Please, Do Not Come Over to My House Unless You Call First

published Apr 29, 2024
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a woman placing a charcuterie board on a marble counter
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Prop Stylist: Stephanie Yeh

The minute you set foot inside my house, one thing is immediately clear: My husband and I absolutely love hosting. There’s a festive “welcome” doormat to greet you, the living room furniture is arranged to make the seating as conversational as possible, and it opens right onto a cozy little dining room with a table set for six and a bar tower filled with wine, spirits, and cocktail glasses just waiting to be used.

During the warmer months, our backyard deck is lined with beautiful small-space garden blooms, and we opted for comfortable patio furniture, a fire pit, and a grill. We like to think we’re ready to host friends or family any season or occasion, but there’s just one thing — please, please call first.

Now that the weather is warming up here on the East Coast, everyone’s coming out of hibernation and back outside — especially on gorgeous sunny spring days. This often results in more surprise visits than usual. And it’s not that we don’t want to see you (because we really do) — we just need a little time to best prepare.

If I’m not expecting you, chances are I won’t be at my best and neither will my home. I’m often described as “bubbly” and “joyful,” which are compliments and I’m flattered. I’m also human, which means every day isn’t a good one and if you don’t let me know you want to come over, you may be walking right into the middle of a bad one. If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I don’t want to transfer that energy to you or add to it by feeling flustered about whether I’m being a good host when I wasn’t quite in the mindset to do so.

No one has the time (or energy) to always keep their home pristine, especially on weekdays. There’s always some cleanup and extra prep required to convert my home from its everyday state of chaos to a space that’s acceptable for guests. That pile of dishes in the sink and those sort-of dirty clothes on the chair might not bother you, but just thinking about you thinking about them will give me anxiety the entire time you’re visiting. Having an extra hour to wash and stash whatever mess is in plain sight — and maybe light a candle or three — can go a long way for my sanity.

Plus, our two dogs are small, but their daily messes can be mighty. So having a few extra minutes to mop up muddy paw prints and vacuum the couch so your black clothes are safe will be a huge win for this host too.

Another reason to consider calling or texting someone before you stop by, even if it’s for just a moment, is that your hosts may want time to be thoughtful about what they serve you. I like to offer coffee, tea, water, or something a little stronger, to anyone who takes a seat in my home. But by Thursday nights we’re sometimes fresh out of coffee beans and tea bags and a quick trip the store could have easily remedied that problem. Plus, I love a good charcuterie board or chips and salsa spread, and I bet you do too. But I don’t have those ingredients handy unless I’m expecting you.

Put simply, if the weather’s nice, yes, please do come on over because we’d absolutely love to see you. Watching the people I love relax and enjoy the ease and comforts of the space I’ve worked hard to make warm and welcoming for all brings me endless joy. But if you give us a heads up first, we’ll all have a much better time together — promise.