Houseguests Share The Strange ‘House Rules’ They’ve Seen In Another Person’s House
We need rules to create a sense of structure and order. Otherwise, anarchy may ensue. Rules are put in place to foster an environment of civility. They separate us from the animals. The biggest purpose of rules is to create spaces for us to live together while still enforcing an expectation of comfort for ourselves. Take your home, for instance. You have rules you expect your guests to abide by for their own good, as well as your own.
When you’re a guest in another person’s home, following their rules is a sign of respect. Most rules have a logical reason for being put into place. They were created to prevent unnecessary damage or accidents from occurring. “Take your shoes off before entering the house” or “put your own dishes in the dishwasher” are a few common household rules most families adopt.
But some rules are a little eccentric and make absolutely no sense. Hundreds of people came to share some of the most asinine rules they have encountered throughout their lifetimes. Check some of these cockamamy house rules to see just how normal you never realized your family is.
#35 Is Today Bath Day?
My mother-in-law has some major issues. One bath a week. If you had more than that you got screamed at. The brothers would end up showering at a friend’s house. I had to basically train my husband out of that one.
#34 Certification Needed For Power Outlets
I had a friend growing up who wasn’t allowed to plug anything in so basically anyone under 16 wasn’t allowed to touch plugs at her house. I think we were 10 and I was definitely allowed to plug and unplug things at my own home, so this was really baffling to me.
#33 Don’t Get Greedy With Your Waffle Toppings
I was at the neighbor’s house for breakfast. They put powdered sugar and syrup on the table for waffles. I thought, “Oh yeah! I only get syrup at my house,” and douse the waffles with powdered sugar. I pick up the syrup.
“We only use one or the other at this house,” the mom says. I ate dry and tasteless powder sugar covered waffles that day.
#32 We Technically Don’t Accept ‘House’ Guests
Whenever I went over to a friend’s house, I was never actually allowed inside. Instead, we always hung out in a trailer that was parked right outside of his place and if we needed to use a bathroom the mother forced us to go in a bucket.
#31 Dexter Would Be Proud
My friend’s mother had some borderline obsessive rules. No walking on the carpets. You must remain on the strips of clear plastic carpet protectors instead, which were arranged to create walkways around the house. Guests must wear slippers, there were spares if you didn’t bring your own. The leather sofas must remain completely covered in sheets to protect them. Even the dog was expected to follow these carpet protector paths and was constantly being told off for stepping off them.
I understand wanting to keep your carpets and furniture nice but this was crazy. You couldn’t even see them under all this ugly protective stuff. Plus, I nearly fell down the stairs wearing oversized slippers and tripping on this protective plastic mat that was draped down the staircase. I was also constantly getting in trouble for not following the correct route around the room and instead of walking straight to where I wanted to be. She would literally check for footprints on the carpet.
#30 Some People Don’t Even Have A Closet To Sleep In
I had a landlord rent me a room. I paid first and last month’s rent. While moving in he told me the room he showed me wasn’t available. He showed me a converted CLOSET. Literally a 12′ x 4′ space. He knew I was stuck. His rules? No kitchen usage. No BATHROOM usage. No strong smells (he complained about my roll-on deodorant being way too strong. No one else even notices). I had to be out by 6 am, couldn’t return until 10 pm. For $600 a month.
None of this was disclosed or remotely reasonable. We had a very heated argument when he told me all this, but at the time I had no choice. I stayed there for two months. He constantly made threatening comments to me, refused me access to the house at random intervals, and I caught his friends stealing from me twice. He said, “lawyer up.” I did. I won.
#29 Locking Kids Inside Isn’t A Fire Hazard Or Anything
I babysat for a family that locked us in the house. I called my dad and he said if I felt trapped I could throw a chair through a window and he’d cover it no questions asked. Never babysat for them again.
#28 ‘Put On Hazmat Suit Before Entering’
My friend’s mom was a huge germaphobe. So, she kept bottles of hand sanitizer and a stack of napkins by the door, and you had to use them before entering the house. If you didn’t, she’d close the door in your face. Also, she required anyone who wanted to pet her dog or cat, you had to brush them before and after to help “diminish any harmful human toxins.”
#27 Designated Cereal Milk
I was probably 10 or 11 when I stayed all night with a new friend for the first time. Her family seemed normal and we had fun. Got up the next morning and they’re all in the kitchen at the table eating cereal together. So wholesome.
Her mom gets up, prepares a bowl for me. Super nice of her. I eat it and then try to be nice in return and pour my leftover milk down the sink. Mom stops me and hands me a partially full gallon jug, “no need to waste! Pour it into the cereal milk jug.” I vividly recall how nauseated I was when I realized the milk I had just consumed was recycled. Never went back.
#26 Water Is So Filling
My friend’s mom wouldn’t let you have a drink at the dinner table because she didn’t want you to fill up on water and not finish your food. It didn’t matter what it was or if you choked, no liquid until after dinner. She would also make you eat everything or she would save it for you to finish later or just wouldn’t let you leave the table until you were done.
#25 Once You’re Clean, You’re Always Gonna Be Clean
My friend’s family all shared a towel after showering. Like, one towel for everyone, for one or two days. When I visited I asked where the towels were so I could shower after the pool they looked at me like I had two heads. Explained the towel sharing situation, because “you’re clean when you dry off so it’s still clean!”
#24 Saving A Life Is A Messy Affair
I’m a medic, so we go into people’s homes every day. We had a cardiac arrest, so we were working on a man, and the wife was having a fit about the mess we were making. Yes, there was some garbage from the pads, needles, meds, but we put all of it into our jump bag. She was screaming at us about it. I told her that her husband was very sick and we were doing everything we could to help. She said she didn’t care as long as we didn’t make a mess.
#23 A Method To The Meal Madness
My grandparents had a very specific order that food should be eaten. We’re a big English family and tea would be served at 5 pm or so, after lunch at 1 pm. Plates and dishes would be placed on the dining room table all at once, but, could only be consumed in the correct order. Sandwiches first, then sausage rolls/assorted savories, then sweet foods.
#22 Keeping Bedtimes Even Is Only Fair
Had a friend that had to go to bed at 7 pm every night, because that was the bedtime for his younger siblings. He was 14. His mom would flip out if he tried to stay awake any longer.
#21 Game Show Night Is Not A Game
I was yelled at for quickly blurting out the question to a $200 Jeopardy answer. Apparently, they played the game quietly individually tallying scores. No problem, I was handed a pen and paper and I played their game. I think I am doing pretty well after Jeopardy and Double Jeopardy. Eyeing everyone else, I wanted to impress them with my vast knowledge and high score. I wager all of my money in Final Jeopardy because it’s a category I am good in. Back from commercial, soon as Trebek finished the answer they all yell out what they thought was a question. Apparently, it’s only the first person to yell out the correct question in Final Jeopardy that his/her wager counts.
#20 God Must Have Relaxed The Rules a Little
I was in a foster home from ages 5 to 7. They were religious and the rules were as follows: women couldn’t cut their hair, wear short sleeves after 5 years of age, could only wear dresses and nightgowns (even when swimming on vacation), and nobody could enter the home if wearing shorts. Pants were fine. The upside was the whole family ate dinner together every night and there was always dessert. As a kid coming from a home where food was not aplenty, I thought it was wonderful. I’ve stayed in touch over the years and went to the mom’s 80th birthday party last summer. Lots of people were there in shorts, so the rules have obviously been relaxed over the years. One daughter even had hair a little below her shoulders, so that rule isn’t enforced, either.
#19 Grossing Out The Guests
Stayed with a neighbor during a family emergency, estranged grandparent was deathly ill far away and parents had to make some arrangements for child care.
The neighbor had 5 kids. The dad had a “one tub of water for the family” rule. This was in a bathtub with a shower and when a normal water bill for a large family would be under $40 a month so I still don’t get why. Dad would bathe, then mom, then oldest to youngest. Guests last. The water was cold, dark with muck and had a greasy film of skin cells on it by my turn. I was 6 or 7 and tried to refuse but they shouted at me and I gave in. I gagged the whole time.
#18 Leave Dad Along During His Saxy Time
Went to a friend’s house. The dad came home and started practicing the saxophone in the front room. When I asked a question, my friend told me to shut up, and that nobody is allowed to make any noise while his dad practiced saxophone. Just as this short conversation was exchanged his dad burst through the door and told us all to shut up because whispering really put him off his saxophone playing. His son/my friend started to cry. His dad played for 3 more hours. We just sat in silence because this was before mobile phones and I couldn’t get collected until later that afternoon. I was asked not to tell anyone else at school, but enough people had been and experienced what I had experienced so everyone knew not to disturb this kid’s dad when he’s playing his saxophone.
When I was probably 7 or so, there was a kid down the block. I think he lived with his grandparents who were weirdly strict with water. No using the hose to play in (during a time of sprinklers and water balloons to beat summer heat) and I think I remember him saying he’d have to pay $1 for a cup of water.
#16 Lyrics Are Overrated
My dad had a strict rule: no music with words.
#15 Reading With Natural Light Is Bad For The Eyes
My cousin’s house when I was a kid. There was a “no reading during the day” rule. I was a bookish kid terrified of my mad uncle so I just went along with it.
#14 It Takes Maturity To Sit On Furniture
My step-grandmother does not let anyone under 16 (what she considers children) sit on her furniture, they have to sit on the floor. It should be noted that this rule didn’t apply to her biological grandchildren.
#13 4 Out Of 5 Dentists Are Against Beverages
I had a good friend whose family didn’t drink anything while eating meals. They were convinced drinking something right after chewing food would crack their teeth. So I’d always be the only one with a beverage at dinner.
#12 Knock It Off!
Anytime I was over at their house and we would go outside and play, I would have to knock on the door each time to come back in, even if I had been there for a while or if I had just walked in with their kid. Their mother kept tabs on exactly how much I ate or drank while I was there and expected me to work for whatever they had given me.
I had accidentally left something by the door and I realized after I got a few steps away from their porch so I just opened the door and reached in to grab it. Her mother grabbed my arm and jerked me back into the house and screamed how I was a guest at their house and that I was to always knock before entering and how I was a rude child. She didn’t care that I was just there and what I grabbed was mine. I had known this woman my entire life. We lived in the same neighborhood, she knew all of my extended family and treated me like I was some stranger.
#11 The Old Duct Tape On The Carpet Routine
I once had a sleepover party at a girl’s house in elementary, they had random pieces of duct tape on the floor in the hallway, and if I remember correctly we had to jump/step over them because that’s where knives were dropped, kind of like a superstition. Except I didn’t get it and it still makes no sense to me to this day.
#10 Toilet Pancakes Are An American Tradition
I grew up in Mexico. My school had a lot of exchange programs abroad, so in 9th grade, I went to Boston. I stayed with a guy from the high school and his dad. Pretty weird family. But the strangest thing was that his father told me that I could not flush pancakes in the toilet. He literally meant pancakes. It was not a euphemism, because I asked his son about it and he said: “Yeah, there was an incident once.”
#9 Mom Is Wondering Why He Never Visits Anymore
My parents, for what it’s worth, made me go to bed at 7 pm every night from the age of 4 until the age of 16 because I had to share a room with my kid brother. To this day I also have to go to bed at 10 pm when I visit them because I have to walk through their bedroom to get to mine (it’s an old house).
#8 Just Don’t Do Anything At Auntie’s House
You are never to touch the dining table with your hands or arms, however slightly or briefly. You are to sit straight up on furniture. You will never put your feet up, sit sideways, or lay down. You will absolutely never nap on the couch. You may sleep in your bedroom at night, and that is it. I don’t like visiting my aunt’s house very much.
#7 The People Whisperer
My girlfriend’s father considered loud talking (what the rest of us considered normal volume talking) to be “trashy.”
#6 A Quiet Place
I had a friend whose family was like this too. Everyone always had to be as quiet as possible all the time. We’d watch TV and always put the TV on mute during commercials, which actually wasn’t so bad, but then I’d try to strike up a conversation to fill the silence and was shushed. Sometimes we’d listen to music in the basement and his sister would come running down from 2 floors up demanding that we turn it down. It was like the whole family was living in that movie with John Krasinski about being silent all the time or they’d get eaten by monsters.
#5 Big Mother Is Watching
Kid’s parents had surveillance cameras in every room, including their kids’ bedrooms. Anytime we were in a room without a parent, the surveillance camera had to be on. There were many times I’d walk into the kitchen after being in the game room or my friend’s bedroom and see the TV on streaming surveillance from the room I was just in (it even streamed sound!). A friend of mine got kicked out of the house because he jokingly put a napkin over one of the cameras. There were also times where if one of us said something the parents didn’t like while the cameras were on (they never told us when they were turned on either) a parent would burst into the room and yell at us for saying something they didn’t like.
#4 Fictional Characters Are People Too
While we were watching a movie, we weren’t allowed to laugh at a character’s misfortune even if it was clearly a comical joke in the movie.
#3 Unknowingly Inventing ‘Munchies’
I landed a summer babysitting job when I was 15 or 16, and got yelled at because I took Cheetos, Doritos, and Pretzels and put them all in the same bowl. They were snack-sized bags, and I’d eaten the whole bowl full, but there must’ve been “crumb evidence” for Sherlock Mom. She said, “We don’t mix our food in this house.” And then she fired me soon after because she said she wasn’t comfortable with me doing stuff like that around her kids.
#2 Doors Are For Decoration
My dad married a really crazy woman for a couple of years who was an obsessive neat freak. We had three doors in our house. You could come into the foyer through the front door, into the kitchen through the garage, and into the living room through the sunroom door from the backyard. First, I was told not to come in through the backyard because I could track mud inside. Fairly normal. Then I was asked not to use the front door because it was “decorative” and she didn’t want anyone seeing us use it. Weird, but fine. THEN I was told that she didn’t want anyone to be in the kitchen because it was “her space.” So at this point, every time I entered the house I would have to break some rule for some reason. And nope, she did not make exceptions for being in the kitchen right after I got home. My dad divorced her about 2 weeks after that one.
#1 ‘Boring’ Is So Boring
When I was in second grade, I went over to my friend’s house after school, and while her dad made us snacks he asked what we were learning in class. I said we were learning to write our names but because I already knew how to write mine I thought it was a little boring. He bellowed at me, “WE DO NOT SAY THE WORD ‘BORING’ IN THIS HOUSEHOLD!”