Question: How Long Is Too Long?

My wife has a question, and wants to benefit from the erudite wisdom and judgment of my followers. She doesn’t give a damn about my advice, but she does regard my followers as worthy of offering valuable counsel.

She has a friend who likes to visit us at our house. This friend typically visits for three to four hours before finally deciding it’s time to go home. By this time, my wife is sick and tired of her.

But not me. That’s because when her friend visits, I just retreat into my bedroom, put my noise-canceling headsets on, and read, blog, and do other solitary things in quiet serenity.

My wife envies my quiet serenity, and wants shorter visits so she can have some serenity also. But she wants to know how short is too short, and how long is too long. In short, how long is the ideal visit? Is there some sort of etiquette rule to this?

At what point is it best to give her friend the boot out the door? She needs answers, and any thoughts or suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

Categories: question

223 replies »

  1. A very common question re social etiquette. If it is more than twice the expected length, then it is too long however, length tends to be proportional with available time, and so it becomes a variable. Time and tide apparently wait for no man, and as I don’t believe you have a tide where you are, and as time will not wait for a man …. this puts puts your lady at an advantage. The problem here is that the person with verbal diarrhea is also a woman which rather negates your lady’s advantage!

    Some manipulative thoughts :
    “Oh what a surprise. It’s nice to see you again, but your timing really sucks! I have to be out of here in 15 minutes.” Of course in 15 mins your lady must leave and go somewhere!

    “Well ‘Deidre’ (sub her name as she may get confused by being called Deidre) … It was a lovely visit, but I must ask you to go now as I have things that I really want to get done today” (Variables “I have to make some phone calls.” “In the middle of a research project” “Learning Swahili” “Really tired and have to take a nap” “Fed up with listening to your total gibberish.” “Need to discuss something really important with Tippy” (Be creative and, as a last resort .. “Deidre … piss off!)

    Hope that helps! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Well I was trying to think of some wise advice to give but I think Colin pretty much covered it! I will say that I have used the “I have an appointment to go to very soon.” excuse when needed. Or you could always be the hero and come rushing out of your room saying “I hate to interrupt but we gotta go for our marriage counseling appt!” Her friend just may be speechless! Though there may a lot of questions from her afterwards.
    While I don’t think there is an exact time that is too long, I do feel that always staying for 3 to 4 hours at a time is a way to wear out your welcome! Unless you are a super close friend! But still, we all like our “serenity” time”. How often does she come? Sounds like a glass of wine for your wife, would come in handy when her friend is there jabbering away.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is hard for a man to understand. Two men can not see each other for a few years, get together, and say everything that needs to be said in about 5 minutes. Two women can spend all day shopping together and then get home and talk for 6 more hours. I don’t know.

    You have to find something that women hate to be around and then make that happen. Have you tried getting sloppy drunk and belligerent? When the lady gets there, you go start hitting the booze and by the time you are nice and loaded, it will be time for that lady to leave. You go in there and start complaining about the dishes and the cleaning in a loud slurred voice. The lady will then bail out and then you can go sleep it off. Or buy an annoying dog to keep in the house; preferably a leg-humper.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oh my gosh! Your advice may just scare anyone from coming over to their house!

      LOL! Yes, women are very different when it comes to gabbing. How can you all possibly say everything that needs to be said in only 5 minutes!
      You did explain us pretty well. My bestie and I can drive 4 and 1/2 hours to the beach talking all the way. We don’t need the radio! Then we can be out at the beach and continue to talk into the late night hours. Its great! 🙂

      Liked by 5 people

    • That’s very true about men. I think men need about two years of separation between visits. And then 5 minutes is sufficient to catch up. After that we run out of things to say and have to start repairing a car or something.
      I haven’t tried getting sloppy drunk and belligerent, since I believe alcohol is poison. But I did get rid of one visitor once by cracking open the door of my bedroom and calling out to my wife, asking her to bring me a glass of water. Her visitor thought I was a male chauvinist pig and left in a huff.
      We have 3 dogs, but none are leg-humpers. Perhaps that’s a trick we can teach them, though, as that sounds like a good idea.

      Liked by 4 people

  4. I think it depends on how close the relationship is with the friend or relative. For that nosy neighbor who likes to drop in unannounced, certainly 5-10 minutes is enough. For a casual acquaintance you like, I would say 1 to 2 hours is plenty; for a friend or relative you really like but haven’t seen in awhile, 4-5 hours (like maybe an entire afternoon). For a good friend or relative who’s visiting from out of town, an entire day is reasonable so you can show them the local sites if they wish. And then there are those much needed visits to Mom – when mine was alive, I would go out and spend the entire day with her and sometimes even stayed overnight. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did, but she definitely understood I was doing it as much to get away from my own household as to spend time with her.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I like your various time lines for different situations. Perhaps you could create a chart that people can hang on their walls. You could even make some money selling it.
      When a visitor arrives, you can point out the chart, then set a timer, and tell your visitor that when the timer goes off, they have to go home.
      Nice you got to visit with your Mom all day, from time-to-time. I’ll bet she did enjoy it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So I just discovered your blog and I think that after that cup of coffee, tea and crumpets, whatever…time’s up. Unless the gossip is really juicy. Then until you’ve milked “the news” for all it’s worth. You might want to come and join in. Y’all need to have signals for all of this of course. Mona

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I have run into this situation and I conclude that (unless you want to resort to rudeness) once you invite the person in, you are stuck with them until they decide it’s time to leave. My solution is don’t invite them in. Have your wife to go to her friend’s house (so it’s her decision when to end the visit) or arrange to meet her somewhere that closes (like the patio of a socially-distanced coffee shop or restaurant) an hour before closing time (or however long she wants to visit). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good, solid advice. Yes, once they’re in it practically takes a court order to evict them. I like the idea of meeting them someplace that’s about to close. That’s the perfect excuse to cut things short.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I have friends who do that. I can only handle so much with my health. The one time I told them I had to take my meds and they were going to knock me out soon. They still stayed two hours past that. The next time I just said that I have to call it a night and go to bed.
    Both times they were here for hours. We enjoy each other’s company and have fun, but I have to have balance.

    I would say maybe your wife could set the boundary before her friend comes. Say she has a couple of hours and then it’s lights out?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Or Tippy, you could help your wife out by texting her every couple minutes so she has a reason to keep checking her phone, make sure your pooches smell like wet dog, turn on some obnoxious music. If all else fails, you could fry some fish, or take a great big nasty crap and “forget” to flush.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. With some friends, 3-4 hours flies by in heartbeat in good conversation and more than a few laughs. With others, a single hour is cruel agony.

    During this period of self-isolation (in which I’ve become a little too comfort), I’ve had a couple of phone calls that made me realize that for those in the latter category, I’m not a ‘friend’ at all – just an audience for their endless complaining about one situation or another, or mindless gossiping about people I don’t know and care even less about. I’ve come to the conclusion I don’t want to play that role anymore.

    We are still in semi-lockdown but the day of reckoning is approaching. I haven’t quite figured out the ‘hows’ yet – passive-aggressive, cool grace, or blunt force trauma. I’m aiming for grace, but it’s never been my forte.

    Liked by 1 person

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