DEAR ABBY: We have a couple of daughters who have told us we must take off our shoes if we visit them (and our beautiful grandchildren). Although I’m not sure of their reasons for this, I do know for sure that we have never tracked any kind of dirt into their houses when we visited. In fact, our shoes are always clean.
I have very sensitive feet. I cannot even walk outside barefoot. On top of that, my feet get cold if they aren’t covered. I have always worn house slippers at home if I didn’t have shoes on.
In a discussion with my wife, I suggested that their request was both inconsiderate and disrespectful. I also said they should provide alternatives to shoes for visitors if they expect guests to remove their shoes. What is the proper etiquette in a situation like this? — Cold Feet in Iowa
DEAR COLD FEET: A person does not have to track “dirt” into a house to carry germs on the soles of one’s shoes. If guests have walked on a sidewalk or driveway where someone has walked a dog or spat, then I can see why a parent might want shoes removed if children play on the floor.
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Good manners in a case like this would be to cheerfully cooperate with your hosts and, if slippers are not provided, to bring a pair over that you can leave for the next time you visit. It’s a small price to pay for spending time with your beautiful grandchildren.
DEAR ABBY: We have a 27-year-old nephew who lives at home with his parents. He is a good guy, but he doesn’t drive. He has no physical or mental impairments that we are aware of, and all of his numerous family members have offered to teach him. But his nonchalant attitude toward learning has made everyone give up.
We live in a big city with poor public transportation, and his job is far from home. Catching the bus to work is unsafe and takes hours, and daily cab fare isn’t cost-effective. We know his parents aren’t happy transporting him back and forth, and we think they need to push him toward more independence. His social life is limited to family events, and dating is out of the question.
We worry about what will happen as his parents are getting older, and none of us plan on assuming the responsibility of transporting him. Any suggestions? — Concerned Aunt in Florida
DEAR CONCERNED AUNT: How do you know the parents aren’t happy about transporting him? Have they said it? If so, the next time they vent, tell them you’re concerned about their son and why. He may have additional problems that you are unaware of. He may simply be a late bloomer or have no incentive to be independent because his parents are happy with him snug in their nest.
However, if this is the elephant in the room that no one, including the parents, wants to acknowledge, keep mum because if you don’t, you will be resented for it.