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Door Etiquette

Posted by Carl Schutte on February 16, 2009

This blog entry was brought to you by C-Dawg

Look, I’ll be the first to admit that social norms confuse the heck out of me. I think society has dreamt up a lot of weird behaviours for everyday situations. Nevertheless, to avoid being ostracised we need to conform. Today’s topic is that of doors and doorways…

I’ve noticed that people, especially men, get completely confused when they’re near door. Men get confused when there’s a woman in close proximity. Now I’m all for chivalry, but use your discretion. This often happens in an elevator packed like a sardine tin. There will be 1 woman at the back of the elevator, but the guys standing in front of the door won’t step out, because they have to let the lady go first. In this situation I’d have to disagree. If there’s no space for anybody to move sideways, then do us all a favour and get out of the elevator, rather than trying to do some ridiculous reshuffle, so that the 1 woman at the back can walk out first. Ladies, I’m sure you would agree with me that practicality is the overriding principle here.

OK, onto my next point – holding doors for others. Firstly you get the guy who will hold the door for you when you’re like a good 50m away. Then he’s standing there like an idiot holding the door for you, so you feel obliged to pick up your pace to set him at ease. It’s just a absurd situation, “It’s fine, just close the door, I’ll open it for myself. I don’t want to be all hot & bothered from running to get to you a few seconds sooner.”

The flip-side of this is of course the guy who calls out to you to hold the door for him. This idiot is on the other end of the parking lot, still fumbling with his keys, but you have to hold the door for him. Then he realises that he left a sandwich in the car, so he buggers around for a bit more. Eventually you’re standing there for nearly an eternity while this dumb-ass re-organises his life. You know what, you can open your own damn door – it won’t kill you. In fact, you could probably do with burning off a few extra calories. What’s on that sandwich anyways? Double mayo?

Finally, we have the situation where you walk through multiple doorways in fairly quick succession. We have this situation at work. One door to get out of the office, then two doors to get into the bathroom. So that’s three doors you need to pass through. So, you and co-worker Jim somehow (unintentionally) synchronise your toilet schedules – as scary as that sounds… Jim holds door one for you… “Thanks Jim”. He hold door two for you… “Oh, thanks J-Man”. He proceeds to hold the third door for you… cue forced chuckle, “Shotto Jimbo!”

Now quite frankly, I can’t be bothered with all this redundant thanking. I’m going to thank you the first time, maybe give you head nod on the second, but you ain’t getting squat on the third! Of course, Jim will get annoyed with you for not thanking him. He’s expecting a Purple Heart or something for holding the door for a co-worker. Jim, get over yourself – you’re not saving baby kittens from burning trees! I solve this problem by overtaking him. Then it becomes a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” kind of thing. So, Jim gets the first door, I overtake him in the passage, I get the second door, then we fight over the third. The important thing is that it’s a lot more free & fair than one person taking full responsibility for all three doors.

Well, today we’ve learned that etiquette should be practiced with discretion – always let the principles of practicality ultimately govern your actions.

C-Dawg going radio silent…


3 Responses to “Door Etiquette”

  1. craig said

    This is fascinating. Awesome post !!

    I have even finetuned my own personal invisible-measuring-device, which helps me determine whether I should hold on for that person rushing down the hall way, or just give them the “humrf, I ant your bitch” look and just lus it..

    Whats next huh? The awkward 4 way stop?
    “you go” *waves hand* “no you go”…*flashes brights*.. “no you go”…*smiles* “no, I insist, you go”…

  2. C-Dawg said

    You’re like a muse Craig; I suddenly feel a whole string of social etiquette posts bubbling under The Lank Tank’s surface…

  3. Luwie said


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