropping in.
GUEST'S ANSWER: Richard Rosser, author of “Piggy Nation,” a series of books, a cartoon and more on etiquette: I'm sorry to hear that your family has not visited your new home. It would have been nice for them to stop by with a nice housewarming gift or home-cooked meal to welcome you back to town.
I also feel bad for your family members. They obviously expected you to invite them for a visit or throw a house warming party. Sounds like there is hurt on both sides.
Forget etiquette. Invite your family over for a party, meal or sports event. You've all wasted enough time worrying about who should make the first move!
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email firstname.lastname@example.org.