A Lesson In Elevator Etiquette

Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons | Another Believer
Photo Credit Wikimedia Commons | Another Believer

A trip in our building today reminded me that some people just don’t know how to act! Attention rude people! There IS such a thing as “elevator etiquette” .. so pay attention!

Before I lean into this select group of people with some sharp prose, I do understand that some people just don’t know.. or don’t care to know to act in some social situations. This falls into the category of social interaction when using a common area where you will need to know some very simple basics, most of the time this comes naturally… as we are normally inclined to act in a civil manner, even courteously!

For those who didn’t get the memo… Here’s what you need to know:

Etiquette Rule #1 – Let people out before walking in – This is so basic I can’t believe I have to say it, but there are some people that don’t get it. This is more about common courtesy, just like when you are walking down a crowded hallway or stairwell, when in doubt… you let the other person go.

The basic premise here is this.. There are people that have already boarded the elevator, they have come UP/DOWN in it, and THEY have the right of way. They have taken their journey in the elevator and it is THEIR turn to exit. Let them go FIRST! Not only does this make sense (in all kinds of logical ways), but it makes physical sense too. Let’s dive into that for a moment.. shall we?

If you go into the elevator when they are trying to exit, you are in fact blocking them, creating a bottleneck or reshuffling necessary to allow the passengers to exit. I hope this makes sense you to, sure does for me. When I am leaving an elevator and someone tries to walk in.. I give them the Heisman and tell them really loud, EXCUSE ME!  If someone tries to bumrush into your elevator when you’re trying to exit, you should do this to them! (REALLY) If YOU are the one rushing in without letting people out…you should re-read this and adjust your ways.

Etiquette Rule #2 – Be courteous and ask what floor people want – You know, this is really a staple of respect for other passengers, a time when you can show that you are socially polished. BE THAT GUY and (if) you are closest to the buttons, ask the newest person to arrive in the elevator, “What floor please?” Not only will they appreciate you asking, but you look like  a superstar!  Trust me when I say, you won’t look like a concierge, but a highly respected individual with loads of class… you might even feel empowered!

Etiquette Rule #3 – No farts (please)! – I know this is a funny one, but seriously… if you’ve ever walked into an elevator and it smells like someone dropped the bomb in there, you know how this goes. And the smell really doesn’t hit you until the door is closed and you’re already on the way up… too late to make your exit now. You probably remember the person leaving the elevator had a sh*t-eating grin on their face… you guessed it – they did the doodee on you. Aside from being uncool, you really shouldn’t be contaminating a closed space with your gas. I know know its funny and he he hee… but its only funny until it happens to you. And another thing… What happens if you lay down the nasty funk and someone superhot is about to walk in? YOU look like the offender, and your first impression to that hottie is that you smell. Nice going champ!

Etiquette Rule #4 – No cell phone conversations
– Really now, nobody wants to hear you yapping about this and that, what you ate before you left for the office, where you are going after work, and seriously they don’t care who you are going to meet up with for happy hour. Keep this to yourself! If you are on a call and you need to head into the elevator… its ok to say “hey – I’m headed into an elevator, let me call you back” and hang up. Chances are you are going to lose signal anyways… or you are going to have a “celluar conversation” complete with garbled voice and dropped out sounds… but again, just let them know you’ll call back. The people around you will thank you, even if they don’t say it.

Etiquette Rule #5 – Lay off on the jokes pal
– its’ not funny when you’re jokes stink… so just like a fart, if you don’t think its REALLY funny and somewhat PC, just keep your hole shut. You are probably surrounded by a diverse range of people with varying backgrounds, so you just can’t please all the people all the time. Chances are your “shift of wit” is likely to come off like a “whiff of shit” and that aint cool. Just smile and nod, look up at the numbers flashing on top like everyone else.

If you have any questions, re-read steps 1-5 and memorize them. Practice common courtesy and know the social rules of engagement, this is your lesson in Elevator Etiquette.

By Louis Wing

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