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guests reading stuff on your fridge - normal or private


hornblower
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If you're a person who still puts notes & memos on your fridge with magnet, do you think it's rude for visitors to stand and obviously read stuff on your fridge? 

or if  you're visiting a person who has stuff posted on their fridge, would you think it's ok to read stuff stuck on the fridge? 


& spin off - how do you feel about people checking out your bookcases in great detail? 



 

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I think a quick glance is fine, if you have something really private you should take it down before guests come over. I don't mind if people browse my bookshelves. If they started questioning me about books in a judgemental way I would probably be self conscious.

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I don't have much stuff on the fridge, but find it normal for visitors to read - that is often subconscious, I have done that myself without actually being interested in what my hosts had on the fridge - there are words, and one is compelled to read them.

 

As for checking out book shelves in detail: that is one of the best ways to learn a lot about the people who live there, a great way to discover common interests, a perfect conversation starter with strangers. I expect people to peruse my bookshelves; anything I would not want visitors to see would be stored in a more private location.

Edited by regentrude
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If it's on the fridge, I assume it isn't private.

 

THis once led to a slightly ambarrasing incident though when I was a student.  I was at a party at a friend's, and there was a humorous photo of him on the fridge where he  appeared to be naked, but the magnet was covering his questionable parts.  I assumed it was a sort of joke, and lifted the magnet.  Well, it wasn't a joke, it was a naked photo, and he saw me do it and said, in a shocked voice, "I can't believe you looked!" 

 

I replied that of course I looked, and who would put a real naked photo on the fridge, anyway.

 

So - I guess not everyone thinks about people looking at the stuff on the fridge.

 

I pretty much feel the same way about bookshelves.

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Totally normal - I consider it a great snapshot into the family, like a bulletin board. We usually have up coupons, events, missionaries we pray for, etc.

 

I expect people to browse my bookshelves too. If it is an overly private selection I store it elsewhere, away from the kids and guests.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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On the topic of book shelves: I found it very odd when I moved here and was invited to people's homes - and the living room walls were not covered in books as I was used to from all friends and family back home. There, a conversation would naturally start at the bookshelves; they were often the main decoration.

Edited by regentrude
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I think it's very normal for people to look at the stuff on the fridge.  I know I do  it -  most people I know have photos of family and friends, Christmas cards, etc.  It's fun to look at them and sometimes comment on them.  "Oh, when were you in <this town>?"  "Oh, your son was so cute! How old is he in this picture?"  

 

Sometimes there are conversation starters.  One year I made up a list of rules for our homeschool. They were mostly tongue-in-cheek.  It was fun to  hear people's comments on them.  

 

But, I often have groups over for meals and the buffet line runs past the fridge.  So, it would be foolish for me to think people wouldn't be looking at the stuff pinned up.

 

Bookshelves?   I also love looking at people's bookshelves and expect mine to be looked at.  I have occasionally placed books there in the hope of it leading to a conversation, or to have at hand if I wanted to bring something up.   Bookshelves have saved me from boredom at many a party where I don't know anyone. 

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Now, if someone walks in and then squats down to read the dvds in the bottom of the entertainment center (ours is a long waist high cabinet,) or starts opening doors on closed bookcases or cabinets, or going through the fridge etc, that's a different story. Yes, that sort of stuff is still technically public (IMO,) but it's something that someone would have to go out of their way for. The minute you start crossing over into specifically going out of your way to read something or look it over or whatever, that's when you start to be weird.

 

 

To me, anything behind a closed door is private.   I would never dream of opening any cupboard or the fridge in someone's home unless the host asked me to get something for them.  

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My in-laws have opened and read thank you cards clipped onto the fridge and ask questions about fridge magnets and everything else on the fridge. So we know to clear what is personal on the fridge door before they visit.

I know people whose kitchen is off limits so we won't loiter in the kitchen and read whatever is on the fridge.

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If it's on the fridge then it's not private, is it?  If you want it private then put it in a notebook etc or in your bedroom, or a home office.

 

I see lots of stuff on people's fridge's and I assume it is there to be seen: baby picture, vacation pictures, cards from friends, report cards, clever cartoons, etc. When go into someone's kitchen I usually glance at the fridge to see if there are any new pictures or things on display.

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I think it's public info if you've got it on the fridge. 

 

Now, if it's in an envelope, no one should be taking it down and opening it up, lol.

 

But, if it's viewable standing there in front of the fridge, then it's gonna' get read.

 

If you don't want folks to read it, put the words out of sight.

 

Personally, I read ALL THE TIME, like obsessively. Back in the day before taking my iPhone everywhere, I'd routinely read the back of shampoo bottles on the toilet or in the tub. Honestly. Shampoo bottles, bumper stickers, instruction books, old catalogs from 3 years ago that are on the back of the toilet . . . If there are words in front of me, I will read them. 

 

Thank goodness for my iPhone and other portable devices, I can now be more discerning about my reading materials, lol. I only have to resort to shampoo bottles if my phone runs out of batteries and I don't have a book or kindle on my person.

 

 

 

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Ok, it's just me then.  :lol: 

I was just making my task list for December & one of the little notes was to purge the fridge magnets because we're hosting the 25th this year & it drives me batty to have people reading through that stuff.  & then I wondered if anyone else does that... I have one guest who will literally stand there & read through everything if I haven't taken it off. 

Regentrude, my living room is a wall of bookcases :)  It's not that I expect people to avert their eyes but neither do I always appreciate people standing up and really checking out all my books. 

I had a guy replacing a window strike up a conversation about Memoirs of a Geisha.  I was a bit taken aback. 

It's not that I think people should avert their eyes but I also don't know that they should be obviously reading. I have schedules, reminders, shopping notes - it's like scrolling through my phone calendar or my email reminders etc. If I see them at someone else's home, I just try hard not to see - kind of like I avoid looking at people's smartphones, kwim?  

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If it's on the fridge then it's not private, is it?  If you want it private then put it in a notebook etc or in your bedroom, or a home office.

 

lol. Maybe that's our problem. Small house, open floor plan & I work & study in all these spaces. I have all sorts of notes about all sorts of things all over. 

 

I'm not really set up for guests. 

 

 

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<snip>

 

Personally, I read ALL THE TIME, like obsessively. Back in the day before taking my iPhone everywhere, I'd routinely read the back of shampoo bottles on the toilet or in the tub. Honestly. Shampoo bottles, bumper stickers, instruction books, old catalogs from 3 years ago that are on the back of the toilet . . . If there are words in front of me, I will read them. 

 

Thank goodness for my iPhone and other portable devices, I can now be more discerning about my reading materials, lol. I only have to resort to shampoo bottles if my phone runs out of batteries and I don't have a book or kindle on my person.

LOL Me too! I thought I was the only one.

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Absolutely normal expectation here, too. I stick stuff on the fridge all the time and have two little dry erase boards on there too. If someone is in our house they are probably in the family room/kitchen combo area and would have a hard time avoiding passing the fridge at some point. If stuff is up there their eyes are probably going to gravitate towards it. Normal human reaction. If I stick something up there that I would rather not have others see I put it in a kitchen drawer until they are gone.

 

As for books, yeah I expect people to browse titles of the books in the main rooms. I would think it odd for someone to go into rooms with closed doors to browse book titles, though.

 

Unexpectedly, our Harry Potter books caused some issues with a family that were friends of ours. They are very anti anything mentioning witch craft. I did not hide the books during future visits. We don't discuss them, though, either. We leave it be.

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The fridge is not a place for private things. 

Lots of people I know have pictures and announcements on their fridge for public display so I think it's perfectly normal for people to have a look at what's on the fridge if they're near it.

If someone really wants to read my grocery lists, to do lists, and Tae Kwon Do schedule they can. I would think they'd be bored by it, but whatever.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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If it's on the fridge, it's out for display.

 

If it's in a bookcase in the main part of your house, it's out for display.

 

I am strategic about what books I put in the main part of the house, because I hope & expect people to be curious.

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment?  Or in a dorm room?  

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim?  It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over  :lol:

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We have a houseful of guests all the time, and it is pretty much Grand Central Station around here.  I don't have any expectations of privacy in the public spaces.  Anything private is kept upstairs in my office, usually tucked away in a drawer if we are having lots of people over.  It wouldn't phase me for people to read things on my fridge or bookshelves.  In fact, bookshelf browsing is quite the conversation starter!

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment? Or in a dorm room?

 

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim? It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over :lol:

Actually, yes, if I am invited over and stuff is out and visible I would assume it was not private. I would assume I was not expected to avert my eyes and pretend it isn't there. That would seem unrealistic and a burden on the guest in my view.

 

Obviously this is bothering you, though. I'm not sure what to suggest. Have you analyzed your space to see if you could keep your more private things in an area you can maybe partition off temporarily while guests are around? Like maybe some sort of folding screen?

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On our fridge.....the meal plan, dr appt reminders, and 4 year old art work with a smattering of pictures.....yeah, no big deal for people to read it.  Our bookshelves? Children's classics and homeschool curriculum with an encyclopedia set, and a few antiques for display.

 

I would expect guests to be open to look at anything that isn't behind closed doors.  (We have a small house too)

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment?  Or in a dorm room?  

 

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim?  It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over  :lol:

We don't have a separate family room either.  Our downstairs is our bedroom, plus a kitchen/living/dining area that is all open.  Our only private areas are our bedrooms, and perhaps my office area..but even it isn't super private as it is really an open area at the top of the stairs.  (We do often put a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs to close off that area if we are having people we don't know as well over)

 

I think it is probably just what you are used to.  Like a previous poster, I unconsciously read every thing in sight.  I wouldn't think twice about reading something that is posted openly.

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment?  Or in a dorm room?  

 

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim?  It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over  :lol:

We have a small house too with very little private space. Other than our bedrooms there really isn't anywhere to hide stuff and I am not one to hide things in drawers. Not that the kitchen has any drawer space available for that purpose. My kitchen is tiny.

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If it is someone I don't know well I generally try to avert my glance and I certainly wouldn't comment on items on the fridge or even books on the shelves. I may *ask* if I could take a look at their books, but I wouldn't do so without asking. If they are friends, yes, I might ask about a book title or comment on a drawing on the fridge, but otherwise, no. I was taught that it isn't polite, kind of like how you shouldn't look into someone's house if they haven't drawn their curtains at night and if you do, you certainly don't let people know it!

Edited by bibiche
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I display stuff on my fridge. I didn't realize anyone would have personal, private, and/or embarrassing stuff on there. The kitchen is also the least private room in the house to me, though.  I've even put funny things up on our fridge FOR other people to get a kick out of.  LOL  I guess for those who have personal stuff up in their kitchen it's sort of on them to remove it before guests come over?  

 

Now, I do not like it when guests feel free to OPEN my fridge without permission and I would never do that at another person's house. 

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment?  Or in a dorm room?  

 

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim?  It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over  :lol:

 

I get that it's tough to keep stuff private when you have limited space!

 

My ideas to consider . . . 

 

+ consider book cupboards instead of shelves. :)  Maybe glass cupboards with seeded glass. I love seeded glass. :) 

+ consider a cabinet for your notes/etc that has doors you can close. I think I've seen them sort of like the old fashioned dart boards, with two doors that you can close -- notes on both the main interior surface and also the insides of both doors. It can be on a wall, and you can close the doors when you have guests and it's just a closed cupboard with some decorative surface on the exterior. :) 

 

When we had a small house, and lots of guests/helpers/people in and out all the time, I just kept *all* private things in my own bedroom. 

 

 

We have a huge house now, but all my private stuff is still in my bedroom. Period. Nobody is supposed to go in there without permission, and certainly nobodym (besides dh) should be wandering around looking at stuff in our bedroom. Creepy creepster. Anything I leave lying about the rest of the house is fair game, within reason. Certainly, no one should open a random drawer unless they have a good reason for doing so (kitchen drawer, looking for a fork, etc.) or dig through my purse on the counter -- that'd be bizarre and grounds for banishment  . . .

 

That said, I just wouldn't leave personal/private info/stuff out anywhere except on the dressers/etc in my own bedroom. I guess that in the home office I might have financial papers in a stack on the desk for a while or even occasionally left out in plain sight for a brief time, but that's another zone that I'd expect folks to keep their noses out of random piles of papers on a desk. (And if they're brazen enough to poke through my bills, then they'd better be discreet enough not to let on, or else that'd be the end of that relationship, for sure.)

 

Of course it'd be bad manners for anyone to go nosing through papers/mail . . . but it happens, so I just wouldn't leave stuff like that out in a "shared" part of the house. Period. 

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment?  Or in a dorm room?  

 

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim?  It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over  :lol:

 

If I had something private on a piece of paper it would be in my bedroom (private space) in an under bed container or in a filing box in a closet (private space) or something like that.

 

I have 15 bookcases in my house.  5 are in my living room (public space,) 1 is in each bedroom (private spaces,) and 6 are in the loft (public space.) I am delighted when people want to look at my books in my public space and chat about them.  I look at people's books in their public spaces and chat with them about them all the time.  So far my experience has been that book people love to chat about their books when people look at them and ask questions.

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I find most books fair game, and even interesting to talk about. - When the books are in a public and easy to few area.

 

On the top shelf of a high bookshelf I kept my old highschool year books. I am 5 foot 7 and I could just manage to reach the bottom of the books to get them down, but if ever wanted something from up their I would get a stool. The rest of the shelf was odd or old things that we were keeping for one reason or another. Mostly old taxes and the like in brown envelopes. The shelf was in the front hall and would be hidden whenever the front door was open. 

 

Once my FIL came to visit. When I wasn't looking he pulled them down and insisted on looking through them. 

 

After that I put them elsewhere. I personally would never have considered something in such a spot free game. I'm not even sure how he reached them since we are about the same height. 

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Actually, yes, if I am invited over and stuff is out and visible I would assume it was not private. I would assume I was not expected to avert my eyes and pretend it isn't there. That would seem unrealistic and a burden on the guest in my view.

 

Obviously this is bothering you, though. I'm not sure what to suggest. Have you analyzed your space to see if you could keep your more private things in an area you can maybe partition off temporarily while guests are around? Like maybe some sort of folding screen?

It's ok, I'll purge everything temporarily & scrub & sanitize it for public viewing :)   

 

The more I think it really is because I use this space as my office & the kids use it as their homeschooling space.

 

 I have my process notes, endless stickies & memos to myself & little motivation things & notes that are really personal and private about both my art and my work. 

 

I'm glad I asked because it just clarifies that people do expect it to be public. There's no way to partition stuff off. The bookcases need a cleaning out anyway so I'll just schedule that & remove all my notes & make it presentable for guests :)

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If it is someone I don't know well I generally try to avert my glance and I certainly wouldn't comment on items on the fridge or even books on the shelves. I may *ask* if I could take a look at their books, but I wouldn't do so without asking. If they are friends, yes, I might ask about a book title or comment on a drawing on the fridge, but otherwise, no. I was taught that it isn't polite, kind of like how you shouldn't look into someone's house if they haven't drawn their curtains at night and if you do, you certainly don't let people know it!

 

OMG, you get me!  Come visit me.   :laugh:

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Would you all feel the same way if you visited someone in a small 1 bedroom apartment? Or in a dorm room?

 

We don't have a family room so our living space is our shared private space, kwim? It doesn't feel public to me; this probably all explains why I so rarely have anyone over :lol:

In thinking through this further, most of the people I know in this area only have one living area. That area is usually where guests are expected to be. A lot of houses here have an open floor plan so the kitchen is very visible, frequently merged with the living area, and people walk through it. Tiny houses especially. I think it would be unrealistic to expect guests to avert their eyes from books on bookshelves or on the refrigerator or other surfaces easily visible in the space they have been invited to hang out in for the entire time they are guests. As a guest I would not think to do that and would feel very uncomfortable if asked to do so. Like I might at any moment accidentally read something the host didn't want me to read so I would sit worried at what I can look at. Now opening cabinets or drawers or bedroom doors would not seem appropriate. But for the open areas I had been invited into I would not think I had to actively sensor what I looked at and casually read.

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I actually dislike having people in my kitchen (because that's where I'm still cooking and it's probably messy and I can't talk and cook at same time) and i'd rather guests wait by the lovely fire drink in hand, but I realize that's *my* issue and the kitchen is not really private I guess. Though if I could put a door on the kitchen I would. Anyway because kitchen isn't private fridge isn't either, sorry. :(

You must not be alone though because my fridge doesn't "stick" on the front, only the side.

Eta bookcases don't bother me. I turn the questionable books backwards ;)

Edited by madteaparty
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Can you have your notes on a pinboard or something, so it's easy to move into your room when guests are due ?

 

If I wasn't a total slob. Unfortunately, I tend to put notes on several cupboards, the fridge, the walls, doors, the microwave...

 

I actually have a small office cubby (it's like a walk in closet that we converted into my office. That has the bulk of my mess & I can just close the door)  but I spill my stuff out all over because I don't work in one place.   I should try getting a board up though because if it was central enough, maybe I'd use it. I like the idea of being able to just whisk one thing away. 

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have you guys seen the bookcases with the spines turned in? http://atmedia.imgix.net/8566932e5d1b23d573552d06dce45badb0d42f17?w=800&fit=max

my bookcases are organized by subject and alphabetically so I could actually do this & still find pretty much most things but it looks wrong LOL 

Edited by hornblower
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When I lived in a one-bedroom apartment, I still didn't feel like anything was off limits as far as browsing what is in plain sight.  Even if I had overnight guests I would expect them to look at everything in my bedroom (assuming I let them in there).  When I lived in a "private" tiny dorm room, I assumed everything visible to the naked eye was going to be looked at by anyone allowed into my room.

 

I've never had a book I wouldn't want anyone looking at, LOL, but if I did, I would tuck it away out of sight.

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I think it's public info if you've got it on the fridge.

 

Now, if it's in an envelope, no one should be taking it down and opening it up, lol.

 

But, if it's viewable standing there in front of the fridge, then it's gonna' get read.

 

If you don't want folks to read it, put the words out of sight.

 

Personally, I read ALL THE TIME, like obsessively. Back in the day before taking my iPhone everywhere, I'd routinely read the back of shampoo bottles on the toilet or in the tub. Honestly. Shampoo bottles, bumper stickers, instruction books, old catalogs from 3 years ago that are on the back of the toilet . . . If there are words in front of me, I will read them.

 

Thank goodness for my iPhone and other portable devices, I can now be more discerning about my reading materials, lol. I only have to resort to shampoo bottles if my phone runs out of batteries and I don't have a book or kindle on my person.

Me too! Such a compulsion. If there are no words I count tiles or whatever.

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OK, for the record I wouldn't really be OK with people looking through my bills even if they wanted to pay them, but I would enjoy so much seeing the looks on their faces when I said, "Are you looking through my bills?  Why?  The only legitimate reason I can think of is because you want to pay them.  So accept your generous offer. This one is due on..."

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have you guys seen the bookcases with the spines turned in? http://atmedia.imgix.net/8566932e5d1b23d573552d06dce45badb0d42f17?w=800&fit=max

 

my bookcases are organized by subject and alphabetically so I could actually do this & still find pretty much most things but it looks wrong LOL 

That would just pique my curiosity and lead to multiple questions about why you flipped them and what you were trying to hide, more so than if they were turned the other way.

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