to Invite and Welcome Friends to your Home
M. Khalil ur Rahman
Thanks mainly to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other socialmedia; the world is fast turning into, quite literally, a global village. As a result of this epidemic, you end up with a lot more friends and acquaintances nowadays than you could have ever imagined in the times of Dale Carnegie, who took great pains to write How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Should these friends decide on the frightful prospect of visiting your home, what will you do? Truly, there is a serious lack of guidance about the manners and etiquettes of welcoming such friends to your house. Hence, this thoughtful writer has decided to take on this noble task and enlighten you in this very urgent matter.
Unlike the technique adopted by our great friend Mr. Dale Carnegie, all inferences here have been deduced from great literary works of English and American fiction. If due attention and encouragement is given to this outline-work, the humble author can enhance this research to a full blown paper and enroll himself for a well deserved Ph.D.
A True and Devoted Friend
Before going into further details of the matter at hand, it is deemed best, considering the delicate nature of the subject, to first define the term 'Friend'.
A popular saying in Urdu claims that every person shaking your hand cannot be considered your ‘Friend.’. For a more perfect definition of the term we turn to Oscar Wilde:
‘Indeed I know of nothing in the world that is either nobler or rarer than a devoted friendship.’
‘And what, pray, is your idea of the duties of a devoted friend?’Asked a green linnet.
‘What a silly question!’ Cried the Water-rat. ‘I should expect my devoted friend to be devoted to me, of course.’
‘And what would you do in return?’
‘I don't understand you’, answered the Water-rat.
Discouraging your friends’ approach to your ‘Home’
After consulting some literary giants, here’s a compendium of advice:
1. To keep trespassers away, here’s an excellent example:
“A notice appeared on the gate at Bag End: NO ADDMITTANCE EXCEPT ON PARTY BUSINESS. Even those who had or pretended to have Party Business were seldom allowed inside. Bilbo was busy: writing invitations, ticking off answers, packing up presents, and making some private preparations of his own.
(The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. TOLKIEN)
2. Some times people try to make your acquaintance just outside your door. In that case, we find some very handy advice in Harper Lee’s Novel.
“Hey yourself,” said Jim pleasantly.
“I’m Charles Baker Harris, he said. “I can read”.
“So what?” I said
“I just thought you’d like to know I can read. You got anything needs readin’ I can do it…”
“How old are you,” asked Jem, “four and a half?”
“Going on seven.”
“Shoot, no wonder, then,” said Jem jurking his thumb at me. “Scout yonder’s been reading ever since she was born, and she ain’t even started to school yet.”
(To Kill a Mocking Bird by HARPER LEE)
3. If the above stated technique does not work, you can further discourage the pursuer by employing a slightly changed tactic as shown in the following paragraph,
“You look right puny for goin’ on seven.”
“I’m little but I’m old,” he said.
Jem brushed his hair back to get a better look. “Why don’t you come over Charles Baker Harris?” he said. “Lord! What a name.”
Jem scolded[MSOffice3] ,” I’m big enough to fit mine.” He said “Your name’s longer’n you are. Bet it’s a foot long.”
(To Kill a Mocking Bird by HARPER LEE)
When the Intruder actually comes into the house
It may come to pass that even after all these highly professional techniques, the intruder actually succeeds in entering the house. In this case, we have to take stern action, like the one elaborated in the following two cases
1. As suggested by the paragraph from “Wuthering Heights”;
‘Mr. Lockwood your new tenant, sir. I do myself the honor of calling as soon as possible after my arrival, to express the hope that I have not inconvenienced you by my perseverance in soliciting the occupation of Thrushcross Grange: I heard yesterday you had had some thoughts__’
Thrush cross Grange is my own, sir,’ he interrupted, wincing. ‘I should not allow anyone to inconvenience me, if I could hinder it__ walk in!’
The ‘walk in ‘was uttered with closed teeth, and expressed the sentiment, ‘Go to the Deuce’: even the gate over which he leant manifested no sympathizing movement to the words; and I think that circumstance determined me to accept the invitation.’
[MSOffice4] (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)
2. The same principle is further manifested in the next few lines;
When he saw my horse’s breast fairly pushing the barrier, he did pull out his hand to unchain it, and then sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court, __’Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’
‘Here we have the whole establishment of domestics, I suppose,’ was the reflection, suggested by this compound order.
(Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)
3. Miss Brontë is not the only one to elaborate this point. We can find the same treatment in Mr. Henry James’ novel as follows;
“Have you come to look at the house?” Isabel asked.” The servant will show it to you.”
“Send her away. I don’t want to buy it. I suppose you are one of the daughters?”
Isabel thought she had very strange manners.
“It depends upon whose daughters you mean.”
“The late Mr. Archer’s___ and my poor sister’s.”
“Ah”, said Isabel, slowly, “You must be our crazy Aunt Lydia!”
(The Portrait of A Lady by Henry James)
When you are forced to bring your friend with you to your household
There are circumstances when the unpleasant duty of bringing your friend to your household is bestowed (read: forced) upon your self. You can deal with this type of situation by just leaving the friend to find out on their own how welcome they are.
The young lady seemed to have a great deal of confidence, both in her self and in others; but this abrupt generosity made her blush. “I ought to tell you that I am probably your cousin.”
“Probably?” the young man exclaimed, laughing. “I supposed it was quite settled. Have you come with my mother?”
“Yes, half an hour ago.”
“And has she deposited you and departed again?”
“No, she went straight to her room; and she told me that if I should see you, I was to say to you that you must come to her there at a quarter to seven”
(The Portrait of A Lady by Henry James)
When you actually are in dire need of your friend
Sometimes it happens that your hunger and your blood-thirsty throat is getting hold of you and at this very instance your guest arrives and you gleefully plan to suck the life blood out of him.How do you treat your friend then?
“Welcome to my house! Enter freely and of your own free will.”
“Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go freely. And leave something of your happiness you bring.”
“I am Dracula. And I bid you welcome, Mr. Harker, to my house. Come in; the night air is chill, and you must need to eat and rest.”
(Dracula by Bram Stoker)
After all said and done, at times you actually are able to achieve what you had set out to do. Consider the scenario that after reading this very article, you painstakingly act upon it, word for word, and as a result you get rid of all your friends and become very un-popular. This bleak picture can be altered and made to shine through the use of not some extra judicial or supernatural faculties but PHILOSOPHY. ‘Seeing is believing’, they say, so we would like to do the same and show you the brighter side.
So long as I draw breath and have my faculties, I shall never stop practicing philosophy and exhorting and elucidating the truth for everyone that I meet… And so gentlemen… whether you acquit me or not, you know that I am not going to alter my conduct, not even if I have to die a hundred deaths.
… the philosopher had not buckled before unpopularity and the condemnation of the state. He had not retracted his thoughts because others had complained. Moreover his confidence had sprung from a more profound source that hot-headedness or bull-like courage. It had been grounded in philosophy. Philosophy had supplied Socrates with conviction in which he had been able to have rational, as opposed to hysterical, confidence when faced with disapproval.
(Chapter One: The consolations of Unpopularity, from
The Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Bottom)
In simple English it would mean that after having faced unpopularity one must study Philosophy. If you think it is very difficult and confusing, hark, there’s guidance there too! Why not read the sugar-coated pill instead (also known as “Sophie’s World by Jostien Gaarder”)? May God have mercy on your soul.