Mister Manners says: it is rude for you to ask me to take off my shoes when I go to your house

Have you ever been to somebody’s house and seen one of those signs saying, “please take your shoes off” or, even sometimes, “shoes off!”  Well, Mister Manners says that is an incredibly rude message to send to your guests.

Before you get all huffy, let me make my case.

First, if you live in Japan or someplace where it is part of the general culture to take off shoes, then my complaint obviously doesn’t refer to you.  I am talking about places like the United States, Latin America and most of Europe where the general culture is that people do not routinely take off their shoes before going into a house.  If you live in some city in Italy where everybody takes off their shoes, again, Mister Manners gives you a pass.

Here is my argument:

 

  • If I am your guest, and my shoes are dirty, I will take them off if they are dirty.   If it’s raining or muddy outside, it’s obvious that my shoes might be dirty, and I’ll take them off before entering your abode.  I know that sometimes people step in stuff, but the bottom line is that 99 percent of the time adults are aware if their shoes are dirty.   The vast majority of the time, the person who is visiting you probably was on a clean floor then got in a clean car and then walked up to your house without stepping in anything.  His or her shoes have nothing on them except the normal dust you would get anyway.  So, your sign saying, “shoes off!” is an incredible insult to your guest.  The message is:  you are so stupid that you don’t know whether or not your own shoes are dirty.   If you really think that the person coming to your house is that stupid, you should not invite them in at all.
  • Your “shoes off!” sign is sending a very clear message to your guests that your floor is more important than they are.  Yes, if you put up a sign like this you probably slave over your floor, vacuum the hall all the time and mop every other day.  But at the end of the day, what you are saying is that your property, an inanimate object called your floor, is more important than the guests walking through your door.   I’m sorry:  you really need to get a life. 
  • This whole “slippers inside, shoes outside” thing is just ridiculous.  Many people I know who have “shoes off!” signs for their guests will have slippers lined up on the inside and shoes on the outside.  This is fine for people living there, but what about guests?  This happens to me every time I visit somebody with a “shoes off!” sign at their house.  I get there.  I take off my shoes.  I walk in and pad around in my socks.  Then I have to go get something in my car (with five kids, one of the kids is always forgetting something, or I need a diaper, or a baby bottle).  So I have to put my shoes back on, go to the car again, get the thing I forgot and then go to the house again and take my shoes off yet again.  And while I am doing this I am looking at my shoes and confirming yet again that they are not dirty, not a bit of mud or dirt in sight.

I would estimate that about five percent of the people I visit have the “no shoes” rule, so it isn’t something I encounter all the time.  But everytime I do I think to myself, “do these people know how incredibly rude it is to demand that their guests take off their shoes before entering their home?”

So, my advice is:  take down the “please take off your shoes” signs.  You are insulting all of your guests.  If people are dirtying your floors all the time, you either need to stop inviting them to your house or you may want to consider that you are OCD and need therapy.

Mister Manners feels much better now.

 

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

71 thoughts on “Mister Manners says: it is rude for you to ask me to take off my shoes when I go to your house

  1. We take our shoes off in our home, because we do want to preserve our carpet. However, I don’t care if guests take their shoes off at all. Some do, some don’t, I always insist they don’t have to.

  2. “you may want to consider that you are OCD and need therapy.”

    HaHa! I agree. Except for my sister’s house, I have never seen one of these signs. I thought she was an original. I guess Southerners are not that direct. I prefer to not wear shoes inside and I usually take my shoes off at other people’s house, but I do not require shoes off in my own home, well except my kids.

  3. Geoff, totally agree with you (and Miss Manners) on this.

    What does Miss Manners say about correcting other people’s grammar (when speaking)? My other pet peeve.

  4. My parents have the “no shoe” rule. They don’t have a sign, but they expect guests to remove their shoes, just like they expect guests to put out their cigarettes and leave their beer at home.

    They’ve had the same carpet for over 20 years. I’m not sure they’ve ever had it professionally cleaned. It’s still in great condition, mainly because of their no shoe rule.

    Despite what you might believe, if you’ve been outside your shoes are probably at least a little dirty. Be a gracious guest, and put out your cigarettes and take off your shoes if your host so requests.

  5. I live somewhere where many people have the shoes off rule. Probably 50%. We live in the United States. What is considered polite around here is to check with the host family “Should I take off my shoes?”

  6. I always offer to take my shoes off when entering a home. And if I see the residents have their shoes off and I can tell they try to keep it clean I’ll even take them off after the person says, “on no, it’s ok if you leave them on…” Because I realize (think?) they are just being polite.

    Inversely, when I am at home, my shoes are naturally off and when guests come over, I tell them it’s ok if they leave their shoes on, the only exception is of course if its muddy.

    The big difference is if you have a hardwood type floor, which I do. If I had carpet, you can be certain I’d be asking people to take off their shoes.

    I think the impetus is on the visitor to always assume you should take off your shoes and even when told “it’s ok”, assume they really would prefer you not to track dirt in everywhere. That’s just my understanding of the no-means-yes etiquette.

  7. Of all the issues, problems, and disasters in this world and this is all you all can address?

  8. “Of all the issues, problems, and disasters in this world and this is all you all can address?”

    Yes, it’s true. Had Geoff wanted to fix all the issues, problems, and disasters of the world with him time instead of this, he would have succeed. ;)

  9. Richard, you are right. I have never written about anything else. Ever. Check back in a month or so and I will still be writing about rude “shoes-off” people.

    I hope I have convinced some of the OCD people out there to stop insisting their guests take off their shoes. I have no issues with people who want to have a “shoes-off” policy within their own family — they can do what they want with their family, but I will point out a mom or dad screaming at the kids because they forgot to take off the shoes if a very unattractive thing. It might cause long-term damage and turn them into a Mister Manners-type of person.

  10. Bruce, Mister Manners says it is very rude of you to call him “Miss Manners,” (see comment 3), especially since you have personally met Mister Manners and he would look especially bad dressed in drag.

  11. I’ve got some kind of issue with my feet, and I get incredibly uncomfortable if I walk around too much without shoes on. My dad is the same way. When I go places where they insist I take my shoes off, I usually never go back. It is physically painful for me to walk around without shoes for too long.

  12. I married into a Canadian family, and they all do it – apparently it’s not just a Japanese thing. It’s been 16 years now, and I’m still not used to it. But I try to go along with it most of the time.

  13. I am from Canada where we take our shoes off at the door. I think Americans should adopt the same practise. If you come into my house I don’t want your shoes wearing out my carpet. I don’t want you to track pesticide or dog poop residue into my house. And I don’t want you keeping your shoes on like you are about to take off (kind of like keeping your coat on).

  14. I live in the uk and contrary to your comments I think you will find that the majority of people do take off their shoes at the door. We are one of those families you pour disdain on that has lines of slippers by the door. We don’t need to ask our guests to remove their shoes they either politely ask if they should or if they know us they do it automatically. Most have slippers to wear or simply prefer socks or bare feet. Maybe you should consider taking slippers with you when visiting a shoes off house or is that too easy. It’s a bit of a stretch to for you to content that those who choose not to allow shoes in their house are mentally ill. As a mental disorder, for a diagnosis of OCD to be made then there has to be something more in their behaviour than asking people to take off their shoes. People who do suffer from this precipative disorder would glady swap their layers of obsessional behaviour for something as innocuous as asking people to remove their shoes.

  15. Socks are underwear. Do you ask a guest to strip to his underwear at your door, even if you then hand him a robe, to preserve the plastic slipcover on your couch? Please warn me of this perverted quirk of yours when inviting me so that I can politely decline in advance, rather than getting all the way to your door and then having to leave before I enter. Put a doormat outside your door — I’ll gladly use it.

  16. I’ve been living in Europe (France and Switzerland) for ten years, and everyone I know leaves their shoes at the door when they come in the house or apartment.

    It may be a generational thing or a new custom, though (imported from Japan…?). If I’m remembering correctly, we wore our shoes in the house when I was a kid (in the US), but today my parents leave their shoes at the entrance of their house.

    I’ve never seen a sign about it, though. The custom is simply changing. Once it went without saying that people wear their shoes in the house, and now it goes without saying (in many places) that you simply don’t wear your outdoor shoes into other people’s living space — whether you think they’re dirty or not.

  17. Well, personal experience from a world traveler: I have been in homes in Paris, London, rural England, Belgium and Rome, and I did not see anybody taking off shoes. I have been in homes in nearly every country of Latin America and did not see anybody taking off shoes. In the US, it is simply not the custom (except in OCD households). I am not sure about Canada — I have been to Montreal and Toronto several times and never saw people taking off shoes.

    My wife informs me that on her mission in Germany it *was* the custom for everybody to take off shoes, and in fact the homeowners provided slippers.

    Again, Mister Manners has no problem with taking off shoes somewhere where it is the “general custom.” I would note that you would never see a “shoes off!” sign somewhere where it is the general custom because of course everybody would do it as a manner of course, even Mister Manners.

  18. Specifically asking your guests to remove their shoes may be rude, but so is parading into someone else’s home wearing something that is ALWAYS tracking in extra dirt and assuming that you have a perfect right to ignore the conventions of the home in which you are a guest.

    Sorry, Mr. Manners. Politeness FAIL. One that is typically male, I might add.

  19. And in the interest of full disclosure, my carpets are light and we do not wear shoes in the house, but I do not ask my guests to remove their shoes.

  20. Better to ask a guest to remove his/her shoes than to be inwardly fuming because the guest didn’t think to do it on his/her own.

  21. SR, not to be a typical male or anything, but if I am 100 percent sure my shoes are completely clean, not a spot of dirt on them, I am “parading” into your home? What exactly am I doing wrong?

  22. I have rarely known anyone who has shoes off policy. In the western U.S. its almost unheard of I think. When I do go to their houses I take them off, but feel self conscious and uncomfortable.

    I don’t know how serious Ardis was, but I agree it feels like asking to walk around in underwear. Some people really hate their feet and sometimes socks have holes in them. As for the condition of the house for those who have the rule and those who don’t, I have never seen any difference in conditions.

  23. Here is the logical conundrum OCD “shoes-off” people have put themselves in. Obviously, only a complete jerk would walk around your house in dirty shoes. So, why are you allowing complete jerks into your house? You either trust your guests or you don’t. So, let go, take a chance, trust your guests to take off their shoes if they are dirty.

  24. Firstly, this whole post is ridiculous, I am ashamed I keep coming back.

    Secondly, opinion is opinion and it is fruitless to debate it.

    Thirdly, obsessive-compulsive people who have a ‘thing’ about things are even worse when arguing.

    Most people ‘think’ their shoes are clean, but if you take two step outside after cleaning them, they are dirty. Also, clean shoes wear carpet and rugs out. So lets not presume to know things we don’t, lets just admit we have a ‘thing’ and agree to disagree. I try and be a good host and not care, but I enforce it within my family. When I go to another’s house (I’m in the west and I find about 50% of the houses I visit like the shoes off policy but do not have signs) I try and be cognizant of what they prefer. Also, socks are NOT underwear, even though I will admit that a lot of unkempt people are sensitive about their crappy socks.

  25. Dallske, welcome to the world of the obsessive compulsive. The fact that you keep on coming back is a sign that you, too, are OCD. If you didn’t care, you would go read about college football or whatever else takes your fancy. So, you DO care and feel a need to defend your OCD behavior. That’s OK, we all have our own quirks. Just own up to yours and don’t go around saying you are normal and the rest of the world is not.

  26. Dallske, no, only people who keep on insulting a post and saying it is meaningless and ridiculous and are ashamed of their own actions for reading the post, yet keep on coming back. Such a person definitely is OCD.

  27. Out of curiosity, what kinds of floors do you have where your guests typically come? Hardwood, laminate, vinyl, carpet, tile?

  28. First of all, Geoff, no shoes are spotless. Secondly, even if they were, shoes wear harder on carpets than bare feet and socks.

    And you’re not a jerk to walk into someone’s house with shoes on. You’re a jerk to feel that you are ENTITLED to be discourteous, and even more of a jerk to try to make your host seem like the thoughtless one.

    And I keep coming back because this is hilarious.

  29. I don’t know about Montreal and Toronto, but in Alberta it’s definitely done, and people that have come to the US from there continue to do it.

    They don’t put a sign up, it’s just expected. And the pile of shoes just inside the door is a good clue/reminder.

  30. I prefer to wear shoes inside my house if I am working. It helps me psychologically, like I’m dressed for business. (I can’t do housework in my pajamas, for example. It’s a personal problem.) Also, if my feet are cold. Socks are not enough. So I have my shoes on much of the time, especially in cold weather. So obviously I don’t ask anyone else to take off their shoes in my house.

    I don’t mind taking my shoes off in other people’s houses. I would hate to be responsible for ruining their carpets. (My carpet is already thrashed, which is another reason it would be silly of me to ask people to take their shoes off in my house.) I don’t like wearing socks with holes, and I also have reasonably attractive feet, so taking off my shoes is not embarrassing for me.

    On the other hand, my children hate to wear shoes and usually don’t wear them outside, either (unless they are going to school or the store and I make them). Thus, as dirty as their shoes may be, I fear that their feet are far, far dirtier, and I always worry about them walking around barefoot on other people’s carpets. Fortunately, we don’t get invited many places.

    My observation is that most people prefer a shoes-off policy in their homes. I’ve never thought it was rude. I thought we were the weirdos.

    I enjoyed the time I spent in Japan, but I have to say, one thing that drove me nuts was all the rules about shoes and feet and where shoes could go and couldn’t go and where slippers had to be worn–take off your shoes before you step inside, put on slippers when you go into the bathroom, but take them off again when you go out of the bathroom, and don’t let your bare feet touch the bathroom, but don’t let the bathroom slippers touch the non-bathroom floor–it was exhausting. If I lived there, I would probably have a nervous breakdown. More often than usual, I mean. (And needless to say, my children are wholly unsuited to step foot inside that country’s borders.)

  31. “Have you ever been to somebody’s house and seen one of those signs saying, “please take your shoes off” or, even sometimes, “shoes off!” Well, Mister Manners says that is an incredibly rude message to send to your guests.”

    I just realized that I’m often asked to do that when I enter certain areas of the House of the Lord (for weddings, for example, and during an open house prior to dedication). I hope no one considers that rude…

  32. Oh snap, Tim!

    Geoff, I confess to not being bothered about removing my shoes in the slightest. Just last night I visited some friends and spent the evening barefoot in their home.

    I agree that piles of shoes near the door should be a clue to the conscientious guest of the desired footwear in that home. But I wonder what message is sent by having shoes all over the entire house. It’s like an insole infestation over here sometimes.

  33. I am one who just does not like to be asked (or told) to remove my shoes in someone else’s home. I go around barefoot 90% of the time and unless I have had time to thoroughly soak my feet and have a pedicure my feet while freshly washed are still stained and calloused, I do not own socks and never wear them. So to be invited into someone’s home and then ordered to remove my shoes (that I already rarely wear) in order to enter I always feel very self conscious. My husband wears his shoes any time he is awake, he does not like to take them off for any reason, so he ends up feeling uncomfortable for other reasons. I have to agree with the OP, if you are so obsessed with something as silly as carpeting maybe you shouldn’t be inviting the “unkempt” as one poster claimed. I only invite people into my home for who I already care about. Carpet can be cleaned, floors can be washed, but feelings are something entirely different. You’ll never find shoes on me at my own home but that is for the comfort of being at home, not because I think that shoes will destroy my carpet (I have kids to do that).

    FWIW, if 50% of people in your area (wow do you really get to THAT many of the homes in your region???) post signs that everyone MUST remove their shoes to enter, that means another 50% do not care one whit and there cannot be a custom as it is a split on who cares and who does not.

    When people walk in my front door they always see a pile of shoes and no one in the house with shoes on (except that above mentioned husband) and every time someone tries to leap to take off their shoes I am not just trying to be a good hostess by saying I do not care, I really do not care I would much rather have people be comfortable visiting me. Just like I buy foods we don’t always eat just to make them feel at home. If they want their shoes off, it doesn’t bother me, the people are far more important IMO.

  34. Even if you think socks are underwear (they are not; ask someone familiar with the sartorial arts–socks are to be displayed), shoes are still streetwear with no natural right to be worn inside.

    It goes wiithout saying that a gracious host will provide guests with the same footwear to be worn inside as the rest of the company.

    I do agree with Mister Manners that obnoxious signs at the entryway need to go.

  35. Tim, I see your point, but raise you slippers. There is only one time that slippers are taken off and that is symbolic. In other words, if shoes have to be taken off then perhaps an offer of slippers as an alternative to just socks could be good manners. Of course, there are cost and size concerns in that suggestion.

  36. So if I am comfortable swearing, then I have every right, when invited into someone’s home, to swear up a storm? If they didn’t like it, they shouldn’t have invited me?

    Folks, THIS is why Americans have the reputation we do in so many other countries.

  37. SR, you have exactly captured the point, without apparently knowing it. I have LOTS of friends who swear all the time. If they keep on swearing, they don’t get invited to my house…or, they change their behavior when they get there. I have friends who will swear up a storm elsewhere, but when they get to my house, for whatever reason they stop. I don’t act like a nanny telling them what to do with their personal habits. Our friendship will either naturally trail away…or they will naturally change their habits when at my house. Imagine your world: how many signs would you have to put up at your house to regulate others’ behavior? No Swearing, No shoes, no nose-picking, no unkempt hair, no torn clothes, no tatoos, etc., etc, etc. True respect for other people and your friends is to trust them and trust that if you are inviting them over to your house they will act in a civilized manner. I repeat, anybody who walks around your house in dirty shoes is a jerk. Don’t invite jerks to your house.

  38. Some people make really rude remarks on this blog. We don’t forbid them from commenting, per se. We just filter their comments.

    Some people may walk into your house with dirty shoes. You don’t necessarily have to stop inviting them. You can just “filter” their shoes, by asking them to take them off.

  39. At my house we have a don’t sit on the furniture rule also. We’ve had the same sofa for more than 20 years and it’s never been cleaned and still looks like new!

  40. I work at a restaurant where none of the employees wash their hands unless their hands physically appear soiled. It’s so time consuming to wash them when they come in, after they use the bathroom, etc.–and it’s perfectly fine, because their hands look clean enough. It’s not like they’re getting dirt or anything on the food…

    My wife works at the local hospital and they have the same handwashing guidelines. If the hands aren’t obviously dirty, they don’t bother washing them.

  41. I would like to think that I respect other peopme’s maturity enough to educate them on my preferences before no longer being their friend. I would hope that they would extend the same courtesy to me.

  42. LDSP, number 46, you said:

    “Some people may walk into your house with dirty shoes. You don’t necessarily have to stop inviting them. You can just “filter” their shoes, by asking them to take them off.”

    You have exactly missed the point. I am not talking about “dirty shoes.” Dirty shoes should be taken off 100 percent of the time. No exceptions. But shoes that have been in a clean office then in a clean car and then are unsoiled when they arrive at your front door are, only in the eyes of the most obsessive-compulsive, “dirty.” A few specks of dust does not soil your floor any more than it would be soiled by the tons and tons of dust particles floating around in your living room right now. Mud, dirt, stuff you can see when it is on your shoes, does soil your floor and should not be brought into somebody’s house — ever.

  43. I’m having a hard time understanding how a clean pair of shoes, ie without mud, dog poop or other kinds of slime, is any less appealing or damaging than a pair of sweaty feet encased in sweaty socks which were encased in sweaty shoes, the insides of which have probably never been cleaned.

  44. Geoff, any shoes that have been outside are also dirty. There’s no way around it. Some people don’t mind dirty shoes, other people do. I actually think you’re quite rude to be offended by other people’s preferences so much.

    It’s not a matter of them not trusting you. It’s a matter of whether they prefer dirty shoes in their house or not (and any shoes that have been outside are dirty).

    Also, anybody who has worked in the carpet care industry knows it makes a difference, clean or not.

  45. LDSP, just so we’re clear, I believe anybody has the *right* to set whatever rules they want in their own home (as long as they don’t harm people in the process). The issue is: is it polite to impose meaningless rules on me when I visit? Not, do they have a *right* to do it, the issue is basic politeness.

    So, let’s think this through. If you walk *one* step outside your door on a clean porch, do your shoes get dirty? How about five steps on a clean porch? How about five steps into a clean garage floor and then you get in a clean car, with clean floormats and then 10 steps from the clean car to another clean porch (these are my typical trips to somebody’s house)?

    Now, let’s compare this to another scenario. Let’s say everybody walks around in their socks in their home. They walk hundreds of steps in their sweaty, dirty socks around the house, then they go visit their OCD friend. They get their sweaty, dirty socks into their clean shoes (which have been clean because they were left outside), then they walk 15 steps across clean ground to a clean car and then get out and walk another 10 steps across a clean path to the house. There, they take off their clean shoes and walk around the house they just visited in their sweaty, dirty socks (which they believe to be clean because they have of course been walking around in them all day long). Which are cleaner, the socks or the shoes?

    Sorry, your position doesn’t make any sense. The only logical answer is that *sometimes* shoes are cleaner and *sometimes* socks are cleaner. The only solution, unless you want to subject your guest to a search everytime they come to the house, is to trust them and believe that if their shoes are dirty they will take them off.

    I realize this discussion is getting a bit absurd. I will let LDSP and SR have the last word, and then I’m closing the thread. I think I have made my point and accomplished what I wanted to.

  46. I disagree with Miss Manners. In a world where children are starving to death and some crazies drive planes into buildings to kill innocents, how big a deal is it to show respect for the people you visit? On a scale of 1-10, for me anyway, the insult level would be a -20.

  47. I will make one concession to anybody still reading this: when you think something is really, really rude, you think that everybody would obviously agree with you because, in your mind, rudeness has universal standards. Given that about half of the commenters agree with me and the other half don’t, I will concede that the “righteous indignation” I have about this subject is probably an overreaction. I will try really, really hard not to think about how rude it is to make me take off my perfectly clean shoes at somebody’s house. So, something good has come from this post after all. You can’t change the rest of the world, you can only change how you react.

  48. I can vouch for Canadians not wearing shoes in houses. It probably has something to do with winter, snow and shoes/boots are a bad combination. I don’t think anyone has signs because wearing shoes in the house is very much out of the ordinary (pretty much seen as an American thing to do). The slippers at the door is pretty common for Chinese families. As for socks being dirtier than shoes, unless I started wearing sock feet around my office at work (pretty gungy floors, the carpet’s in dire need of replacement) and started washing my shoes daily, I’d never imagine that my socks were the dirtier of the two. Between road dust, gum on the streets and the flock of geese that congregates near the train station, I’m guessing my shoes encounter stuff I wouldn’t want tracked around the house.

  49. I’m glad this subject continues to generate interest. The fact that it is going on shows that a strong case can be made for having a shoes-off policy.

    I have been arguing on the internet in favour of asking for shoes-off since 2006. You can read my blog here: Shoes Off at the Door, Please

  50. I just had a guest pretend they didn’t know we have a no shoes policy in our house and refuse to take their shoes off when we did ask. He said his shoes are clean because they are flat based and not ridged like sneakers. I was so offended but didn’t push it as we wanted him to feel comfortable and we wanted to be a host.

    I’m Chinese and we take shoes off not because of mud, dirt, dust, grime etc. that will obviously dirty the house. We take shoes off because your shoes have been into public toilets, parks where animal feces have been left all over the ground, bars where you line up outside and have stood on beer vomit from past patrons etc. Your shoes are unhygienic. You wouldn’t have been traipsing through all of the above in your socks or bare feet.

  51. What if you have young babies who crawl around your floors? I’m sorry but even if you think your shoes are clean they are not. Do you want t reach down, pick up your shoe and lick the bottom? I think not! Go ahead and think its rude but I think your rude for thinking the world should revolve around you and what you think is convienient! Your opinion is your opinion but its not right. Get off your high horse and respect the people that invited you into your home. Someone like you shoulld not have a blog about manners.

  52. My house no one wears shoes in the house i want my carpets to stay clean and at the end of the day if its your house every one else should respect your rules

  53. I completely disagree. I think its incredibly rude to wear your shoes inside someone else’s house. Shoes get dirt, dust, dog crap, spit, and god knows what else on the bottom. Every time I have someone over they wear their shoes in the house, I have dark laminate floors, so you can see their dirt prints everywhere…and it brings in little rocks that scratch the hell out of my floor. I also have white carpet and it is less then a year old and its already dirty from ppl wearing shoes on it. I think its ridiculous that I spend my hard earned time and money on having nice floors, and people don’t respect me enough to take off their shoes when they enter. Im not OCD either. I clean my house once a week because I work full time and go to school – I don’t have time to clean all the dirt, mud, rocks and dust people drag in on their shoes every time they leave – and I don’t appreciate it.

  54. anon and future readers, let me repeat what I wrote before:

    If somebody has dirty shoes, they shouldn’t wear the dirty shoes in your house. If you have friends who are tromping through your house leaving dirt prints and “little rocks,” then they are not very considerate friends and maybe you need some new friends. I am talking about completely clean shoes that have been in a clean office and a clean car and then walking up your clean driveway to get to your house. If you make your considerate friends, the ones with clean shoes, take off their shoes before they go to your house, you are OCD and care more about your floors and carpets than you do about your friends. To repeat: people with dirty shoes should be considerate enough to take them off before going in your house! Ok?

  55. Another point for the OCD people reading this and getting offended:

    You have the right to do whatever you want in your own home. I am *not contending your right to tell your guests to take off their shoes before they come in your house.* I am saying that telling a person with clean shoes to take them off before going in your house is *rude.* I consider it so rude that when people tell me to do this I tend not to go back to their house. If my shoes are dirty, I will take off my shoes without being asked. If my shoes are clean, I will not take them off because I will not be harming your precious floors and carpets in any way.

    Another suggestion: if somebody is leaving dirt on your floor and carpets, you can point out this out to your friend in a polite way, and I bet they will never do it again. That is a non-OCD way of handling the situation that will maintain your friendships with the people around you.

    ANOTHER NOTE, PLEASE READ: There are cultures where it is the “general custom” for everybody in the culture to take off shoes. Japan, for example. If you live in one of these places, then this post does not apply to you so please go read something else. I am talking about places where the “general custom” is NOT for people to automatically take off their shoes when entering a home.

  56. I think the point, Geoff, is however clean you THINK your shoes are, they really aren’t. Even perfectly clean never-been-outside hard-soled shoes wear carpets and hardwood more than socks or bare feet.

    Since the floors are the hosts’ property and not the guests’, there is an onus on the guest to respect the property of their hosts. Hospitality is a two-way street.

    But I, for one, am perfectly happy not inviting people back into my home who don’t understand that courtesy.

  57. And, I should add, that is even though I do not have a mandatory shoes-off policy in my current home. A sign of disrespect of my property like that easily translates to other property I care more about, and makes me doubt that the guest would respect anything of mine while they are in my home.

  58. I think it’s rude not to offer to take off one’s shoes any time one is invited to someone’s home as a guest. Very rude.

  59. SR and LDSP, my comments were aimed at the new commenters still coming on this thread months later, not at you two. You made your positions clear last time. Sorry we have such a strong disagreement on this issue.

  60. For future readers, I have closed comments on this thread (which I said I was going to do months ago but never got around to doing). Thanks for reading.

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