It's lovely to see you… now do as you're told: Is it rude to make guests abide by your house rules
23:44 GMT, 1 April 2012
The friend on my doorstep was a first-time visitor. She stood there with flowers, but my gaze did not move from her feet. Her patent shoes had heels like daggers.
‘Would you mind taking your shoes off’ I asked before allowing her in. ‘Wooden floors,’ I explained, only half apologetically.
She did mind. ‘Where should I put them’ she asked, screwing up her toes, embarrassed by her chipped polish and calluses. ‘Understairs cupboard,’ I said, knowing my request had put someone’s back up. Again.
Shoes off! Adults and children can't wear shoes on Kelly Rose Bradford's floor (posed by models)
A few weeks before, another friend had arrived to pick me up and chose to wait outside rather than take her boots off. As I got in her car, she snapped ‘Shoes off!’ followed by ‘only joking’.
But her sarcasm left me wondering why people get so upset by such a simple request. The way I see it, in your own home, what you say goes. My house, my rules.
And yes, that is rules plural. Additional rules include: no drinks without a coaster, no hands on walls, and absolutely no smoking anywhere, even in the garden.
I once had a mum from school and her children round to play with my son. Her kids were allowed to run riot through their own home in wellies. After prising them out of their (muddy) footwear, I spotted her giving her toddler a box of raisins. On my cream sofa.
'”It's like being back at school coming to your house, all these rules,” she moaned'
‘We don’t eat in the lounge,’ I said,
panic rising. ‘I’d like to see how you’ll enforce that with my lot,’
she laughed. ‘My kids never sit still long enough to eat at a table,’
‘They’ll go hungry here then,’ I replied. She didn’t visit again.
‘Why do I need a coaster for a cold drink’ a relative once asked.
‘Water marks!’ I shrieked.
‘It’s like being back at school coming to your house, all these rules,’ she moaned.
‘Nothing wrong with a few rules,’ I
murmured, adding silently to myself: ‘And those who don’t like them,
don’t have to visit… ’