Cultural differences can put a serious strain on things when you're in a relationship with someone.
Things like foods and holidays can be compromised on pretty easily, but what about things like manners and social norms?
One woman took to Reddit to get opinions on how she is dealing with in-laws who outright refuse to abide by her house rules because they are culturally different. What's considered polite and normal in one culture can be totally unheard of in another.
For example, in some parts of Japan falling asleep at work is seen as a sign that you're a hard worker giving the job all you've got. It's a commendable sign of exhaustion that may earn you some brownie points with your higher ups.
Try that in most western cultures and it's more likely to earn you disciplinary action.
Those same sorts of differences can be seen in dating norms, makeup, table manners, nonverbal communication (nodding up and down for "yes" and shaking your head side to side for "no" are not universal, folks) and so much more.
Shoes became a cultural point of contention for our dear Reddit user and her in-laws. Her in-laws outright refuse to respect her "no shoes in the house" rule because it's just not a thing as far as they're concerned.
For them, wearing your outdoor shoes or boots inside your home is no big deal.
She's asked, she's offered to provide socks or house slippers, her partner has even spoken up to his parents about it, but they just won't budge. They end up tracking dirt and mud all over the house when they visit.
The in-laws have brushed her off so completely on this issue that it's got her wondering if she's making a big deal over nothing.
Let's read through her Reddit post.
"I'm part Asian and was raised in a shoeless household because (to me) it's cleaner. My partner is from an area where everyone wears shoes in the house."
"Not just house shoes, but legit the boots they just wore through the mud, after sometimes hitting them with a stick or wiping them on the welcome mat."
She starts off by setting up their differences quite clearly.
She is a hard #TeamNoShoes when inside the house. Her in-laws, however, are more never-nudes when it comes to their feet and regularly wear their shoes inside the house.
It's an interesting cultural difference, but not a big deal right? Hahaha WRONG.
Most people would just go "okay so you do what the house does"—a when in Rome kind of situation. That would make sense, though, and this is Reddit we're talking about here.
If everyone's responses were reasonable and made sense, we wouldn't be here.
She continues explaining:
"The in-laws think me being barefoot inside is gross, so when at their house I wear socks or house slippers. I'm not totally comfortable, but hey, it's their house."
"At my house, however my in-laws absolutely refuse to take their shoes off (despite knowing what coming over entails). They've given reasons ranging from the floor being cold, wool rugs (our rug is not wool), lack of arch support and being inconvenienced by having to unlace."
"My partner has gotten into (yelling) arguments about how this behavior is culturally disrespectful to me as well as disrespectful in general since my partner is the one who has to mop up after them."
"We've offered socks and house shoes in the past but they've refused. This time I got clean room booties (shoe coverings for people who work in sterile tech facilities) and my partner is enforcing a 'booties or no entrance' policy."
"Inconvenienced by having to unlace"‽ Really‽‽
That's what these actual grown adults came up with‽
That's just straight up not a good excuse, not to mention being outright rude.
It's like saying they're perfectly fine creating extra work for her by leaving dirt, mud and footprints all over the floor. It's saying her cultural norms, her comfort and her household rules (not to mention her partner's wishes) all mean less than their convenience.
Still, the original poster isn't a totally unreasonable human being. She knows there's a chance they have a really good reason for not taking off their shoes.
Maybe they both have terrible foot funguses and are trying to not spread it? Maybe they really associate floors with being dirty and can't fathom that her floors are clean?
Is she obsessing too much over her floors? Is she being rude and making the in-laws feel like she thinks they're inherently filthy?
So many questions.
"There is some concern that this is rude/unnecessarily mean to my in-laws and/or they both might secretly have really good reasons for keeping their shoes on? I still don't see how that means that they can't wear booties. Am I the a$hole?" - OpheliaMustDieOpheliaMustDie
She later followed up with some more of her in-laws reasoning ... and it just made the situation worse.
"Nobody else around here does the no shoes thing. My partner's brother kinda does it with snow boots, but that's it."
"Everyone else out there are all shoes all the time so I'm the lone pushback. I've seen them sit on the bed with shoes on top of the bedspread and tell me to relax because it wasn't in the sheets."
"Part of their thing is of course I should wear shoes on in their house because that's the right thing to do and barefoot is gross because idk, athletes foot? And why should they deliberately do something that is wrong just because they're at my house."
"Well in my brain, their way seems objectively the wrong way, so I wear my house shoes at their place."
"I'm doubting myself on this because I'm working through my OCD and thinking that having things be 'the right way' is usually just my way. And my way doesn't always make sense to others (I've learned), hence me asking here."
Is anyone else getting kind of xenophobic vibes right now? Minimally the in-laws sound entitled and self centered. Why should they deliberately do something they've been asked not to?
They're literally not even willing to entertain that anything but their thoughts, ideas and habits could possibly be okay. She is just wrong. Flat out.
No right to set her own house rules, their rules are better. Their rules are right.
Reddit users had a LOT to say about it.
"I mean god damn the hypocrisy of making OP wear shoes in their home but not having the respect to take theirs off in OPs home. And the argument about arch support is bull, I have flat feet where I have to wear supportive insoles with any shoes I wear and I'd still respectfully remove my shoes when asked to to enter someone's home." - Dwarf_Shorty
"I've known SO many people who have a 'no shoes' rule for their homes, and I've not once heard of anyone refusing to comply with this rule. Not only are you not an asshole for making them wear booties, but you wouldn't be an asshole if you didn't let them in your house. For one, it's a rule you have, and two, it's just plain disrespectful." - addictedtochips
"A) it's your culture. And your house. You are free to set whatever rules you wish. You abide by their preferences at their house. They should do the same."
"B). Wearing shoes in the house is just gross. Pull up one of the many studies done on what outside shoes track into the house and show them."
"C). You have made many accommodations and suggestions. Either they abide by one of them, or they will need to decide what's more important. Disgusting outside shoes (and their accompanying germs). Or family." - Stlrivergirl
"I feel so weird whenever someone says I can leave my shoes on, and it feels unwelcoming to tell someone else to leave them on, like they aren't staying long enough to bother being comfortable 😬 is that just me? I don't feel settled with my shoes on and it feels like 'here's your hat, what's your hurry?' or whatever that old saying is." - malice1989
"I'm from Hawaii and NOBODY wears shoes inside the house here. Your home is supposed to be a clean comfortable space. Why would you walk on your clean carpet with the same shoes you walked through a parking lot with? It doesn't make sense."
"They're rude! you're not asking them to put on bikinis lol. If they're coming into YOUR house and refuse to remove their shoes then providing them with some simple house slippers seems more then reasonable. Randomly I've been to a doctors office that also provided house slippers lol" - foxfirex88
And about the possibility of a "good reason."
"I was raised in a shoes off house, not Asian but my mom is VERY hung up on tracking stuff on the carpet. As a result removing my shoes is pretty much second nature when going inside. My mother-in-law has plantar fasciitis and wears running shoes everywhere, but then gets irritated at random dirt and plant material tracked on the ground." - Snoogle312
"I have plantar fasciitis, but I take off my outdoor shoes and wear slippers with arch support. There are so many solutions it's mind-boggling even has to have the conversation with her in-laws." - fourth_and_long
"One of my closest friends has serious OCD. Not the kind people claim to have because they keep a desk clean, but genuinely gets crippling anxiety about germs. If you admit to not having washed your hands in several hours she will pay attention to everything you touch in her house and Lysol it after you leave. Anyway, no shoes allowed in her house, of course."
"The first time I went over there, she asked me to take off my shoes. I was kind of a no-socks, sweaty foot type. I now know that's gross but I never had to take off my shoes in public before and I really hated the feeling of socks on my feet. I was pretty embarrassed to take off my shoes but I just did it anyway out of respect for my host (and covertly ran to the bathroom to manage my foot odor as best I could lol)."
"It doesn't really matter what your reason is for wanting to keep them on. And it doesn't really matter what their reason is for wanting you to take them off, it's their house. You just have to respect that. I was younger back then and now I wear socks like a normal person. But that's definitely something I'll remember (and may have subconsciously encouraged me to change my ways)." - pseudo_meat
So what do you think? Is the poster making a mountain out of a molehill or are her in-laws being unreasonably stubborn?