Is it so bad to ask someone to take off their shoes in your home?

(563 Posts)
BlueVernis Wed 05-Dec-12 11:58:21

As huge row has broken out between my sister inlaw (SIL) and myself, after I asked her to take of her shoes when she came to my house!
She came over with a few other inlaws late one night as they were passing by. It was raining outside and we have carpet in our living room, which is quite new. Also, my kids like to play on the living room carpet.
My SIL came in and I asked her if she could take her shoes off. She told me that it was a hassle to take of her shoes. I just looked at her and said in a half joke-half serious way that I would have to get some kitchen roll and wipe her shoes then. Then I left her in the hallway and went to the kitchen to put the kettle on.
A few minutes later I heard her screaming at DH in the hallway, saying that I insulted her by not allowing her into my home and I have no right to ask her to take her shoes off as she is the older SIL. She rang my MIL and was going on and on that I had insulted her etc.
She then went outside, shouting and yelling (I'm sure the neighbours loved it!) and sat in the car and refused to come in.
I'm fuming with her behaviour as I don't think my request was wrong. I have been brought up to take off my shoes in other people's homes, and I even make my kids do the same, whether the house they go to are carpeted or laminated.
Was I being unreasonable?

Crinkle77 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:31:31

I also learnt my lesson when I trod dog poo all through someones house. I did not realised I had stepped on it and the host was too polite to mention it and cleaned it up when I wasn't looking. It was only a bit later when someone made a joke about it that I knew. I was absolutely mortified and always take my shoes off now

OrangeLily Wed 05-Dec-12 12:31:49

Not rude and really the norm wherever I go these days. The only people I ever tell to leave them on are grandparents as I'm not asking them to bend. In fact I had 30+ folk at my house at the weekend and everyone took their shoes off. But then my friends have nice houses with nice carpets to are used to keeping them good. I can't afford to replace my carpets because folk get 'offended'. If you get offended please don't visit.

It's the norm in our family and they bring slippers or slipper socks or ask to borrow.

A diabetic person could bring slippers too.

marchwillsoonbehere Wed 05-Dec-12 12:32:45

Ridiculous overreaction on the part of your sil, and I speak as one who would no sooner ask people to take their shoes off than to disrobe completely, because yes I think that is really rude and inhospitable.

You don't sound like you're either rude or inhospitable OP, but PurpleCrayon if your post is not a wind up then I take my hat off to you (but NOT my shoes !!) for redefining the boundaries of passive aggression. If it REALLY matters to you then go ahead and ask rather than expecting unsuspecting visitors to pick up on non-signals, on pain of no further invires for insubordination.

And to everyone who thinks it's rude not to de-shoe...does it not occur to you that visitors might think (as I probably would) that to take your shoes off without being asked to might look equally rude...even if the residents are shoeless themselves...you know, making yourself a bit TOO much at home.

Wanders off in search of something better to worry about

Jins Wed 05-Dec-12 12:33:52

I wouldn't have a hissy fit but I'd have already looked to see if you were a shoes on or shoes off household.

I don't like being told to take my shoes off when I'm on the step and I won't wear your minging guest slippers either. I hate slippers with a passion and I suspect I wouldn't like espadrilles either

MrsHoarder Wed 05-Dec-12 12:35:13

I currently ask people to, but DS is a rolling baby who likes to try to eat the carpet. In 6-12 months when he stops licking the carpet then I'll relax again. IMO if people know you have a floor-licking aged baby then they can't judge. If your DC are over 5 and old enough to know not to actively lick the floor then its still your choice (for all you know she has a foot problem atm and doesn't want to make it public) but its a less "normal" thing to get het up about in the UK.

snowtunesgirl Wed 05-Dec-12 12:35:54

We request shoes off in our house and they go in the shoe cupboard as one year old DD thinks that shoes are "tasty".

Banterpanther Wed 05-Dec-12 12:36:50

IMO it's rude not to offer to take your shoes off when you enter someone's house

NothingIsAsBadAsItSeems Wed 05-Dec-12 12:39:20

You're not allowed in our main living room or upstairs with shoes on even the dogs are banned but you can go into the kitchen, dinning room and back living room since they all have wooden/tiled floors so are easy to clean. They're DH's rules and he expects them to be followed.

Your SIL sounds like an immature brat shock

LRDtheFeministDude Wed 05-Dec-12 12:42:53

Her reaction is way OTT.

Personally I don't think it's hospitable to ask people to take shoes off, but if you have babies around, it's just sensible and you'd hope people would figure it out.

The rudest, of course, is insisting people remove shoes when your floor is also not very clean. That's just disgusting. But I'm sure you don't do that!

I always offer to take my shoes off when I go to someone's house.

I don't ask that people do it at mine, but people tend to around here (Scotland) because their shoes are normally either muddy, wet or covered in snow!

impty Wed 05-Dec-12 12:43:25

Shoes off. Only ever had a problem with FIL with this, and I've trained him now too. It doesn't worry as much now but it really did when dd's were crawling about.

JingleBellsRawSharkSmells Wed 05-Dec-12 12:44:49

YANBU. I always ask if people have carpet whether they want me to remove shoes. ANd most of my friends ask when they come around.

Infantilising vistors - seriously?

Maybe have some disposable slippers as this is clearly an issue for people confused

Ephiny Wed 05-Dec-12 12:44:57

I wouldn't insist on someone taking their shoes off, but would be a bit surprised if they didn't. I would always take my shoes off when going into someone else's house, it just seems like good manners to me.

Either way though, it seems like a silly issue to have a huge falling-out over!

ssaw2012 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:45:08

The other day I stepped into dog's poo while walking in the town. I tried to clean my shoes as hard as possible into the grass. Fortunately the grass was frosty and moist smile It did help. Then I wanted a wee and headed off to the toilet in Asda. Someone managed to wee a bit on the floor. The floor looked disgusting but I was desparate for wee. Now convince me, why should not I take my shoes off indoors?

I have found an interesting blog written by an American woman living in Sweden. Here is what she writes about "No Shoes Indoors." blogs.sweden.se/expat/2012/01/11/no-shoes-indoors/

GreenEggsAndNichts Wed 05-Dec-12 12:45:11

YANBU. She was ridiculously OTT in her reaction and made herself look a fool, not you.

I prefer shoes off in the house but I don't demand it. Most everyone I know just does it automatically, so it's never been an issue. (and no, I'm not pressuring them into it, we're still in a rental house and the carpet has seen better days, probably around when I was born!) Shoes in the winter are especially messy, I don't really get why people are surprised that others might not want them trekking through their house with them on.

EIizaDay Wed 05-Dec-12 12:55:05

YANBU. I haven't worn shoes inside for years and years - and no-one wears shoes inside our house. Shoes are for outside.

Would you ever think of walking about outside in your bare feet and then go inside? The first thing you would do is wash your feet as they'd be disgusting.

Your sister was behaving like a fool.

evilhamster Wed 05-Dec-12 12:55:50

I haven't met anybody who will actually ask, although if they did ask for me to take my shoes off I would be very happy to do so. Personally we don't take our shoes off, but it's not a rule, it's just easier for us and we don't have a very large house too clean. Also, as we have three dogs, however much we wash them, they'll always be some dirt to clean off the floor.

Normally I take my lead from other people. Someone takes off their shoes, I take mine off, and try and make it seem like it's natural for me in a way- someone keeps their shoes on, I'll ask if I should along the lines of 'I know some people prefer people not to wear shoes in their own house- I can take mine off if you want?' but that's more for politeness because I can tell if they do/don't take off their shoes.

SantaIAmSoFuckingRock Wed 05-Dec-12 12:56:08

i wouldn't have anyone screaming at any member of my family in my home so she would have been out on her ear for that and wouldn't be back in without an apology to all present at the time.

WRT shoes. YANBU your house, your rules. i have a shoes off rule for me and the dcs and my close friends who come do it anyway as they usually curl up on the sofa and get comfy but i dont ask anyone to do it except children if they are going to be in and out and upstairs playing (carpet upstairs)

i do have a doormat though and i cant think of anyone who doesn't give a good wipe when they come in.

Nancy66 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:58:53

if someone asked me I would - reluctantly.

Your SIL sounds unhinged but i think asking people to remove footwear is a bit rude. They're guests in your home and you are potentially making them uncomfortable.

We have a new hall carpet and I'll say to people 'can you make sure you give your shoes a good wipe' but I'll never ask them to remove them altogether

ButternutSquish Wed 05-Dec-12 13:00:31

Why is it so difficult to have a sturdy front door mat to step onto when entering your houses (directed at all those who want shoes off?)

I don't like taking my shoes off, my feet get cold because I have bad circulation. I think most reasonable people would wipe their feet pretty hard if they thought their shoes were dirty,or if it had been wet. Of course if you've treckked across a muddy field or up Snowdonia then you're obviously going to offer to take your shoes off.

I remember the Sex in The City episode where Carrie goes to the party and someone nicks her shoes! I had a dozen or so people around at the weekend and not one of them offered to take off their shoes and I didn't ask, but how stupid does it look that you've made an effort with the make up and dress but you're having to stand in bare feet!

Bet none of you lot drink red wine or allow your kids ribena! wink

samandi Wed 05-Dec-12 13:00:54

Jees, let hr sit in the car. YADNBU. Shoes off is a fairly normal request, especially if muddy.

KellyEllyChristmasBelly Wed 05-Dec-12 13:02:19

Her reaction was over the top but I personally wouldn't ask anyone to take their shoes off in my house. I think it's really rude. Whats the problem with them just wiping their feet on the mat? If they've been on a 5 mile cross country trek in muddy wellies then fine.

samandi Wed 05-Dec-12 13:03:38

People who can’t bear not to have any footwear on should carry a pair of slippers with them to other people’s houses, unless they know the person doesn’t mind shoes in the house.

They might not only be dirty, but shoes on wooden floors can damage them as well as causing an annoyance to any downstairs neighbours.

ooer Wed 05-Dec-12 13:10:31

I take my outdoor shoes off in my own home and in other people's homes. I have "indoor shoes" I take with me and change. If my host says I don't need to change, I just say my outdoor shoes are a bit muddy (and they usually are!)

Even if your shoes aren't muddy they are picking up grit etc from pavements and treading on spit, oh yuk.

I ask visiting children to remove shoes in my house (because they are usually all over the furniture as well). I don't ask adults to do it but I am really pleased when they do! I wish I felt comfortable asking adults to do it and I applaud OP for doing so. SIL's reaction was way OTT. Why did she not want to take off her shoes? How was it inconvenient? Were they some kind of complicated bondage shoes? Or ... perhaps she has cloven hooves? grin

freddiefrog Wed 05-Dec-12 13:15:01

In my house, I'm not bothered either way, off or on, whatever

I personally hate bare feet but am happy to take my shoes off in other people's houses

YANBU to want people to take their shoes off, it's your house.

SiL's reaction was very unreasonable

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