Please Remove: Can I Ask Guests to Take off their Shoes in my Home?

Q: We have nearly white carpeting throughout our brand new home. We have some family members who seem to have a hard time with the concept of removing one’s shoes when entering the home. Is it in ‘bad taste’ to ask people to extend the courtesy of removing their shoes?

A: Well, it is your home, and if you don’t want guests to wear shoes, it is your choice. However, it is most thoughtful to tell invited guests that this is your rule so that they bring slippers or indoor shoes with them. No one likes, at all, being told to take their shoes off if they are unprepared to do so; they may have holes in their socks, or runs in their stockings, or feel they have a foot odor problem; and you might put them in an embarrassing situation. If the visitors are drop﷓in guests, it is thoughtful to have several pairs of disposable, paper slippers by the door so that when they remove their shoes, and may also be unprepared to do so, you have something for them to slip into.

Thank You All: How do I Address a Thank You Note to a Group?

Q: I recently retired from my job and my division took up a collection for my gift. How do I address the thank you note if it’s to a group of people of about 14? I am going on a vacation and was wondering if it’s acceptable to send a thank you note on a postcard.

A: Congratulations!  You may address your thank-you note to the person who organized the collection and purchased the gift and ask him or her to share your thanks with the others who contributed.  It would be fine to send the note on a postcard, and you might even want to add a line such as “As you can see, I’m enjoying my retirement!”

Rest Assured: Is it Rude to Not to Offer My Bed to a Houseguest?

Q: I recently moved to a small condo with two bedrooms; my bedroom and a smaller bedroom which I am using for a TV room. This room has no bed or sofa. A friend from invited herself to come up and stay with me for over a week. Am I obligated to give up my bedroom for her to sleep in? I have a nice full-sized air mattress, but I feel guilty asking her to sleep on the air mattress on the floor. However, on the other hand, she invited herself! I am certain she doesn’t know the sleeping arrangements here and would not expect me to give up my bed, but I still feel guilty if I don’t give her my room to sleep in.

A: No, you are not obligated nor expected to give up your bedroom for your guest.  You shouldn’t feel guilty asking her to sleep on an air mattress.  Furthermore, it would be fine to let her know what the sleeping arrangements will be.

Foliage Frustration: Am I Responsible for my Leaves on My Neighbors Lawn?

Q: Is it my responsibility to clean up leaves that fall from my tree onto my neighbor’s lawn? I have raked them up at my neighbor’s a couple of times, but don’t feel like I need to do it daily.

A: No, that is one of the burdens of fall – when leaves from your neighbor’s property fall on your lawn, you rake them up. When leaves from your tree fall on their lawn, they rake them up. It is small payment for enjoying the trees all the rest of the year!

Rude Requests: Is it OK to Specficially Suggest Money for a Gift?

Q: My granddaughter’s birthday is in December and she will be 12 years old. I casually asked her what are some of the things she would like as a gift for her birthday and Christmas. Her answer was ‘Cash’ or a ‘Gift Card’. I told her that I thought it really isn’t good manners to ask for money, that she could have suggested a gift that I could pick out for her. She said that if she gets ‘Cash’ she can then buy what she wants.

A: In answer to your question, it is not incorrect, when ask, to tell someone, even your grandmother, that your most appreciated gift would be money because you are saving for. . . .whatever, when that is the case. However, many families are uncomfortable exchanging cash and prefer to be able to select a gift they know the recipient would enjoy. If you are more comfortable buying a present than sending a gift card or a check, it is fine for you to say so, and ask for a small list of some specific items she might enjoy opening.