If We Haven’t Done the Talking, Don’t Bother Knocking

Andrea Freedman


There is nothing I find quite as startling as when I hear an unexpected knock on my door, especially late at night. Quite often, I hold my breath, stay very quiet and pretend I am not home.

If I do decide to venture a look through the peephole, I usually yell through the closed door “Thanks, not interested”, especially if the person is there to try to sell me something.

I have been woken from a deep sleep, interrupted by a loud, frightening knock at my door. There have been times when I have just gotten out of the shower. What really gets me are the ones who knock a second time. Now that is a lot of gall.

As we live in a large high-rise with a heavy flow of pedestrian traffic and lots of people randomly buzzing tenants from the lobby in the hopes that someone will let them in, I also make a habit of not answering the intercom if I am not expecting company.

I know some people who often don’t bother to lock their front doors and it drives me crazy when I see someone possibly endangering themselves and their families unnecessarily. Times are different now. We don’t live in the days where everyone welcomed neighbours coming and going as they pleased in and out of their homes.

I also cannot understand when a person won’t ask “Who is it?” before answering the door. It is all well and good to be friendly, but once a stranger gets into your home, you most likely will not be able to get him or her out.

I must confess that besides being frightened by unexpected knocks at the door, I am not a fan of people dropping by uninvited. It never fails that it always happens during an inopportune moment. If I’m expecting someone, great; if not, I wish they would call first. Personally, I think it is downright rude to show up at someone’s house unannounced – especially when the knocking is loud or aggressive.

I am happy to have regular visits from friends – that is, if I know they are coming. It is funny that I have heard many of these same people say things like “Just please give us a call first.” That is a perfectly reasonable request, and I do not recall ever once showing up unannounced at someone else’s home, whether they be friend, family or otherwise.

Ironically enough, I have often said things like “I always keep my place clean. I would never be embarrassed if someone dropped by unannounced” even though I hope not to have to put that to the test.

Recently when I walked to the incinerator to take out the garbage one week night after nine o’clock, I noticed a student roaming our hallway canvassing about something. I told her “There’s my unit, please don’t come to my door.” I further went on to inform her that it was inappropriate for her to be bothering people at that time of night.

It is nice to know you can count on your neighbours in an emergency (or if you run out sugar). Having said that, luckily, even among neighbours I am friendly with, there is an unspoken understanding between us that we never knock on each other’s door without calling first.

Besides occasionally making an exception and answering my door when one of the kids in the building is selling Girl Guide cookies, the last thing I need at the end of the day is unexpected soliciting. It always takes me about ten minutes to calm down and get my heart to stop racing after someone knocks on my door without being invited.

My home is my sanctuary; it is the one place I expect to be assured of my space and privacy. The sound of a loud knock at the door can be jarring and even scary. It is often better to be safe than sorry and simply not answer. For all the dropper-inners out there, please, do me a favour and go bang on someone else’s door!♠




Copyright © by Andrea Freedman 2014


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on December 4, 2014, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yes, it’s quite invasive, particularly if you live in a small apartment or condo, as the front door is usually the only barrier to your main living space, and opening your door to unexpected strangers gives away too much info about your life, habits, status etc.
    Not to mention that by opening the door to unexpected strangers you are
    putting your self in a very vulnerable


  2. I agree with you 100%. I don’t answer the door, if there is a knock, because noone is allowed in the halls of our building to solicit for any reason, and, if someone does try, and if there does happen to be a sound at our door, I pretend not to be home and never take a chance of a breakin from an intruder. I answer the door only to welcome guests. Great article.


  3. Hi Andrea,
    My new place in Montreal is just the opposite; I rarely see anyone. My Saturday Gazette is by my door on Monday morning when I drop by before heading off to work. It’s eerie.


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