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Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to hold the door open for others, everyday etiquette

by Ross MacDonald
I've often been at the gym when someone tried to hold the door open for me before they walked through it, semi-blocking the path.  It just happened today at the bank where someone was standing in the path of the door rather than actually stepping aside with it.  In order to walk through the door, I would have to push the door myself to keep it from closing.  Since this is one of those things that isn't really taught anymore, it's leading to quite a few awkward moments at the door because of the ways the door swings. 

TIP:  Generally speaking when holding the door,  you open the door and walk with the door where it swings and stand with the door holding it open until people pass through.   It doesn't matter which way the door swings.  Sometimes you will walk through the door first depending on which way it swings.  Do NOT stand in the path of the door.

More tips...

TIP:  It's OK to go through an outward opening door first and step back with the door then hold it  for the person to walk through the door standing close to the door still holding it open so that the person realizes that they will not have to hold it also.

I've also, quite often, approached the outward swinging door from outside and then opened it myself since I'm never sure if I should wait.  The person behind me then pulls the door open wider and holds the door open for the person behind them as they pass through the door.  Each person then holds the door slightly for themselves.  This is acceptable in instances where numberous people approach a door togeher en masse.

TIP:  If you intend to open the door for another person or for a group, get to the door first, open it toward you by stepping back with the door and hold it by standing next to the open door for all to pass through it and then go through last.

TIP:  If two people reach the door on opposite side of the door at the same time, the person on the outside of the door should hold it for the person going out by stepping back with the door.  Otherwise a traffic jam ensues.

It's really impressive when someone figures this out and understand the traffic flow mechanics that make it work.  Hope I've helped someone.  If I were truly savvy, I would make a video.

I pay attention closely to how a man treats me at the door.  If he pushes through the door first without holding it for me properly with a funny look on his face, I know it's some kind of disrespect intended to see how far they can push with being impolite.  I've seen it.  I don't know why someone would go out with someone and just be rude, but there are men who think they are running game and that being rude puts a woman in her place.  I put them in THEIR place by not going out with them again.

I think this is why some buildings leave opening the door to professional union doormen.  Please pass this article to your friends.  Even an Eily Post Etiquette article on the matter is difficult to locate.  Thank you!

The CORRECT way to hold the door open when two people are going the same way.

This is an almost.  The man looks as if he's still walking and the next person reaches for the door because he looks like he's going to let it go.  AWKWARD and RUDE no matter what your gender!  If he were standing closer to the door and looking for the next person to pass through, she might not feel like she had to then hold the door also.  If you are going to hold the door, really hold it.  This isn't truly holding the door properly no matter what your gender.
 Someone else weighs in on the same issue and concludes that reason should prevail.

And the Denver Post weighed in saying that the person who reaches the door first holds it for those after, but doesn't say how.

This even mentions that men used to open both doors in a double door situation.

Even the Chicago Tribune thought door etiquette was important enough to write about.

And here's a well-written blog on Doors & Doorways.

And here's one last one.  Manners for Men

Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment!


ProudMom said...

Thank you for posting this article. Just yesterday my son and I were discussing how to handle some of these awkward moments at the door. He's 12 and I must say it's a pleasure seeing how impressed people are that he has held the door for them. Makes me proud.

SavvyD said...

I'm so glad to hear. It's a huge source of awkwardness. I've tried to explain it to people in person and it doesn't work very well!