When Greg and I lived in Ohio it was less common for friends to visit spontaneously, but it still happened from time-to-time. As our friendships grew with our neighbors, soon we were all regularly popping over to one another's homes for unannounced visits and play dates. Again – I LOVED IT!!! :)
Was my home always spotless? No – usually there was a pile of dishes in the sink, crumbs on the floor, and toys scattered around. Was I always showered and presentable? No – I was often still in my pajamas with unbrushed teeth and uncombed hair. Did it matter? No – my friends loved me and my home exactly the way we were. Did I care when I went to my friends' homes? No – I loved my friends and their homes exactly the way they were. We were real with each other.
So now Greg and I live in New York and only one friend comes to visit me unannounced from time-to-time (because I told her I wanted her to and she's such a sweetheart she does it for me!), but other than her everything is planned. In New York everyone is so busy that everything must be firmly scheduled several weeks/months in advance. I feel like if I visit someone unannounced that after I leave they'll say, "Can you believe she just showed up without calling?!?!" I've been struggling here in New York with missing my spontaneous visits, so this is my official announcement – Rachel V. is bringing back unannounced visits to New York!
Here are the four reasons why I absolutely LOVE spontaneous visits:
1) Spontaneous visits create authentic relationships with people! None of us look perfect and have perfectly kept homes all the time. In fact more often than not our homes are a little messy rather than perfectly clean. Why do we pretend this isn't the case? Why do we schedule visits so we can make our house look perfect and force our friends to do the same? I love the genuineness that comes from my friends knowing the V's house isn’t always perfect, but they love me and come over anyway.
2) Spontaneous visits make me a better housekeeper! When you know that friends might pop-in unannounced any day and at anytime it forces me to make sure the lunch dishes are at least placed in the sink after lunch and to make sure I'm doing my best to make sure ALL the toys aren't lying around the house at once. I don't try to keep my house perfect all the time – that would be impossible – but I do try to keep it picked up and my motivation to keep it picked up is increased by regular unannounced visitors.
3) Spontaneous visits make life more fun and exciting! I'm an extrovert so I thrive on relationships and spending time with people. When I know my plan for a certain day doesn’t involve seeing another adult then sometimes I feel depressed before my day has even really started, but when I have a special visit or outing planned it brightens my spirits. Even if on a certain day I don't have plans to go out or have a friend over, if I know spontaneous visits are happening regularly, it makes me happy to know that friends might pop-in unannounced.
4) Spontaneous visits remind us that people are more important that schedules! When a friend comes over unannounced we're always "doing something." Sometimes that something is important and other times it's not, but either way I can always take 5-30 minutes to stop what I'm doing and spend some time with a friend. If I'm on my way out the door, then I tell my friend and she comes another time. If I'm busy completing a time constraint project, then I work on it while my friend is at my home or I tell her I'll need to chat later. No feelings are hurt in these situations because that's the risk that comes with a spontaneous visit, but let's be honest - usually we can take a few minutes to spend time with a friend regardless of what we are doing because people are more important that finishing all our tasks perfectly on our self-imposed schedules.
So be prepared my New York friends – I'm coming unannounced to visit you soon! :) Please don't feel like you or your home need to be perfect (my home is almost never perfect either)! Please don't feel like you need to entertain us for hours on end – a 5 minute chat is enough! Most importantly – please pop-in and visit me unannounced because I LOVE IT!!! :) Myself and my home won't be perfect, but you're welcome to push over some toys, sit on our couch, and spend some time with the V's. :)