DEAR HARRIETTE: My girlfriend invited me to meet her parents; I was nervous, but still went over for dinner. I brought her mom some flowers and planned to be on my best behavior. When we arrived, what happened was definitely unexpected: Her mom told me I had to take off my shoes. She doesn’t let people wear shoes in the house. Don’t you think my girlfriend should have told me that? This is so weird. I took them off, but I felt so self-conscious. I was dressed nice and all, but I was worried that my socks smelled -- I had worn them a couple of times. Plus, I just didn’t feel comfortable without shoes. It was nice to meet them, but I felt so uncomfortable. How can I feel better when I go back there? -- Off My Game
DEAR OFF MY GAME: Tell your girlfriend you need to talk. Let her know how uncomfortable you were arriving at her parents’ home and being told to remove your shoes. Ask her why she didn’t give you a heads-up about her parents’ rules. Make it clear that you need the two of you to be on the same page, and that must include sharing details about how you grew up and any idiosyncrasies there may be. As long as the two of you stay close and supportive of each other, such odd moments shouldn’t throw you too much.
FYI: Many people require guests to take off their shoes when they enter their homes, so it is wise to wear clean socks from now on!