Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Encourage but not insist?

Some people say that it is fine to encourage people to remove their shoes, but one should not insist that they do so.

There is a fine line between insisting on people removing their shoes and encouraging people to take them off. There are a number of things one could say that are subtle encouragements:

We take our shoes off here.

You might like to take your shoes off.

These imply strongly that the host wants the guest to remove her shoes. I do not see that insisting or asking is worse than encouraging. If you encourage people to take their shoes off, then you have started from the assumption that people will be willing to take them off. By encouraging, you apply a degree of moral pressure to comply.

I think a lot of people would not want the uncertainty of just being encouraged. I was dating a girl a few years ago when I was not 100% sold out to the shoes-off rule. She asked me if she should remove her shoes. I told her that we removed our shoes but she did not have to. She was actually uncomfortable at this answer and asked me whether I wanted her to take them off or not.

Sometimes it is simpler just to be straight with people and ask them to remove their shoes. No need to beat around the bush.


Rose~ said...

I meant:
Profound insight into a very important matter of great consequence.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Thanks, Rose.

Jasper1971 said...

I think I would suggest an intermediate reply (if that is proper English LOL). Would suggesting shoe removal first and saying something like 'I would appreciate it if you took them off, but if you're uncomfortable with it, I won't treat it as a crime?' if the other is not sure, be a compromise? That way you unequivocally express your preference, but nobody will lose face if they refuse.
Still, being clear and asking outright but in a friendly way is OK too, of course.


Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Good suggestion.

I am sure when I am running the house (when my parents move out and before the house sells) Ill experiment a bit.