Giving up your seat to a woman--outdated?

This weekend, I took an express bus (about an hour trip) from Tacoma to Seattle. The bus was full so many people ended up standing for the entire trip. I offered to several women to stand up so they could sit down, but they all said “I’m fine”. I noticed this had happened several times in the past few years too. Am I the only person this happens to? And if not, why won’t women take an offer to give up your seat? I was always taught to do this (I’m only 33) and wonder if women think this is outdated.

I think modern etiquette is to give up your seat to people who need it, such as elderly people, disabled people, someone laden with packages, etc., regardless of gender.

Well, just speaking for myself, yes, I think it is. I certainly wouldn’t look down on somebody for offering, but I wouldn’t take it (assuming I’m myself, meaning a healthy non-pregnant 28 year old.) I have many times given up my seat for elderly people, or disabled people, or even people with little kids or a lot of packages, but as standing presents no hardship for me I wouldn’t take an offered seat.


When I was pregnant I lived in Boston and took the T (subway) everywhere. Very seldom did people offer me a seat. When they did I was very grateful.

My rules are pregnant women, women with kids and anyone that looks like they’re having trouble standing up.

I not standing for an hour, on the NY subway, during rush hour, for anyone else.

We don’t generally want, need, or expect a man to offer his seat if we are not extremely old, or very pregnant. No need to even give it a thought. I’m just as capable of standing as you are, and I’m not weak, so the seats should be first come, first served, as if we were equals. I do, however, expect you to open the door if you’re there before me, which you should strive to be if at all possible. I’m finicky like that.

One time we had a discussion about offering pregnant women a seat, and it was surprising how heated that got, IIRC. I don’t see how it could be controversial, but, of course, someone made it so.

If I’m not visably pregnant, on crutches/noticably ill, or over the age of 60, you shouldn’t feel as though you need to offer me your seat. If you insisted anyway, I’d feel guilty for taking it.

I’d offer. I usually won’t sit on crowded public transportation anyway. That way I avoid all possibly embarrassing scenarios.

It’s a very nice thing to offer. And it’s nice to see someone thinking of someone else’s comfort before their own. But I’m not going to take your seat unless I’m wrangling heavy packages or something and you’re not. If we’re both in the same situation, then you got there first. It’s your seat.
But it’s a very nice offer.
BTW, if you’re wrangling heavy packages or a child or something - I’m going to offer you my seat.

“are you doing this because I’m a lady?”
“No, I’m doing this because I’m a gentleman.”

Yep, ditto.

Unless, of course, I’m REALLY exhausted or otherwise not feeling well (graveyard shift + not a lot of sleep + days at school = it happens), in which case I might be a little less inclined to offer up my seat if you don’t look like you need it (e.g., elderly, pregnant, little kids unaccustomed to subway surfing, or obviously physically impaired).

I’m always irritated riding the D.C. Metro or MARTA in Atlanta at able bodied young men who sit while much older or pregnant women stand. I’ve even seen blind women standing. It may be politically incorrect/condescending/old fashioned/whatever, but I will always give up my seat to a lady providing

1- she’s older than I am (I’m not quite chivalrous enough to offer it to a teenager;)


2- she’s pregnant or otherwise encumbered (bags, kids, etc.)


3- she seems like she’d be appreciative (as mad as I get at young men remaining seated I get just as irked when a lady doesn’t say “thank you”)

Unless it’s a very close friend or super informal setting I also always stand when a lady enters the room and get irked with those who don’t. For that matter I consider it bad manners not to rise when introduced to somebody of any sex (it seems too “royal” to shake their hand while they’re standing and you’re seated- though if they’d kiss my ring I might prefer to be seated). Childhood training dies hard.

If someone’s pregnant, carrying a toddler, elderly, or infirm, I’ll offer my seat.


We have, i would like to think, moved past the time when simply being a woman was considered a disability necessitating a seat. Able-bodied, non-geriatric, non-pregnant women are just as capable as i am of standing on a moving train or bus.

I offer it to those who are obviously in need of a seat, regardless of gender. Offering a seat just because someone is female is outdated, though I see nothing offensive about it if someone is simply being nice.

Well times sure have changed, haven’t even heard of that one. At a camp once we had a formal dinner where we had to stand if a lady at our table got up to get a drink or food (with the strict provision that the order is revoked if they abuse it by standing up and sitting down to annoy us), but I’ve never heard of standing when anyone short of Queen Elizabeth herself or the Bride to Be enters the room.

Then again my mother is the one who explicitly repeated to me when I was younger to not worry myself with putting the seat down, which from browsing the internet I can see is going to make for some lovely howls of furious anger at me some day.

As for the bus:
I give my seat up for most people unless it presents some sort of logistical issue (if it’s packed and they’re not in some way encumbered or disabled it’s a pain to maneuver around tons of people just to switch seats). If anyone is close and the seats are filled but standing room is abundant a lot of times I’ll say, male or female, “hey, want a seat?” But that’s just me. I always give it up though if someone is pregnant or has a bunch of kids etc, oftentimes I’ve seen someone with four kids (or something) getting on and I just silently move before they even see me so they and/or their kids have a place to sit. No thanks necessary I’m just as happy standing and little kids are a bit rambunctious when they don’t sit, it’s better for everyone that way.

Can we please have an international conference or something about this? One day I open the door for someone and get yelled at because “they can do it themselves” (I was there first, and was being nice… not making any social statement sheesh), the next I don’t and get ratted out for having no manners. I think we need a bill through congress to decide a provision here or something.

I’m with Quartz and a few others above. However, sadly, people seem to offer me a seat these days.

I don’t think it’s outdated. I think it’s charming and I appreciate the offer every time. Have you seen my shoes? :stuck_out_tongue:

I didn’t think “Yelling-at-the-nice-guy” was a real thing. I’ve never seen anyone do this. Those who do deserve to be locked out of the establishment they’re trying to enter.

I will offer my seat to a female.

Not because I think she’s weak. Because I’m hoping to score. :slight_smile: