Shoes and the Inside of a House

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Should I have my guest take their shoes off when entering my house? If you were Asian, the answer to this question would be a no-brainer. Most Asians would not allow a guest to come into their home without removing their shoes first. If you are a westerner, it probably hinges on the circumstances.

In Thailand, a guest needs to take off their shoes because Thais believe that you will bring in evil spirits. A Westerner would probably be more worried about the guest tracking in dirt than evil spirits. If a Westerner sees that you have dirty shoes or sneakers, they would probably make you take them off before coming in especially if they had just cleaned or waxed the floors.

A Westerner or an American would let you wear shoes if it was a formal situation. When a person leaves their shoes on in a house, they probably don't feel as comfortable as they would be with their shoes off. They have come to the house to do business and may not have to stay long. The host may have other things to do and want the business guest to leave as soon as possible. The host is not so bothered about the feelings of the business guest because the guest is a stranger to them. The more informal the situation, the less likely that you have to wear shoes.

If it is a friend or a relative, the American host would let them come in without their shoes. They do care about their feelings. They want their friends and relatives to feel comfortable and welcome. They would want their guest to feel that they can stay at the house for a long time and that they can hang out with the guest. The less informal the situation, the less likely chance that you have to wear shoes.

Should I have my guest take their shoes off when entering my house? The American answer could be that it depends on the situation. You need to take your shoes off if they are dirty. If you are a business guest, you can leave your shoes. A friend or relative can take their shoes off. Asians would wonder why this is such a burning question.

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