My Mother-in-law often just decides to visit us without calling in advance. She insists that since we are "family", she doesn't have to give notice. Furthermore she says that SHE always welcomes "drop in" visits from anyone at any time and so should we.  We don't like this and have told her so. But she continues to show up unexpectedly. This is a continuing source of conflict between us. Is she right or are we? What should we do?
- Paul

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We think you are absolutely in the right. Each household is different, and every household has rules about what is and isn’t acceptable about guests - including how many visitors the household can accommodate, how long they can stay, and how much notice is appropriate. If you and your wife have decided that drop-in visitors are not acceptable, then that’s the rule. It doesn’t matter that your mother-in-law loves drop-ins; if you and your wife don’t, and have made that clear to her, she needs to respect that. Ask Gothamist suggests talking it about it with your mother-in-law once more, using the logic described above, emphasizing that you and your wife are a separate family unit with your own rules. Be firm and clearly state your point that is not acceptable for her to drop in without advance notice. Make sure she is listening and not distracted when you have this talk.

If your mother-in-law continues to drop in without giving you any notice, even after you sit her down and clearly state your wishes and explain your rationale, we think you ought to happen to be “just leaving” whenever she “drops in.” What a coincidence that whenever she drops by, you have dinner reservations for four that can’t be changed, or are just about to go buy some insurance or visit the podiatrist. If she subconsciously associates “dropping in” with “just leaving” maybe she’ll stop coming by unannounced.