Going Up? Elevator Manners

A little manners can make awkward elevator rides a thing of the past.

Trent Armstrong
4-minute read
Episode #43

Fact: Elevators are fun. As a kid, you want to push the buttons -- wait -- "We're going up now; it's time to jump!!"  Who didn't love elevators? But, through all the fun as a child, no one remembered to tell us how to act on an elevator as an adult. Now you're all grown up and elevator rides have turned into a few awkward moments of silence with strangers during which no one really knows how to act. Plus, you can't exactly jump on the elevators anymore without everyone questioning your level of sanity. In a moment, I'll talk about a few pointers that might keep you focused long enough to help ease the awkwardness of riding in an elevator, especially in a professional environment.

Start Your Engines

Let's look at elevator manners from the beginning...of the elevator ride, that is. When getting on an elevator, the "ding" announcing the arrival of the elevator is not the signal to start a race in which the first one on is the winner.  Instead, relax and take a step out of the way as the doors open. That way you can make sure not clobber anyone who might be getting off.  It's really about logistics, it's much easier for the passengers to unload first before everyone loads up for the next ride. Once the elevator is clear, take a look around and see if anyone is approaching the elevator from behind you. If there is someone within a reasonable distance, the polite thing to do is hold the elevator door until they can get on. 

There are probably many arguments as to how long you should hold the door, but for this argument's sake we will use the five-second rule. If someone can get to the elevator within five seconds of you entering, go ahead and hold the door for them. Even if you are already late for that cursed early morning meeting and your boss is a stickler for being on time, he or she is going to be no more upset with you than if you had shown up a whole five seconds earlier to the meeting. If there are several people waiting to get on the elevator, it is always polite to hold the door open to allow any women and children to enter the elevator first. Also, if someone insists they'll get the next elevator, trying to argue them onto your elevator just wastes everyone else's time. You should just let it go.