Elevator Etiquette 101

16 Oct

I know that everyone probably has an elevator story. How could you not? Riding in an elevator with strangers is an awkward thing. While I have certainly seen strange things and heard weird conversations in elevators, today the oddest thing happened to me. I walked into the lobby of my building, pressed the button for my floor and when the doors opened I stepped in. Behind me a middle-aged man stepped in. So far nothing too unusual. So as the elevator starts climbing I am in the middle of thinking about my breakfast, which I was going to eat immediately when I got to work, when the man looks at me and says, “You know, the man is always supposed to get into the elevator first.” Because I wasn’t sure if I heard him correctly I cocked my head to the side and said, “What?” He looked me straight in the eye (serious as ever) and said, “The man is always supposed to get into the elevator first to make sure its working.” I looked at the guy and tried to force a smile on my face and nod. I guess the theory kind of makes sense, but isn’t it safe to assume that the elevator is working when the door opens? What could he possibly ensure by stepping in it before me? Needless to say, I thought the fact that he said this to me was really odd.

First of all, I have always been under the impression (especially living down in the South) that women are the first on the elevator and the men hold to the door for them. Women are also always the first off the elevator too. It’s just the way it works, at least where I am living. I always judge the manors of a man by whether or not he lets me on or off the elevator first. Second, why on earth did that man feel the need to tell me this? It wasn’t as if we knew each other or had even seen each other before. Was he upset that I got on the elevator first? Was he trying to teach me some sort of lesson? Or is just plain crazy and thinks that what he said was normal?

I may be overreacting, but having to stand there with this man who said that he should have been allowed on the elevator first made me feel a little uncomfortable.

Anyways, my experience today reminded me just how awkward elevator rides can be. So, for those of you who think men should be on the elevator first, here are some elevator etiquette tips (because you probably need them):

  • ALWAYS let women on and off the elevator first. While I say always, there are obviously situations in which this doesn’t necessarily apply. For example, when you were the first one there and a herd of women comes up behind you it is probably ok for you to enter first. But in my opinion, if I were a man, I would let the herd of women go before me. But that’s just me.
  • NEVER step onto a crowded elevator, wait for another one. I hate when that one person steps onto the elevator and makes everyone inch that much closer to one another. Why can’t they just wait? Are they really in that big of a hurry?
  • ALWAYS face the elevator doors. It is really strange when someone steps into the elevator and faces the people standing behind him/her. I am never quite sure why people do this. Why not just face front like everyone else? I don’t care if you know someone in the elevator, no one wants you staring at them the whole way down.
  • DON’T talk on your cell phone in the elevator. At most you will be on the elevator for a few minutes, I think the phone call can wait.
  • GREETINGS are ok if they are short and sweet. Don’t go into too much detail and ask everyone in the elevator what they did that weekend or for their political point of view.
  • DON’T take the elevator to go up just one floor. I cannot tell you how much I despise those people who get on the elevator just to go to the 2nd floor. I, on the other hand, have to go up to the 18th floor and get frustrated when people are too lazy to take the stairs. Maybe that’s why most of America is fat today – they are too busy riding elevators.
  • DON’T fart or burp or do anything else that will leave a lingering smell. No one wants to get trapped with your stink.

Have you ever encountered something strange on an elevator? Would you add any additional elevator etiquette rules to my list?

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