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Door Relationships

Published on August 18, 2005 by in random

What is the range of distance for which you need to hold a door open for the person behind you?

There is a distance at which you would be an ass not to hold it, perhaps even injure someone by closing it in his/her face. And there is a distance that is so far that you would put undue pressure on someone to speed up as not to make you wait and/or look a little odd to be so determined to hold the door for them.

In between those two extremes is quite a lot of ground in which it is not clear what you should do.

There is a related complexity to traveling through a sequence of doors and deciding whether person one should:

  1. Hold the first door and let person two continue through to be the holder for the next door, or
  2. Pass through, hold but hand-off the door to person two, and continue on to hold the next door

Finally, there is the question of “Thank You” etiquette – one per door, one at the beginning that covers the rest, or one at the end that wraps up the transaction.

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One Response

  1. Jim

    I submit that are others dimension that come into play. Location and Situation, for example.

    There are locations where it’s simply not appropriate, or even expected, to hold doors for others. These locations are easily identified by the unwillingness of most recipients to acknowledge your etiquette with even a grunt. These locations are mostly in the Northeast, such as Boston or New York.

    Others are more situational, such as an office building in a metropolitan center where, for example, many young and upwardly mobile women are employed. I was a regular door-holder for both men and women alike until the urge to be polite was beaten out of me by women who looked at me as though my holding the door for them was an unwanted sexual proposition.

    Bottom line, it’s almost always a judgement call that requires a bit of etiquette, fuzzy logic, and intuition. Of course, you could always play the part of the detatched, absent-minded professor and pretend not to see anyone behind you at all.