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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?

schnauzerfan Wed 05-Dec-12 12:14:56

YOUR house, YOUR rules. You sil sounds like a drama queen.

HELPMyPooIsStuck Wed 05-Dec-12 12:15:01

I automatically take shoes off when I go into any house, maybe I'm weird ??confused

SantaWearsGreen Wed 05-Dec-12 12:15:49

I don't understand why people think it is rude to ask. Every house is different- some are shoes off and some don't care. It is manners to ask whether you need to take your shoes off, some people just take them off anyway.

My good friend always takes hers off, as does my nanna because they see it as manners. If I am asked to before I get chance to ask then whatever, simply take my shoes off- its no biggy! Its hardly a big task.. I've always grown up mainly around shoes off houses, that is normal to me! Its polite..

Your sil sounds a bit off the rails.

Gooseysgirl Wed 05-Dec-12 12:16:16

I usually have no problem taking my shoes of when asked... Your house your rules.. (However when the person asking has a grotty dog that is allowed to roam about the house and thus the carpet is already wrecked it really annoys me.. I'm talking about YOU dsil!!!)

FellatioBellsOn Wed 05-Dec-12 12:16:20

I hate being told to take my shoes off when I go into people's houses. Obviously if I thought they were dirty I'd volunteer to do it myself, but I hate being told like a child. Just get a decent door mat, and chose sensible floor coverings.

However, I would never refuse, or query it if asked, and I think your SIL has behaved like a huffy spoilt child.

cozietoesie Wed 05-Dec-12 12:16:48

I nearly always have a supply of (freshly washed) different sized espadrilles around. Cheap, warm, easy to wash and also do a turn for slippers for overnight guests. I don't ask people to remove shoes (I've got wood floors and dark rugs) but if I did, I'd smooth it into an offer of espadrilles rather than a straight - 'off with the shoes'.

Your SIL was being ridiculous though. What a drama queen.

purplecrayon Wed 05-Dec-12 12:17:10

Shoes off in my house. I don't ask for shoes to be removed but if a visitor doesn't take their shoes off, they will never be invited back. It is very clear from the fact that nobody in my family is wearing shoes and that there is a rack of shoes that it isn't acceptable to me to wear shoes in my house.

Either it will be obvious whether the host house is shoes on or shoes off or if it isn't you need to ask the host what they prefer.

Your SIL sounds deranged anyway, aside from the shoes on/off issue!

MissChristmastRee Wed 05-Dec-12 12:17:33

I was brought up to always take my shoes off in someone else's house! I wouldn't think twice about asking someone to take their shoes off in my house if I had new carpets and if I didn't, DS certainly would!!!!

YANBU and your SIL overreacted massively - is she always such a drama llama?

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 05-Dec-12 12:18:31

YANBU - she sounds unhinged.

No shoes in my house, not that I ever have to ask anyone, just take them off at the door.

BlueVernis Wed 05-Dec-12 12:18:34

I wouldn't ask guests to, but I would hope that they would take off their shoes. However I ask my family to because I would hope that they wouldn't mind. Perhaps I should have also mentioned (although I hope it wasn't a factor in the incident) that I am English and my inlaws are Asian. My SIL hasn't really been close to me so I'm not overly surprised at her behavaiour. Plus, I have been told that in her religion, you are meant to remove shoes in the home.
I wouldn't mind if I was being 'precious' as someone put in, about asking her to take of her shoes, but as I said, it was raining hard and I didn't really want damp patches or soggy leaves on my carpet.

MissCellania Wed 05-Dec-12 12:18:35

It's only in the UK and a few other western countries where this is an issue, in the majority of places around the world you wouldn't even think of walking into peoples homes with your outdoor shoes on.

Spons Wed 05-Dec-12 12:19:52

At our old house, we had lovely cream carpets throughout and most peor took shoes off without us asking, honestly. All gas / sky / electric / estate agents did it automatically. The people that didnt always trod dirt in too, not much of a problem but still. At our new much older house we have wooden / darker carpets and people don't take them off as much, so maybe it's a perception thing?

I take my shoes off at everyone's house, I'm much more comfy without shoes on, I always have socks in my bag / car, bit sad?! And I do find it a bit weird when people are sat with outdoors shoes on indoors, just looks like they're going to be legging it at any moment!

Maybe your sil has webbed feet or hooves she didn't want to reveal?!

VonHerrBurton Wed 05-Dec-12 12:20:43

Oh God the dreaded espadrille/slippers/socks 'for guests' use' as you come through the door....

Urgh. Just urgh. I wouldn't come in, I'd feel like a child in a nursery. I don't want to put any of your minging indoor shoe options - clean or not.

Bunbaker Wed 05-Dec-12 12:20:51

"Is it really that rude? I personally don't ask people to take their shoes off, but I like it when they do!"

"I would never ask people to take their shoes off, but wouldn't mind removing mine if asked. It's not really a big deal is it."

Same here. I expect people to wipe their feet thoroughly on the doormat when they come in anyway, but don't ask people to remove shoes. That said all my friends do anyway. I always ask when going to friends' houses if they want me to take mine off. It's called consideration.

I feel that as a host you have to make people feel welcome, but it is also the responsibility of the guest to be considerate towards their host. Your SIL was being exceedingly precious.

EverlongLovesHerChristmasRobin Wed 05-Dec-12 12:21:06

Your sil sounds like a raving lunatic.

It's rude not to take your shoes off when you go into someone's house.

I always ask if it's shoes off.

cozietoesie Wed 05-Dec-12 12:21:57

Although thinking about it - I nearly did ask a visitor to remove shoes the other month - she came into the house in stilettos and I sat and gnawed my fingers until she got off the polished wood floor and onto a rug. I think it was only the fact that it was likely to be a tense visit anyway that stopped me.

So - it's not only a matter of dirt and pale carpets!

takataka Wed 05-Dec-12 12:22:19

she is being mental. besides the cleaning issue, it is common place to take your shoes off when entering childcare setting, where young children play on the floor; so you dont bring in dog shit/germs/ broken glass/bits and bobs

What did your dh say?

EasilyBored Wed 05-Dec-12 12:22:28

Do people sit around at home in their shoes? Isn't that uncomfortable?

I would always take my shoes off when in some else's home, just because I would be embarrassed if I left dirty footprints on their carpet.

As long as your socks are clean, what does it matter?

Crinkle77 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:23:10

Bit of both really. I would not ask people to take their shoes off unless it was my mum, sisters or boyfriend but I would hope that people would also have the good manners to realise that if it is wet outside then the polite thing would be to take them off so they don't trail mud through the house. I automatically take my shoes off when I go to other peoples houses out of respect for their home.

Paiviaso Wed 05-Dec-12 12:25:16

Your SIL is nuts. Your house, your carpet that you have to clean, your rules.

VenusRising Wed 05-Dec-12 12:25:28

Well, if she won't come into your house now you've solved a problem. Look at the bright side.

TBH she sounds like she has her high horse to sit on anyway.
OP Your family dynamics are odd I have to say - Lording it over everyone cause you're "first born" is a crazy outdated notion in these days of democracy - is she a Royalist perchance?

I understand the no shoes inside thing - many don't, but then when you have little kids playing on a carpet that has flakes of dried mud and dog shit, you might begin to understand it too.

I don't think you are being unreasonable to ask that everyone leave mucky shoes in the hall, especially on a filthy wet night.

YY MissCellania - I agree, having lived in forn parts, I can't imagine wearing my outside shoes inside.

WowOoo Wed 05-Dec-12 12:26:37

I don't think it's rude to take shoes off at all.
I do it out of habit whether asked to or not.

WowOoo Wed 05-Dec-12 12:27:04

rude to ask, I mean !

LadyClariceCannockMonty Wed 05-Dec-12 12:30:42

YANBU. Your house, your rules. And it's not even as if you asked her to take off her shoes because you have a blanket rule; it was because of a few specific reasons, which you explained to her.

I'm really perturbed by her 'screaming and shouting' and her opinion that you didn't have the right to ask 'as she is the older SIL.' hmm

chris481 Wed 05-Dec-12 12:31:06

No shoes inside is a perfectly reasonable policy. In many countries/cultures it is the default. MIL (and most of her fellow countrymen) would consider wearing outdoor shoes indoors a barbaric/disgusting practice. (If such shoes have been worn inside, in their minds the floor is now contaminated with invisible traces of shit those shoes have stood on.)

I'm not hugely bothered myself, but I see the practical benefits of a no-shoe policy in terms of keeping floor/carpets clean.

I find that visitors, even white Europeans (who probably keep shoes on at home) often offer to remove shoes without being asked. Even plumbers and decorators have asked me if they should, so it's not like awareness of the issue among Europeans is restricted to certain classes.

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