Courtesy in visiting family and friends Family

Nolwazi Mnikwa

THIS is one touchy subject of discussion. The manner in which an individual approaches visits to either family or friends is largely based on their background and upbringing as well as to how they have been socialised to view visits. I say this subject is touchy because the traditional approach to visits really did not incorporate an element of courtesy.

A relative traditionally could show up unannounced to your home and stay for an undefined amount of time. As socially accepted as this was, did you ever stop to think if the family that was being visited was ready for a visitor at that time and if they were comfortable with the duration of the visit?

This topic is touchy because someone with a traditional approach to visits may feel offended by the need to practice courtesy when visiting family and friends.

Courtesy can be defined as the showing of politeness in one’s attitude and behaviour towards others.

Courtesy is an expression of good manners, thoughtfulness and respect. So when you exercise courtesy in your visits, you are showing thoughtfulness towards the person you are visiting, you are showing that you respect the person you are visiting and you are also displaying yourself as a well-mannered individual.

The first step in expressing courtesy for your visit is checking with the person you intend to visit if you can visit them on a specific date or at a specific time. This is an expression of thoughtfulness as it shows that you are being considerate as to the fact that the person you desire to visit may have other plans for the day you wish to visit or the time you wish to visit. I have seen this kind of courtesy expressed to calls as well whereby someone intending to call first checks with the intended call recipient if it’s okay to call at a specific time. This however, is a topic for another day. Our focus today is on courtesy in visits. Checking if it’s okay to visit on a specific date or time also helps avoid you getting disappointed when you show up unannounced and find no one home.

Imagine a situation where you travel to another city to visit your relatives for a week and you find them away on holiday for two weeks. You would be utterly disappointed so courtesy is key.

Visualise another situation where you decide to visit a friend or relative within the same city but different neighbourhoods and you find that person leaving their home for an engagement they have.

You will be completely disappointed and this disappointment resulting from a lack of courtesy on your end.

Another situation to envision is if you show up with your bags to visit a relative for a week and that relative welcomes you but tells you that you cannot stay a week as they were not prepared for your visit. Not only will you be disappointed but embarrassed as well, simply because you did not employ a courteous approach to your visit.

Then there are some individuals who do not ask if it’s okay to visit at a certain time or on a certain day but they simply impose their visits. They do not ask but dictate their visits and this is wrong on all levels.

The visiting individual in this instance would not have considered that the person being visited could be busy at the said time or they could have other plans. If the person being visited in this instance already has other plans he or she will inform the person who wants to visit not to come. This may not be taken kindly by the person who wants to visit, in some instances they take it as offensive and even think they are unwanted. Yet it is not the case, it is simply a case of failing to exercise courtesy in planning a visit.

As you check if it’s okay to visit, it’s also important to express how long you would like to visit for. If it’s your visit is for an hour, make sure you communicate that and if your visit is for some days, make sure you communicate how many days you will visit. This is so that you and the person you would like to visit are on the same page. When the initial step to approaching your visit has been achieved, you will be able to visit your relative or friend at the time and date you both would have agreed on.

The next step is to ensure that when you agreed to visit at 2pm, you show up at 2pm. Time is of essence and time wasted can never be recovered. Showing up at 3pm or 4pm for a 2pm appointment is a sign of total disrespect for the person you are visiting. It is silent communication that is saying you think the person has nothing better to do than wait for you. It does not matter whether you are older or younger than the person you are visiting, what matters is that you respect their time.

A well-known preacher, Apostle Joshua Selman speaks concerning time and says, “The unit of destiny is time.” This shows the extent to which every second and minute matters, so as a visitor, when you are to visit at 2pm, make sure to keep the time. Understandably, there are some circumstances that may affect your arrival at the time agreed upon, in such an instance, it is important for you to communicate with the person you are visiting that you will be delayed by so and so minutes. Doing this shows both thoughtfulness and respect for the person as you are giving them the heads up to reschedule their other commitments. For instance, if you will be delayed by 30minutes and you communicate that, you are giving the person you are visiting the heads up for them to use their 30 minutes to attend to something else as they wait for you.

To note that the communication that you will be late should not be made at exactly 2pm or 5 minutes before but it can be made at least 15-30 minutes in advance. Making the communication that you will be late on time also presents you as an orderly and organised individual.

Thirdly, it is important to stick to the time you said you will visit for. If you had said an hour, let it be an hour and if you had said two days, let it be two days. In the event that you really feel the need to extend your visit, courtesy is to politely check with the person you are visiting if it’s okay to extend your time there.

Emphasis given to “politely check” so that you do not impose yourself and forcefully extend your visit.

Forcefully extending your visit can end up making you feel unwelcome where you are visiting.

It is also important for you to follow the rules in that home. If for example, you see members of that family removing their shoes by the door or when stepping on the carpet, then it is courtesy for you to do the same.

Your  shoes would have walked  on all types of surfaces and collected dirt underneath and it becomes disrespectful to then use those very shoes to walk around someone’s home. Some families have indoor slippers and some walk around their homes in socks, so if you are visiting a relative or family who do not want shoes worn outside to be worn in the home, it is courtesy to respect that.

If you are staying for some days, it is good for you to make the bed you will be sleeping on and clean the room you will be sleeping in, that’s courtesy. It would also be an act of courtesy for you to help around the home, for example helping wash the dishes.

There is so much to share on exercising courtesy in your visits. The above are just a few pointers in exercising courtesy in your visits.

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback as well as relationship topics you would like to have covered. You may send these to umthombowolw[email protected]  or to +263775978857. Keep safe and be blessed.


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