10 Weird Elevator Etiquette Rules

Door Holding — What Would Gandhi Do?
If the elevator is already full, don’t try to squeeze on. Be polite and wait for the next one. Keith Brofsky/Stockbyte/Thinkstock

Ignore for a moment the hotly debated issue of whether the "door close" button even works. We'll leave that to the experts. Our question is simple: Do you or do you not hold the door for a late-arriving passenger?

First there's the "do unto others" and "karma" camp, who argue that you should hold the door open under all circumstances. Compassion and simple decency, they say, should override any complaints about wasted time. Then there are the hardliners who argue that no door should be held open under any circumstance, letting the wheels (or in this case, the doors) of fate decide.

Here's my own improvised policy — three different rules for three distinct situations:

  • If you are alone in the elevator, you should always hold the door.
  • If there are a few other people in the elevator, but you are the designated "button pusher," use your discretion. (Did the person see your face? Do they seem desperate? Is it your boss?)
  • If the elevator is very full, let the doors close, but make a lame, shrugging "Sorry!" face.