Visiting a friend as a child could be a mixed bag, on the one hand, you get to hang out with your pals, on the other hand, you might have to deal with their strange family. Sure, as a kid, many things seem strange the first time you encounter them, but some might be so unusual that you still remember them into adulthood.
One internet user wanted to hear others’ stories about unusual or downright weird house rules they encountered when visiting someone. So get comfortable, hopefully in the safety of your own home, and be sure to upvote your favorites and share any other unusual rules you may have encountered out there.
#1No beverages with or before dinner. Everyone had to have cleared their plates before any beverage was served.
Salty dry food served with no water is bloody torture when you are a kid.
Image credits: ZaMiLoD
#2Repost from a previous comment I made.
They had a Cuckoo clock they called the "Prayer clock". The clock had the 12 disciples for the numbers on dial, I never knew what came out of the clock on the hour (probably Jesus). But every single hour that clock would go off. My friends mother would round up all the kids and make us write thank you prayers and place them in the "Prayer jar". We had to write down thank you notes to Jesus for everything we did in the last hour, then place them in the jar. If we were playing with LEGOS, and had a snack I would have to write down "Thank you Jesus, for letting me play LEGOS and eating string cheese". His mom would read them and usually would have us edit them, with changes like "you had apple juice too, you don't think Jesus would be sad if you didn't thank him for the apple juice as well?"
Yeah that was the weirdest rule at a guests house ever for me.
Image credits: anon
#3I had a friend in high school whose parents had an all-white living room that they kept immaculately clean. They even kept plastic covers over the couch and chairs as if it were 1960. Anyway, their stairs were literally two steps from the entry hall but those two steps were through the living room which *nobody* was allowed to walk in except my friend's parents and their adult guests. So to get upstairs to her room we had to circle through her entire house to come around to the stairs from the other side. Her stepdad was a violent man so they were all too afraid to dare challenge the rule.
It wasn't terribly inconvenient but it was weird, especially when her mom was watching TV and we had to walk past her and that meant we had to stop for an awkward chat. Really that was the worst of it.
Image credits: DeniseDeNephew
Most of the rules here fall into the category of absurd pretty easily. But there are always certain cultural elements that can inform the origins of one rule or another. A classic example would be the unspoken but very important rule to take off one’s shoes when entering a home in Japan. Culturally, they place importance on the division of outside and inside, so the guest shows respect by, well, respecting this border.
This is why, upon entrance, many Japanese homes have a tatami mat for where you should place your shoes. This area is often referred to as a genkan. If you are very worried about offending your Japanese host, be on the lookout for a shoe rack or other storage options. As a rule of thumb, the location will be very close to the entrance. While this rule doesn’t seem that absurd, after all, in much of the world people remove their shoes, it does demonstrate how such a simple concept can become important in the right context.
#4No farting, she thought it was a disgusting act.
I remember once I snuck a fart whilst at his home, his mum asked who had done it, I categorically denied it and she marched him to the toilet and told him not to come out until he had s**t... I still feel guilty about that.
Image credits: hunterfam55
#5I went round my new friends house for dinner one night and then the plan was to go and see Return of the King at the cinema.
Ate food, chatting to him and his family, everything was normal.
Then the time came to go to the cinema.
And his family said to me “would you mind taking Gandalf?”
“..... uhh what?”
Turns out they had a 6 foot cardboard cut out of Gandalf upstairs and they had taken him to the first two LOTR movies and it had become a tradition. So I go upstairs, find the massive cardboard cutout, struggle to drag him down the stairs, at this point the family are in the car waiting for me. I mutter to myself thinking how the hell is this gonna fit in the car. I drag Gandalf to the car and open the door and they’re all laughing their asses off at me.
There was no tradition. They were just teasing me.
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#6Not weirdest, but scariest; do NOT speak to the man of the house. Ever. If you did, the man would ignore you. The family would pay the price afterwards.
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Some rules and etiquette come from older cultural traditions and have simply lasted into the 21st century. In Afghanistan, if you drop your bread, it should be picked up, kissed, pressed to the forehead, and only then placed back on the table. It’s probably not a good idea to throw it away. Of course, in Afghanistan, as well as other countries, eating on the floor is very common, so make sure your feet, god forbid, do not touch the food.
#7When I was about 10, I ate dinner at a friend's house. She gulped her milk at the table. As a punishment, she had to finish her dinner in the bath tub. I was left alone at the dinner table with her parents scared to take a sip of my drink. So the rule was, no gulping milk. She had a ton of horrible rules. I didn't go over there often.
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#8We were maybe 7 or 8 and not allowed to talk about the Disney show “That’s so Raven” because “psychics are on the same side as the devil”. We still watched it because my friend had leukemia and we only had access to so many box sets of 7th heaven. That’s so Raven was our favorite “guilty pleasure” until we discovered VH1 and “Flavor of Love” and other devilish shows. We got reeeeeally good at changing channels before her mom came in.
Image credits: Lyndsayrae22
#9I stayed the night at a friends house once and her parents had a rule that you could only have three meals a day; breakfast, lunch dinner. They did not allow their kids, or others staying at their house, to have any snacks. I was 8 or 9 at the time and I remember it was around 3 or 4 pm and dinner wasn't going to be till 6 or 7 pm so I asked my friend if we could have a snack and her mom freaked out and started lecturing me how snacks are horrible and never allowed and that I'd have to wait till dinner. Super weird rule. I never went there again.
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Some people shared their host's deep-seated hatred of farts. While they might be unpleasant, we all have stomachs, so it’s just a part of life. Very similarly, the burp should generally be suppressed when you are around other people, despite it being just as natural of a process. Unless you are in mainland China, where one should do it to let the hosts know you enjoyed the food. It is important to note that this is less common in Hong Kong, so always be aware of the variations in rules.
#10My grandparents have always had a cat. All well and good, cats are nice and I have nothing against them. The problem was that the cat that they had when me and my siblings were young was a rescue cat and super shy. Apparently the logical solution to this was that we had to spend chunks of time being as quiet as possible so as not to disturb it. We were even given homemade 'medals' one at least one occasion for being particularly quiet around the house. As a child, this was pretty torturous a lot of the time, but I never really realised how strange it was until later.
My grandparents are great in general, just a little weird about their cats.
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#11I went to one of my friends house for dinner in elementary school. They were serving spaghetti and everyone had to take of their shirt. To include the Mom and teenage daughter. It was pretty awkward. The Dad and us boys were bare chested and the Mom and teenage daughter were in their bras.
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#12We couldn't talk about feces in their home. Everything else like sex, semen, whatever was fine, but poop is not.
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And demonstrating a healthy understanding of the body's natural processes, the Yanomami tribe of South America farts as a greeting. Similarly, the Canadian Inuits will fart to demonstrate their satisfaction with a delicious meal. This raises a comical, hypothetical situation where a guest is flustered by their inability to fart on the spot. But, it goes without saying, easier out than in.
#13At my friend's house as a kid about 8years old they had two toilets one upstairs one downstairs up stairs was for number 1s and downstairs for number 2s with no explanation why rather Strange rule if you ask me.
Image credits: anon
#14We had to pray the Rosary at 3:00, no matter what...anyone who is Catholic can tell you how much time that takes up. Bonus points if you had to do it and aren't even Catholic..
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#15When we'd go to play cards at the neighbor's, we had to leave our Verizon cellphones outside the house, cuz she got headaches, coughing fits from the emanations(?). Yet, her and her spouse would whip out their Iphones to look up stuff on the internet, take calls, etc. right in front of us, as we played. Apparently Iphones and AT&T emanations are ok, but not Verizon's. Damn Verizon, I knew they were up to something!
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All these examples go to demonstrate that people have rules all over the world. Who can actually say what is unusual or even strange? Better to share the variants so we know what to avoid in certain households and what households to avoid entirely. After all, when in Rome goes the old adage for a good reason, when one is in someone else's house, it’s best to comply with their rules, one way or another.
#16One friend's mother always immediately demanded to witness me calling my own mother, to say where I was. At age 8? Sensible. At age 17 when I worked full time? OTT.
#17Can't swear on the stairs.
Image credits: SheZowRaisedByWolves
#18Not just at their house, but even if we went out to eat.
You were allowed only one glass of tea or Coke a day. If you drank said tea or Coke with your breakfast or lunch, you could only drink water the rest of the day.
If I went out to eat with them, his mom would always say, "four ice waters". His mom or stepdad paid for their meals; I had to pay for mine separately. I'd also order a sweet tea, which would often p**s my friend off. She'd insist I drink the water after the tea before we left.
Image credits: PatrickRsGhost
#19My aunt had decorative hand towels in the bathroom arranged in a way to make make Martha Stewart jealous. After washing my hands I tried to use them and got stabbed by pins. She booby trapped them so nobody would ever attempt to use them twice and mess up her towels. I have no idea how they dried their hands.
Image credits: DarrenEdwards
#20Stoner friend I met in my neighborhood and used to buy weed from had a couple parakeets, a grow room full of plants, and absolutely zero sense of personal hygiene. First time I came over to pick up weed, he tells me to take off my shoes.
Ok, sure. Socks it is...
I walk in and the entire living room carpet is absolutely covered in a layer of bird seed and bird s**t, parakeets just flying all around the place, screeching. I really needed that weed, so I just pretended like nothing was wrong... After that, I insisted we meet elsewhere.
Not an unusual rule in any other context, but maybe let your guests wear shoes if your entire apartment is a dank, bird s**t encrusted hell hole, mmkay?
#21Having to have a bath in the tepid soiled bath water of my cousins. Auntie ran ONE bath and the four kids all used it from oldest to youngest, then ME. Always flatly refused the offer of a bath after that, I collected more gack from that bath than I washed off.
#22Sort of the opposite, actually.
When I was younger, my aunt came over to my house for Christmas dinner with her two children. After we finished eating and opening gifts, she announced to her children, myself, and my sister that we all had to be in bed by 7 and would wake up at 6 at the latest before going to church as a group.
Now, mind you, this was in my house. I had my own schedule to follow, but just because she wanted her precious children to leave her and her wine headache alone, she started micromanaging us.
Also, she wouldn’t let us eat sugary cereal.
#23My best friend's mom had a rule that we were not allowed to talk about Fantasy writing. Because she was worried that my friend would become interested in the occult and 'fall away'. Which happened anyways because by neurotically forbidding the thing Sandra became interested in that thing.
#24I went to a birthday party for Jesus at a friend’s house one Christmas, complete with a cake that said, “Happy Birthday, Jesus!” We watched very religious Christmas movies and went caroling in our pajamas. It was very fun, but I can only imagine what every other Christian holiday was like in their house.
#25We had to go to bed at 6:45 on a Friday :(. It was still light outside and we could see kids playing at the park across the street. Never spent the night again.
Also she killed my sea monkeys and set my pet turtle free in the forest. So f**k that b***h.
#26I always thought my family were the weird ones when I was a kid. In our house, it was always the land of "do as you please". We did our own dishes, laundry, cleaning, maintenance, sewing, medical care, etc. My parents were busy farming or going to grad school so they didn't have time for parenting.
Everyone else's house had bizarre strict rules. No mixing ketchup and mustard! Two feet on the ground at all times! No humming! Plates must be rinsed with tepid water only, hot or cold will kill baby Jesus! Bed making rules that were military. Monitored usage of soap (too little or too much was punished).
These are amalgams of a variety of friends parents. Who the hell has time to be so concerned about such minor things? I've got two kids 11 and 10. As far as I'm concerned, if they're not dead by bedtime, I'm doing pretty good. Just because I like dishes to be put away in a certain manner, isn't a reason to send a kid to bed without supper at 4 O'Clock. My hangups shouldn't be forced upon them.
#27I used to play poker at this dudes house who insisted we sit to p**s, and he can hear the difference.
#285 minutes showers. Seriously, stayed at the house of a family friend when I was going cross country after college and the dad had installed a shower head that had a timer. Once you started it you got 5 minutes of water. New, I’m all about being frugal, but the financial consequences of an extra 5 minutes of water are not extreme.
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#29My Aunt has a rule that we could only take baths, no showers, and no more than two inches of water in the tub. My cousin and I had to bathe together until finally my parents intervened when I was 10 and offered to give them $ so I could enjoy my two inches of water alone. I get being frugal, but geez! I hated staying there.
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#30My friend keeps separate cups in his house for anyone he suspects eats a*s
I have my own cup
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#31Stayed over my best friends house at the time when I was maybe 8 years old? All spinach diet. The family was insanely healthy anyway but literally boiled spinach for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That didn't last longer than 2 weeks thank gosh.
Image credits: anon
#32One time I went to my girlfriend Sharon’s parents place for the first time. She warned me her parents were weird but I shrugged it off...When I got there her parents demanded i stay out on the heated porch for 30 minutes so all the snow on me would melt (this was in Chicago during winter). Then they told me to change my shirt because it was too casual or something ?. I ended up breaking up with my girlfriend (bc she cheated on me with my big bro Erik) so I never had to see her parents again.
Ps: Sharon, go rot in hell. You don’t deserve my brother you freaking jerk!
#33One of my friends has a strict rule of banning the viewing of all Pirates of the Caribbean films when alcohol is being consumed.
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#34I don’t know if this counts because it was only one time, but during Meredith’s dance party of ‘07 if you stopped dancing you had to leave.
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#35It wasn't the rule itself, it was the way he implemented it. Was a friends house playing poker, like 10 of us in the building, and one friend curls his feet underneath him on the couch, still wearing his shoes. 'No shoes on the furniture' is a perfectly acceptable rule, but the way the host explained it was by randomly shouting "SHOES!! SHOES!! SHOES!!" at the guy.
The entire group sat there in shock, as the other 8 of us were not involved at all and had no clue what was happening, and the offender froze, I think more out of shock at the yelling, not comprehending what he was hearing. The yelling went on for like 10 seconds before the guy figured out what was happening and fixed his positioning. The rest of us were "WTF" for a good bit more, and then we began tormenting the host for his weird a*s behavior. "SHOES!! SHOES!! SHOES!!" ended up being a catch phrase for a while, whenever someone was caught doing something dumb.
#36For some reason my one friend’s dog is absolutely traumatized by the iPhone text message ding sound. The dog will run upstairs, hide, and tremble and shake with fear for almost a half hour if someone gets a text. So we all have to put our phones on silent or change the tone sound. Makes me sad how afraid that dog is.
#37Couldn't sleep in the same bed as my SO while we were guests at my cousins place for the weekend because her and I were not married.
SO and I were both 34 and had been living together for about 4 years.
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#38When I was a teenager, I had a boyfriend whose family didn’t allow you to speak to their dog. If you did, they’d lock him in a tiny cage in the kitchen and put a sheet over it because he’d “get too excited.” All he did was sit next to you looking for a pat on the head.
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#39My grandpa has never let anyone say the words “butt” or “bum” or even “tuchus” in his home. They were too crass for his delicate ears. If you absolutely had to refer to the bubbly region on the bottom of your back, you had to call it your “seater” or face the consequences. It made my 6 year old self giggle like an idiot when I overheard my mom talking about cedar wood.
Image credits: anon
#40While sleeping over at one friend's house we HAD to sleep in the living room. When I woke up her whole family was fully dressed and sitting on the sofa, just sitting there, no TV on, basically waiting for us to wake up. It was the weirdest thing and I never slept over ever again. I did not like having her old dad's face watching me when I woke up.
#41This is back when I was in year 8 at school, so I would have been 12 going on 13 - I had a sleepover at a friends house and we wanted to go to the shops to buy some sweets, and the girls mum made me phone my mum to ask for permission to cross the road. My mum was as confused as I was.
#42Friend of mine when I was a kid had a step mom that had plastic runners placed throughout the house and all the furniture covered in clear plastic covers. You had to take your shoes off outside on the porch and could only walk on the plastic runners. You were not allowed to sit on any furniture with a plastic cover on it. Between the front door and my friend's room I didn't see any furniture without covers on it. You couldn't sit down until you got to his room. Strange woman.
#43I stayed with a friend for most of my highschool years. His parents disallowed me from cooking their bacon because they didn't like the way I sealed the remaining uncooked bacon into a large zip lock bag. Also I was specifically not allowed to be upstairs while they weren't home because that's where my friend's sister's room was.
#44My cousin made everyone bring their own dishes and silverware to a party because she didn't want to do dishes/get stuck with the cleanup. When I asked why she didn't just buy disposable plates/utensils, she got mad and said it was a *classy* event.
#45I was in junior high school and our history teacher assigned a project that had to be done in groups and I was assigned to be with a girl who always came off as a little odd. We start talking about the project and she asks me about coming to her house one day to work on it. I tell her that's cool with me and she says, "Before you come over though, you need to know there are rules at my house."
Some of the rules were...NOBODY was allowed to wear black of any kind...her parents required you to show them your ID when you came in...you had to pray with them upon arriving and leaving...and we had to work in the living room so her mother could watch us.
We just ended up doing the work in the library.
#46Wasn't allowed to eat condiments at said friend's house. At all. His mom said the smell of any sauce or dressing made her gag, so that meant everyone is eating dry a*s chicken sandwiches, and s****y bowls of leaves for dinner. Even in car rides when stopping for fast food, they would just order whatever you asked for "dry", and then ask you for your money to cover your now garbage food.
#47When I was younger (8 or 9) I stayed the night at a church friend`s house overnight for the first time. The family was middle class and never had problems with money, but told me to save water and money they showered in pairs. I thought they were joking at first, but later that night I showered (incredibly close) to my good friend. Didn't question it just did what I was told. Not too weird, but I thought i would share.
Image credits: TreyTheBae
#48No interrupting Alex Trebek during dinner.
My family ate around a table and discussed ideas but whenever I had a sleep over at my best friend's house, they just sat in front of the TV and answered trivial facts about people.
That was some weird a*s s**t!
Image credits: laterdude
#49I was staying with a friend and his family for a while in their home. It was a 5 bedroom house and each bed room had a bathroom in it, great, right? Wrong. The only bathroom that was allowed to be used was the bathroom inside of the master bedroom (his mothers bedroom) and she would proceed to get angry and scream any time someone needed to use it. There were 7 people in the home at the time.
She also had benches around the house but they weren't allowed to be sat on. Bench: 1.
a long seat for several people, typically made of wood or stone.
I still hear that woman screaming like she's being Indian burned by 40 full grown men when I think about sitting on a bench.
Image credits: E_r23
#50I suppose it isn't too weird in and of itself but an old friend of mine invited me to her new apartment in order to cook dinner for me. When I showed up she told me that the rule was that whoever doesn't cook has to do the dishes and was that okay?
I said yes though I thought it was a little bit rude. The way I was raised was that as a guest, you must always offer to help with dishes or just jump in and help. But as a host you never *ever* ask. But oh well, my friend was probably raised with slightly different values.
Anyway, I start scrubbing after our meal and then my friend'a two roommates who had both made their own meals threw their dishes in the sink too. I gave the girl roommate a significant look and she responded "Oh, all Sam's guests do dishes in this house. It's our rule."
My friend also had to ask her two roommates for permission to invite friends over. She had to give at least a day's notice and they couldn't be there after ten o'clock.
#51My former friend's mom had a weird sort of unspoken rule.
My friends parents were divorced and she lived with her dad, even though her mother only lived 30 minutes away. Well, my friend wanted a sleepover for her birthday, and her mom's place was much bigger so that's where we went.
She would literally stand guard over us as we ate, and wiped up any and all stray crumbs on the table the moment they dropped. I should mention we were teenagers, and we weren't eating like slobs; it was just normal eating/passing food. It was especially weird because my friends normal residence was a f*****g mess, but here her mother was diving at any errant crumbs. She didn't even eat *with* us, just stood watch with a towel in hand, mildly annoyed. We figured out quick to eat with utmost precision. It was an awkward couple of meals.
#52I was required to have a snack the moment I got to my friend’s house after school. They had a whole drawer that was full of great and unhealthy snacks, so I loved it, but it was weird. This rule is still in effect today (am 20 now) when we’re home from college in the summer and hang out.
#53I know a lot of families do this but I find it really weird. Not being able to leave until you've eaten everything, and having to eat things you don't like.
I remember my uncle trying yo force me to eat salad, and saying I had to eat it all or couldn't leave the table. He threatened to tell my mom. I refused go eat it (No thanks) and my mom was super pissed off. At him. Because if you don't like something you shouldn't be forced to eat it, and if you're full you shouldn't be forced to eat more.
#54My parents had a rule of no stomping up the stairs. My dad would make us walk up and down the stairs ten times if we stomped up the stairs.
When my friends came home to visit from college (yes, COLLEGE), I had to warn them about this rule. My freshman roommate did indeed have to walk up and down the stairs ten times at least once.
I love my dad, but damn that was embarrassing.
#55My aunt would tell us that we were't allowed to use conditioner, only shampoo, when showering at their house because conditioner was bad for the pipes. She would remind us of this every time we would shower.
#56My sister lives with her quite eccentric mother in law. I went to visit for what turned out to be a few months. Her mother in law is a hoarder so we had to walk around the halls of junk dodging everything or else stuff would fall on you. Some of the things we weren't allowed to do was to open windows and wash our blankets in the washer. I don't know why. I asked my sister how her mother in law cleaned her blankets and apparently the lady hadn't washed her blankets in years and just sprayed them with febreze.
#57Not really a weird rule, but mother always says, "When you have a guest at your house, don't let them help you. When you're a guest at someone else's house, help any way you can." Do the math.
#58HAD to have milk with dinner. I told them I didn't want any and they said you need to say "I don't care for any milk" .. They still gave me milk anyway with a bunch of ice cubes in it. They were not allowed to have water with dinner.. Like why?
#59No washing your hands in the kitchen sink but adults were required to wash their hands before dinner.
No outside clothes allowed on/in the bed.
#60One of my relatives house. We weren't allowed to say "shut up".
Also whenever we were on the couch, we always had to sit up straight. Seriously, we couldn't lay, lean, or have our feet come in contact with the cushions even a little.
#61I was watching movies with a friend at her house and she put on the subtitles for me. Part way through the movie her mom came into the room and started yelling about the subtitles and demanded we turn them off. Once we turned them off, she left the room. I still don't understand why she was so mad.
#62They wanted me to keep my shoes on for some reason
#63Visited a friend from a different state whose parents were apparently very wealthy. They had a 2nd living room fully equipped with nice furniture. Couldn’t sit on the couch.
#64I have a friend who annoyed a host by sitting with her feet up on their sofa. She was just sitting tucked up, feet beneath her, and he was upset because her shoeless feet were on his sofa.
#65Had a friend that wouldn't let anyone in the kitchen, and when you was asked to help with something in the kitchen you was not allowed to talk in there or anything. Was very odd.
#66Bring your own linens (sheets, pillowcase, towels, etc.). Just a friends house, not a rental or anything.
#67They don't use napkins. Ever. The worst part of that rule was that they served corn-on-the-cob (without corn holders) and ribs for dinner one night.
#68I went to dinner at my friend's house. As we were sitting at the table, she and her whole family sang a song before we ate. It was like praying before the meal, but in song form. I just sat there awkwardly.
#69My friends mom was an absolute nut case. The living room that had the street facing window next to the front door was caller the forbidden room. It had furniture and everything and no one could step foot in it. The first couple times I was playing with the kids that lived there she wouldn't let me get a cup of water in blistering heat. Suggested i drink from the hose.
#70I have to go to church in the morning if I stay over
#71One that always seemed odd to me was : Not beverages during dinner except water. You might say this is sensible because it's healthier not to drink sodas etc, and I would agree, but they would drink large amounts of cokes/sodas any time else, just not during dinner.
Also I totally understood why they wanted me to take my shoes off, but not why they would have such a dirty floor then, walking there with my shoes would have probably cleaned the floor more than make it dirty ..
#72A friend invited me and my family for dinner. She had towel on the chairs in case my kids (ages 5 and 8) would drop food. The thing is she had towels on the adult’s chairs too...
#73Make your bed "first thing" upon waking up.
Breakfast would not happen until the guest room was "neat and tidy" (*their* words).
#74My bf's mother thinks hoodies are the same as coats and they're not allowed to be worn inside.
#75"Don't touch my dad's D&D books."
When I was younger, I thought that was weird. But really, the reason why was because they were falling apart and his dad was worried we would ruin them further.