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Don't Get Carried Away. . .

When someone invites you to, "Make yourself at home!" better to err on the side of caution and consideration for others and not take this ubiquitous phrase quite so literally.

When you are invited to someone's house, even if the event is very informal, resist the urge to let it all hang out.  I'm talking specifically about things like removing and leaving your shoes and coat in a heap on the floor just inside the front door when you arrive, resting your feet on the furniture, and putting your cup or glass directly on a table while ignoring the coaster you've been given, or worse (use your imagination).  

Newsflash!  You are a guest in someone else's home.  You are also an adult, so demonstrate respect for your hosts, their home and property as well as your fellow guests if there are any.  You might well have been invited to make yourself comfortable by your host(s) on arrival, but don't take that hospitality to unintended (and often undesired) extremes.  In plain language, that means keep your shoes on unless invited to remove them, get your stinky feet off the coffee table, sofa, or armchair, and don't touch anything before asking.  It does not belong to you.  To reiterate, you are a guest in someone else's home.

This particular point is a vital part of learning how to be a pleasant dinner, party, or house guest.  Sadly, that's something few people seem to remember in 2014, and I'm inclined to think they just don't know any better based on many years of inviting people into our home for small gatherings, larger parties, or sit-down dinners.  It's blatantly apparent that too many people have no idea how to act outside of the safe confines of their own TV room when they are guests in others' houses.  You, on the other hand, want to be the kind of guest who people will actually want to invite and see again.  So, be sure to act like an adult with some grooming and sophistication.  And keep yourself in check. 

You might  have some habits that seem ok to you in your own space, but it's probably best not to assume it's ok to behave that way when you are out.  Know what I mean, Jayden?  Average guys who are making an effort to kick up their everyday style several notches should keep that in mind.  Remember, style is about much more than just clothes, shoes, and accessories. 

-- Heinz-Ulrich

Follow-up. . . 

I had a private comment from a friend and former colleague earlier today, who mentioned that she appreciates it when people remove their shoes at the door.  So, let me say a few more words about that.

I understand if one's got antique carpets and slippers are lent out, or if the host(-ess) actually asks guests to remove their shoes. And when there is deep snow outside, like there was in much of the Unted States this winter, and everyone is trudging around n boots. t's a different story.  All bets are off.  I get it.  But it drives me nuts when people automatically pile their shoes in the path of incoming/outgoing foot traffic in the front hall -- as if they've walked through mud and manure to get to the front door -- without being asked to do so. Especially when everyone is "dressed." It's also an imposition to your guests, especially if they have arrived "dressed," to expect everyone to remove dress shoes and run around in their socks or pantyhose for the evening.  Unless, of course, you make a routine of handing out carpet slippers and keep extras on hand for guests.

Japanese cultural practices notwithstanding, shoe mountains at the front and back door seem to be a Midwestern thing because I never, ever encountered it as a child or young person on the east coast of the U.S. whether the occasion was formal (and there were some such events once in a while), or less so.  At home, our shoes were on our feet most of the time during the day, except in the hottest summer weather, and everyone kept their shoes upstairs in their bedroom closets (where they belonged) rather than piled by the front or back doors.  Jackets, coats, and schoolbags also resided in the hall closet.  The one notable exception as far as shoes went was in the home of a German-Yugoslav couple, whose daughter was a school friend and playmate of mine. The Meyers had large antique Turkish rugs everywhere, and Mrs. Meyer had the family and any guests wear carpet slippers when in the house.  No big deal was made about it.  It was simply what was expected.  End of story.  Mrs. Meyer kept extras in various sizes in a box just inside the large hall closet as you came into the entry hall. 

The main issue, though, is guests (not always and exclusively doofus guys) who fail to treat someone else's home with a bit of care and respect during a visit.  Too many people behave instead as though they are in their own basement rec room with a bunch of other ill-mannered boors.  In other words, they mindlessly put unprotected wet glasses down on flat surface and leave behind rings on any surfaces.  Um, hello?  You are not in a bar/pub, so use coasters or cocktail napkins beneath your glass.  It's not like undergoing a root canal at the dentist for Pete's sake.  Likewise, it's not a good idea to leave empty beer bottles everywhere but the recycling bin in the kitchen when you are a guest in someone's home.  Assuming you drink from the bottle and not that new fangled invention called. . .  a glass.  Be careful, too, not to drop finger foods (what used to be called hors d'oeuvres in polite circles) or chocolate onto the sofa or armchairs and then smear/grind it into the upholstery with your backside.  Watch what you are doing and be careful.  And finally, don't touch things when you are a  guest in someone's home.  Ask beforehand if you spot something that you absolutely must pick up.  

However informal you might understand the event to be, mind your social P's and Q's when you are a guest.  It's just the considerate thing to do.


  1. When I go for a long visit, I take a pair of slippers with me. Even with short visits, most of my friends prefer their guests to remove their shoes. My relatives both in Canada and the UK have cupboards near the front door with racks for shoes to avoid the shoe mound.


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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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