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Author Topic: Asking guests to remove shoes  (Read 116298 times)

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Hoofer

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Asking guests to remove shoes
« on: December 20, 2006, 12:12:30 PM »
Hello Everyone
This is my first time adding a post, but I certainly used the various stories on Etiquette Hell and the discussions to help when planning my wedding this year and hopefully avoided any pitfalls! 

So on to my question/dilemma…
We have just recently laid new carpet upstairs in our home and are planning in the new year to renovate the existing parquet flooring downstairs.  I would like to start asking people to remove their shoes on entering our home.  Obviously this would not be appropriate in all cases, but as a general rule I would prefer if people did.

Do you think this is reasonable?  Would you be insulted as a guest?

Many thanks
Rosalyn

behindbj

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 12:15:27 PM »
DANGER!!!  DANGER WILL ROBINSON...DANGER!!!

Seriously, this is a dangerous topic (why, I have no idea).  It's gotten kinda ugly when it's hit the boards before and I am hoping that the remaining folks on this board (who appear to be reasonable folk) don't lose their minds.

That being said:

It's your house.  If you would like people to take their shoes off, then ask people to take their shoes off.  Some of my friends do that when people visit and some don't.  It's neither here nor there to me.  I do request that people do tell me when I have to take my shoes off in their home, at the very least so I wear substantial socks (or bring slippers).

behindbj

Betsy

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 12:31:30 PM »
In our group of friends its the thing thats done regardless of the state of the floor, we just take off our shoes upon entering the house. That said if someone didnt seem like they were planning on taking said shoes off and they appeared to be extremely dirty or likely to track something yucky onto our white carpet I mention the shoe rack located next to every entry door into the house. If they still dont take the hint (ahem.. my parents) I dont push I just wait until they are gone and clean up the mess they left..

If you are having a party I would mention when guests are RSVPing that you dont allow shoes to give them time to wear 'nice' socks or bring slippers.

Suze

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 12:40:06 PM »
MY friends have a "no shoe" rule in there house - I keep a pair of slippers there. (but then I mostly live over there. I don't count as a guest anymore) but I usually have a pair of slippers in the car so that if I get somewhere and I find a no shoe rule I just run back out to the car and get them.

No Biggie
Reality is for people who lack Imagination

lolane

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 12:49:25 PM »
As behindbj mentioned it is a dangerous topic (for some reson) but I am one of the people who feel it's your house and you make the rules. If you want people to take off their shoes when they visit I see absolutely nothing wrong with it. Where I live this is a pretty common request so I really don't understand the big deal. BUT, I do know some people have issues with exposing their feet so I would keep on hand some clean socks that one could borrow if they have forgotten to bring their own. And, If I were having a party I would try to find a way to let people know beforehand that it's a shoeless affair.

DottyG

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 01:20:57 PM »
This is, indeed, a very dangerous topic - as others have mentioned.

It is true that it's your house and your rules.  However, there are instances where someone may visit you and not be able to remove their shoes.  In this case, I suggest you be reasonable and understanding.

I cannot remove my shoes at someone's home, because I need the support of the shoes.  Due to my leg injury, I cannot go barefooted (or, even worse, wear socks).  I am not even able to go barefooted in my own home; I must have the support of the shoes in order to stand and walk.  I fear the day when someone requires me to remove my shoes or leave.  Because I'll have to leave.


ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 01:46:23 PM »
I definitely agree it's ok to ask them to remove shoes, but I am very biased.  The thought of tracking into my house all the S*** that is outside TOTALLy skeeves me out!  I I have tile floors so they tend to get cold.  I always offer slippers to my guests. 
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou

Banshee

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2006, 01:54:25 PM »
I think that if you're going to make a request like that, you have to be prepared for that fact that not everyone will be comfortable with it, like me, for example.  My feet stink.  Doesn't matter what I do, they stink.  Shoes stay on= stink contained.  Shoes off= stink let loose.  Unless I am among VERY close friends, I don't go around shoeless unless I have just showered in the very recent past and have on fresh socks.

Also, there is a feeling of being undressed that comes with not having shoes on.  Being invited to my husband's grandparent's house the first time I met them, I was told by his mom to, "take off my shoes and get comfortable!".  Um...no.  Taking them off in an unfamiliar house with people I had just met would have made me UNcomfortable- I just wasn't raised that way!

Then there is the shortness factor- I'm pretty short and have trouble finding pants that are the right length, but I wear high shoes to make up for it, so when I take them off, I walk on my pantlegs.  I really don't want to walk around that way.

I am happy to wipe my shoes on the mat until they are sparkling, but I won't take them off.  It's kinder all the way around if I don't.  I've never had anyone insist, but if they did, I would probably apologize and leave.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 01:57:45 PM by Banshee »

kiero

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2006, 02:03:55 PM »
It is completely OK to ask people to remove their shoes.  I would be horribly offended if someone left their shoes one at my house.  It doesn't really matter what your reason is.  But IMO it is very rude to leave your shoes on inside - it falls under the same category as chewing with your mouth open, or picking your nose. 

Banshee

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2006, 02:06:59 PM »
I suppose it depends on where you're from and how you were raised.  It's not something that was done on either side of my family anywhere but places where you and the hosts were very comfortable with being informal.  Above all else, I was taught that it is rude to make your guests feel ill at ease.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2006, 02:10:04 PM by Banshee »

Buffy2424

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2006, 02:15:25 PM »
I think it's fine so long as you let it slip before they come over.  As in, "I hope you don't mind, but in light of renovations we're currently doing the no-shoes." 

I think most people just don't want to be surprised.  They want to wear fresh socks if they normally go sockless, or do some quickie foot grooming if their feet are unattractive.

DottyG

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2006, 02:17:33 PM »
I would be horribly offended if someone left their shoes one at my house.  It doesn't really matter what your reason is.  But IMO it is very rude to leave your shoes on inside - it falls under the same category as chewing with your mouth open, or picking your nose. 

(Notice - I'm treading on thin ice here, because I suspect we're all about to get into the old mess we've found with this topic.  Hopefully, my question won't contribute to that.)

But, would you still be "horribly offended" if someone had a reason as I mentioned above?  A medical reason why they are not able to walk barefoot (trust me, I've love to be able to do it in my own home, too.  But, I also cannot take the chance on falling which is what it would amount to)?

If someone had a legitimate reason (not just a social one or a "I don't feel like it" reason) why removing their shoes is not possible, you'd still be horribly offended?

Your perogative.  But, I hope that's not the case.  I hope that you're understanding of the guests you have in your home to the point that you're able to relax your rules if needed.


ladiedeathe

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2006, 02:18:49 PM »
I'm pretty much with everyone else on this one.

With close friends and family, as long as they are warned ahead so they can bring appropriate foot coverings if needed, no problem. I have a couple of friends who ask you to go shoeless due to pale carpets or easily damaged hardwood floors and  I know I almost cried after a friend walked across my polished cherry hardood in hard plastic boots and left a three foot scratch!

I will say, though, that according to Miss Manners (I'll try to find the column today)it is never appropriate to ask guests to remove their shoes (though you might get away with it if you know them very well). From what I remember, she says that floorcoverings are there to be walked on, and that if they are too delicate to serve their purpose they are the problem, not the guests. It also tells the guests that you believe their feet are not clean enough for your home, which is also a big no-no.

I really agree with Dottyg- just be reasonable and understanding no matter what you do. Some folks can't go without shoes, but may feel silly if everyone else has to remove them. Others, like me, may wear long boots with a skirt due to religious restrictions on showing skin, and may actually have to go home and change to a longer skirt if not warned ahead of time that footwear will be coming off.
"Here to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Have chalice, will travel."

DottyG

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2006, 02:25:07 PM »
Quick question - could this be moved to the right folder, mods?  It's not a Wedding Etiquette issue, but it's in that folder.

Just asking, because I keep losing it when I look in the place I think it's supposed to be! :)


ShadesOfGrey

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Re: Asking guests to remove shoes
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2006, 03:15:36 PM »
I will say, though, that according to Miss Manners (I'll try to find the column today)it is never appropriate to ask guests to remove their shoes (though you might get away with it if you know them very well). From what I remember, she says that floorcoverings are there to be walked on, and that if they are too delicate to serve their purpose they are the problem, not the guests. It also tells the guests that you believe their feet are not clean enough for your home, which is also a big no-no.

I really agree with Dottyg- just be reasonable and understanding no matter what you do. Some folks can't go without shoes, but may feel silly if everyone else has to remove them. Others, like me, may wear long boots with a skirt due to religious restrictions on showing skin, and may actually have to go home and change to a longer skirt if not warned ahead of time that footwear will be coming off.

I agree with this, except for the part where Miss Manners says it's rude to insinuate that their guests feet are dirty.  Of course they are! They have been walking outside in the elements (spit, dog ****, gum, dirt, need I go on?)  It really creeps me out! If their shoes were off and you asked them to put shoes on because their feet are too dirty, I could understand it being rude (sigh, no matter how true it is).  But I also agree that floors are for the walking, and if they are too delicate for that purpose, they should not be used. 

So truly - all rules are meant to be applied within reason...
What about a runner for the very high traffic areas?

PS - I think the OP can move his/her own topic too.
Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning. - Maya Angelou

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. - Maya Angelou