Sunday, June 11, 2017

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia

Positive Impact Journey: Cultural Significance of Removing Your Shoes in Asia



by Alexandra Black Paulick


"I made a major cultural mistake early on in my Asia adventure. It was in Thailand and I started blazing across the foyer to the reception desk in our small off the beaten path lodging. It had been a long day and I was more than ready to claim my room and curl up for a long night sleep. A bustling grandmother behind the counter quickly came running to block my path, utterly in shock at my onset.

You see I still had my sandals on. I had crossed the barrier of the lobby still wearing my chacos.

Much to my surprise, the older host of the house requested that our shoes be removed outside. It suddenly dawned on me that in my haste, I had passed a small group of shoes outside on the steps leading into the hotel. Slowly a memory of someone commenting about shoes and customs in Asia came to the forefront.

I went to slide my sandals off, still holding them in my hand but proceeding barefoot. Strike two. While our host was friendly and accommodating, she was committed that my shoes remain outside."

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House

Good Housekeeping: "Take Your Shoes Off" Is Not a Suggestion in My House


by Hannah Logan


"What makes it even worse is how obvious it is that I do not wear shoes indoors. If my bare (or sock) feet aren't indication enough, check the lineup of shoes at my front door. It's not a new decoration technique; they are there for a reason. And while this is obvious to most people, there are still some who are completely oblivious.

It also implies something about how the visitor feels about a place. Shoes are meant to be worn to protect your feet and keep them clean. For every person who keeps theirs on, I can't help but take it as a judgment against me and my home. As if my living space isn't clean or safe enough for them to risk taking their shoes off. I understand that, more likely than not, this is never the intention. Given the amount of action that my Swiffer and vacuum see, I can't actually believe that visitors consider my floors to be hazardous. Still, irrational or not, I always end up feeling offended."

The author states she does not request people to remove their shoes. This is the problem. It's useless seething with anger at people for not taking their shoes off if you are not prepared to communicate that this is your expectation. Lots of people leave their own shoes at the door, but would never expect guests to remove their shoes, so she cannot assume this is a big enough clue. She is going to have to learn to be more assertive.