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Elevator Etiquette 101

Updated on May 2, 2012
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Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

Elevator Basics

Just about everyone uses elevators; some of us more than others. For those of us that live in a high rise apartment building towards the top, we probably use elevators more than the average person. If one also works in a high rise office building, the elevator use pretty much doubles. Due to some rather rude elevator behavior I've witness lately, it has become more and more evident to me that some people may need a little bit of help figuring out how to ride elevators. Well, once again, I've decided to help folks out!

Let's Not Get Too Anxious

Scenario: You've been waiting forever to get on the elevator. OK, maybe you've really only been waiting 30 seconds, but wow, that just seems like forever. I understand you might get really excited when the elevator arrives, but stay calm. First, let's wait for the door to open. After the door opens, PAUSE, and look in the elevator. Is there someone in there? If the answer is "yes" then you need to wait for that person to get off the elevator.

You see, when you rush to jump on the elevator you block the person already on the elevator from getting off. This delays things and we don't like delays, right? Sometimes the person on the elevator gets caught in the door. This is awkward and dangerous. Just staying calm; pausing before getting on the elevator can prevent so many problems.

Big Decisions: To Get On or Off the Elevator

Scenario: You get on the elevator. Then you notice Susan who lives down the hall getting her mail. A major decision must be made. You are thinking, "Do I stay on the elevator and go upstairs? Do I get off the elevator to talk to Susan?" Decisions, decisions.

Here is what you don't do: don't stand midway with one foot in the hallway and one foot on the elevator. If there is someone else on the elevator with you, you are being so rude right now. If there is no one on the elevator, you are still kind of annoying. If elevators had feelings, the elevator would probably be angry. The most important thing to remember is how dangerous this stunt can be. You see, the elevator door needs to shut. When the door does not shut, it makes a terrible beeping sound. No one likes the beeping sound. Some elevators don't even do that; the doors might just close on you. Get on or off, but you can't have it both ways.

Be a Pal - Hold the Door Please!

Scenario: You are getting on the elevator and you hear someone shout, "Hold the elevator!" You know what nice people do? They hold the elevator for that person. Especially if the person yelling has an armful of groceries. It is just the right way to treat people.

There are exceptions to this rule:

  • The person yelling stops and starts talking to someone else. Sorry, pal. You just lost the elevator.
  • The person who needs the elevator isn't quite assertive enough. If you don't say it loud enough, no one hears you.
  • The person heading to the elevator is really far away. That is just silly. Another elevator will be available before they make it to that one. In my opinion, just leave them. Some will say I am being a little harsh.  I guess in that situation, just use your best judgment.

Standing by the Buttons - You're in Control

Scenario: You get in the elevator first and you are so enthusiastic you start pushing buttons. Guess what? You are now the designated elevator driver. Ask everyone where they are going. It is just polite. If you are the shy type, that is cool. Just push the button for your floor and take a couple of steps back. Please keep in mind, if you are not going to push the buttons for everyone else, you need to move if there is room. It is just weird for everyone to lean over you and push buttons. It makes you seem a little self-centered and you certainly don't want that.

Unacceptable Elevator Activities

  • Pushing all the buttons. Are you ten years old? No. Then stop that. If the answer is yes, you are really 10 years old, well I suppose it is OK. I might curse you under my breath, but I guess you're cool.
  • Talking on your cell phone in an extremely loud voice. I don't want to hear your drama. But I do want to know the name of your cell phone provider. How are you getting a signal?
  • Public displays of affection. You are still in public. Chances are, there is even a video camera. At least you gave the security guard a little something to watch.
  • Don't start eating food on the elevator. You are almost at your destination. Just hold off a little while longer. If you don't have enough to share with everyone, keep those delicious smelling fries in the bag.
  • Stop staring at other people or staring in the corner. If you are facing the corner, that is just too scary. However, that is certainly one way to get rid of an elevator full of people.

Now You're Ready to Use the Elevator!

Thanks for reading my hub! I hope you got a laugh or two out of it. Perhaps you can pass this on to others who may doubt their own knowledge on proper elevator use. Maybe even you have found the hub helpful. Probably not, but maybe.

COMING SOON: Escalator Etiquette 101(Come on, you had to know that one was coming!)


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