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People in Europe take off their shoes when entering someone's house.

I was quite amazed when I've seen the reaction of Rhett and Link when they were discussing taking off one's shoes, when entering someone's apartment or house in Russia (GMM Episode 378 "7 Weird Facts About Russia").

In Germany, it is considered a faux pas to just keep your shoes on. You always at least try to take off your shoes. The host will sometimes explain: "You may keep your shoes on", if you have shoes that are clean and difficult or awkward to take off, like high-heels, etc. then you may indeed keep them on.

But just keeping them on, and simply walking into someone's living room with your shoes on, that's considered bad manners.

However, it's also a bit of a faux pas, to ask someone to take their shoes off and step into your apartment or house, and leave their shoes outside or in the staircase. There is usually a mat or sometimes a small shoe rack for guests to leave their shoes in the hall. Some people have slippers for guests, or sometimes guests have their own slippers with them.

Personally, I don't like wearing slippers, I just sit at a friends house in socks. Of course, you should wear clean socks, etc.

The whole taking-off-your-shoes business, is of course to keep the host's apartment clean. Or that idea used to be what this etiquette comes from. In pretty much all countries in Europe that I've visited this rule applies.

Is this the other way round in the US? From that episode, I gathered actually taking off your shoes is considered bad manners, is that right?

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I think it's more of a regional thing. I'm an American and I was taught as a kid to always take my shoes off when visiting someone's house. Then agian, my mom us from Guyana and it may have been something she was used to. Nowadays I will make a judgment call as to whether or not to take my shoes off. I'll see if the host or other guests have their shoes on and make my decision then.

From what I've seen, there is no real American consensus on removing shoes when entering someone's house. I wouldn't say it's bad manners to remove your shoes, but it carries the assumption that you plan to stay at the house for a long period of time -- it's sort of a way of "making yourself at home," and if it's done without the invitation of the host, then in that way it could be considered a faux pas. It's best to ask the host what their preference is before you go anywhere in the living space.

I have a different cultural influence because my mother is Japanese, so the custom at my house was to always remove your shoes at the door and put them in the shoe rack nearby. We generally didn't wear slippers around the house, though, as is Japanese custom. I'd say it's extremely rare, if not completely unheard of, for any American to have indoor slippers for guests.

Growing up in the Midwest United States, it seems like the norm around here is to take off your shoes, which is completely understandable. Just for cleanliness' sake!

Yeah, I'm from Norway, and everybody takes off their shoes when walking into a house. I've  never seen anyone walk straight into a house with their shoes on, that would be very rude. And in winter it would be wet as well, because of the snow.

From where I've lived in the US you would just enter into your friend's house with your shoes on, and it wasn't considered rude or anything. But if you wanted to take your shoes off you would generally ask first to make sure it was alright. Alternatively, your host might say "you can take your shoes off if you'd like" after a bit, or your host might ask you to remove your shoes just after stepping in the door if they had just recently cleaned. 

It all depends on the person really. But there is no set standard of what is right or not.

Most Canadians take shoes off too. Interesting how different regions have their 'norms'.


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