So What Are The Rules For Opening Doors For People?

What if an old man carrying packages, a pregnant lady pushing a baby stroller and a young man in a wheelchair all get to the door at the same time? Will they freeze up? Will they stand there staring at each other until a 4th party arrives to break the deadlock?

Honestly, around here (Alabama) I usually assume that a man is going to hold the door open for me if he has the opportunity. It’s considered common courtesy, and I simply smile and say thank you. I work mostly with men, so I get doors opened for me a lot.

I get it too. I always attributed it to being a southern thing. My rule is whoever gets to the door first holds it open, so long as the other person is within a few steps of arriving at the door too. If you’re across the room, tough shit.

Quite often though, I’ll get there first and hold it, and I’ll have a guy physically grab the door and motion me through, refusing to go before me. It’s really bothersome. I know they’re trying to be polite but it implies two things. One, that I need a door held for me and two, that my own act of politeness isn’t welcome.

Siege, I was pretty much taught it your way. I also agree with mack about airlock doors, though I tend to think that’s a consequence of the ‘the person who reaches the door first holds it’ rule.

I agree with this. The only exception I have is that I will allow an older (elderly) gentleman to hold the door for me. This is not because I think he thinks I can’t. Rather, it’s because I don’t want him to think I think he can’t. If you know what I mean. Let me try that again:

The door opening thing is usually an unspoken understanding between enter-ers and exit-ers (as quoted above, and as detailed in mack’s post.) There are some men who are offended by this, however, as **Anamika ** and catsix point out. In my experience, it is elderly men that feel this way. So, I’ve reasoned that it’s times and upbringing that have changed, and these men don’t mean to offend me. Likewise, I don’t want to offend them. So out of deference to their age, I just smile, say thank you, and walk through that door.

I’ve seen it happen.

On 9/11 I got out of the subway at 42nd st (this is after the first plane hit and before the buildings came down) and went through a small concourse under the Chrysler building. The revolving doors at the 42nd and 43rd st exits are pretty old, a little small, and don’t seem to have to governors that newer ones do, so they can spin pretty fast. This guy literally had his foot stuck in the door at the ankle and was screaming from the pain. We tried but failed to free his foot. I went up to the street to look for a cop just as a vanload of them roared off to go downtown. I looked back down and there were a bunch of people helping (or trying) the guy so I left. Those cruddy old doors are still there.

Hopefully, they then “walked into the bar”.

Mine are simple, hold the door open if I am going through and it could possibly be helpful for anyone else to hold it open for them.
If I’m not going through the door myself, I’ll open a door for anyone seemingly encombered who is trying to go through the door.

Well, you see…first…you grasp the handle. Then it depends what kind of handle it is. Do you twist first? Is there some sort of latch? Is there a code? Is it locked?

Then, unless you’re entering Midvale School for the Gifted, there’s the all-important question: push or pull?

Oh yeah, be sure to step out of way of opening door, if it opens towards you. We haven’t solved that “walk through matter” problem. stupid physics.

I’m in the open-and-hold camp, with two exceptions.

When my SO and I arrive home together, I lead the way, so’s I take the bullet, just in case.

When walking on a bush trail, one often finds branches in the way. It seems courteous to hold the branch back, but practically it gets messy and causes delays. So it makes more sense to push the branch back, pass, let the branch back gently, next person then pushes or pulls, depending on preference, and so on, and so forth.

I’ll hold the door for anyone. That way I’m not accused of being sexist.

Only exception is that I won’t hold a security door.

Heehee, I think all doors should be equipped with hanging branches! Fwap the freaks in the head!

I try to never confuse politeness with sexism. Open the door, throw down your jacket, slay the dragon. Just pay me the same.

I often wonder if the backlash against such niceties is more of a subtle form of sexism that we don’t really consider. I think it is sexism against men. We don’t need you to open our damn doors, give us your seats, we are completely independent of you! The opposite of love isn’t hate, it is indifference. I have never heard a guy say “Until women can open their own doors, they don’t need to be paid the same.” We have two issues, politeness and lack of equality, I do not think they meet up in a doorway.

Then again, we could make a new custom. Every time a man opens a door for a woman he has to pay her $1.

Wow. Just how bad *is *the neighborhood you live in?

Security doors are very hard on Canadians - on the one hand, we want to follow the rules and do as we are told and NOT hold them open, but on the other hand, we want to hold them open for other people as has been deeply ingrained in us. Dilemma! Conflict! AAAGHHH!

We have the same problem in the U.S. It’s cool to let a known co-worker tailgate, but when you don’t recognize the next guy…huge bummer. Gettin’ all “prove yourself worthy” on someone. It’s embarrassing.

In the building where I work, there are multiple elevator banks (think ‘Naketomi Towers’ with fewer machineguns) and the doors are programmed to close about 5 seconds after they open. It’s literally a necessity for the first person inside to hold back the guillotine-doors while others fill up the car. Sex doesn’t enter into it; survival and getting our butts to work does.

And yes, I say thank you, and when I’m holding the door other people thank me also. If someone snubs me, I just take it that somehow they thought I was ‘hitting on them’ or that they were having a really bad day. Worse comes to worse, its an awfully quite ride up 30 floors, with me staying as far away from them as the car allows. On the other hand, if it seems they’re showing too much interest for what was only common courtesy, a quick twist of the “+20 ring-of-fidelity” and I’m magically invisible to them again. :smiley:

I’m right with you on this one. I always say “you’re welcome” to those people because in my world they’d have said thank you. And I don’t want to disrupt my own fragile little bubble that I live in.

It’s “Damned if you do, and Damned if you don’t”. That’s the rule. :frowning: :mad: Some people will consider you a sexist pig for opening the door, others a lowbrowed boor for not. And, they don’t wear signs letting you know which is which. So- do what makes you feel right. If opening doors for others (like women) makes you feel right then do it. Don’t worry about what they’ll think of you, as you have no control over their thoughts, just your actions. Do what’s right.

When am I annoyed (but not offended), by someone holding the door open for me? Hardly ever, but:

  1. One of my favorite people, Dan, is a stickler for holding doors for women. It actually bothers him if I forget and, arriving at the door first, open it. So, because I care about him so much, and because he doesn’t get crabby about it when I do forget, but I can just tell it kinda ruins his fun, I’ll pause to allow him to open it. I could understand this if he were an old guy, wearing a tie and a porkpie hat. But Dan’s around my age (52).
  2. Where it gets really annoying: Dan will stand out in the pouring rain to close my car door for me, when we ride together. I rush to get all tucked in quickly. I wish I could just shut it myself.
  3. Oh. And this: Dan wants to open my car door, too, so I try to sit there waiting while he comes around.
  4. Dan needs to open both airlock doors. If we’re both carrying stuff, it can be a hassle to get around me in some of our airlocks at work.
  5. One not-only-Dan annoyance: As another poster mentioned, when I’m quite a ways from the door, and I’m not on crutches, and someone has to wait a long time to hold the door for me. I’m not offended, though! It just seems silly.

Me too! I could totally see my leg being snapped in two. I already had that fear and then moved to NYC where when you come out of the train they have the revolving doors that looks like egg slicers. With a rush hour crowd coming behind me I got used to those in a hurry.

A nice, polite guy opened the door for me just this morning.

So I slapped him.