10 Weird Elevator Etiquette Rules


Save a Life, Step Out

If you're at the front of an elevator, step out to let the people at the back exit. © Chuck Savage/Corbis
If you're at the front of an elevator, step out to let the people at the back exit. © Chuck Savage/Corbis

An overpacked elevator can be a scary place, especially if you're squeezed against the back wall of the car. Claustrophobia aside, there's the issue of successfully exiting the elevator when it gets to your floor. If your fellow passengers are ignorant of basic elevator etiquette, you might have to fight your way out with a mix of elbow jabs and clench-toothed exclamations of "Excuse me!"

Here's the rule. The two people standing closest to the door of the elevator should step out of the car at each requested stop and hold the doors open with one hand so passengers can exit without resorting to trampling.

Maralee McKee, the Manners Mentor, has another tip for extricating yourself from the back of a crowded elevator. When the car is approaching your destination, announce in a calm, friendly voice, "My floor is next" [source: McKee]. Most decent people will make room for you leave. For the rest, say hello to Mr. Elbow!

Author's Note: 10 Weird Elevator Etiquette Rules

If you couldn't tell from my gushing description of rule No. 3, I love being the Button Master. If I board an elevator and no one else has claimed the post, I'm all over it. I take a disproportionate amount of civic pride in easing the journeys of my fellow passengers. It's one of those small courtesies, like holding open a door or stopping your car to let a pedestrian cross a busy roadway, that constitute the glue that holds society together. So before you mock my Button Master pride, think if you'd like to live in a world where every passenger has to press their own elevator button, like an animal. Not me, man. I'd rather take the stairs.

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  • Driver, Janine. "The unwritten rules of elevator etiquette." Today. Aug. 18, 2007. (July 11, 2014) http://www.today.com/id/20335786/ns/today-today_health/t/unwritten-rules-elevator-etiquette/#.U774rY1dWK5
  • Inglis-Arkell, Esther. "Proxemics is the Science of Why You Shouldn't Stand So Close to Me." io9. June 10, 2014. (July 11, 2014) http://io9.com/proxemics-explains-how-close-you-can-stand-to-other-peo-1588551052
  • McKee, Maralee. "Going Up? The Top Seven Tips for Savvy Elevator Riders." Manners Mentor. July 7, 2014 (July 11, 2014) http://www.mannersmentor.com/only-at-work/elevator-etiquette-the-dos-and-donts-of-riding-with-others-you-want-to-know
  • NPR. "Why We Behave so Oddly in Elevators." Talk of the Nation. Dec. 24, 2012. (July 15, 2014). http://www.npr.org/2012/12/24/167977420/why-we-behave-so-oddly-in-elevators


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