The 5 Stages of Awkward Door Holding

June 22, 2011

Much like walking down a long hallway, holding a door for someone can be an uncomfortable experience.

Personally I like whoever I’ll be holding the door for to be about 5 to 10 steps behind me. That gives me enough time to turn the handle, swing the door open, and hold it for about 2 to 3 seconds before they pass through. A quick “Thanks”, and everyone can go on about their day.

Closer than 5 to 10 steps, and you start to question their definition of “personal space”.

And when it’s 15 or more steps behind you, you start to run into some uncomfortable interaction.

15-20 steps behind: You encounter some awkward smiling and longer than normal eye contact. The other person may have to speed up their gait a little to make it to the door before it gets really weird.

20-25 steps behind: You feel the need to make some small talk. You may find yourself commenting on the weather, or your company’s upcoming holiday as you wait for them to make their way to the door. The approaching person feels the need to speed walk.

25-30 steps behind:
You make small talk, but it’s not enough. There is still a period of time between the end of your short conversation and moment they actually pass through the door when there is nothing to do but stand and smile. This causes the approaching person to break into a jog.

30-35 steps steps behind: You have to tell the person “Not to rush”, and it’s then you know you’ve probably overdone your gallantry. You end up standing there, stupidly holding the door, probably with a creepy grin on your face. The approaching person secretly hates you in their head.

35 or more steps: Save everyone the trouble, and let the person behind you open the door themselves. There is such a thing as being too polite. Nobody appreciates it. Believe me.

Just follow the 5-10 step rule, and everyone will be that much better off. I promise.

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