Anonymous said to realsocialskills:
Hi I was wondering what door holding etiquette is in any relevant social context, because I only recently became aware that this is a thing, and since then still can’t figure it out.
I also find this almost completely baffling.
Here’s what I do know about door holding:
- You should hold the door for someone who is carrying a heavy thing and doesn’t have free hands
- If someone asks you not to hold the door, don’t hold it for them. They’re saying no for a reason. (See this post by Dave Hingsburger on the ways people get in his way by holding doors when he tells them not to.
I know that there are a lot of other rules about doors, and that I do not know them well enough to avoid being rude.
Do any of y’all know the door holding rules?
Okay, this was too hard to add this all in a reply. So I’ve found:
- Hold the door when they are a short distance near you where it doesn’t cause a long pause waiting for them to make it to the door. This doesn’t have to be step out of the way and hold it open so they don’t touch the door, just hold it until they can put a hand on it and it doesn’t awkwardly slam in their face. Basically if the door would just be closed by the time they get to it, you may consider holding it for them to grab.
- You may want to hold it open entirely if they are carrying/doing something heavy/unmanageable/large such as holding many bags or pushing a stroller or holding a large box. In this case always make sure you are not creating difficult by standing in the doorway while holding the door open. I tend to stand at the end of the door or on the other side of the door so I don’t get in their way.
- Also this it not a chance to check someone out/chat them up. If you do and they decline/express concern then remember not to get angry and to let it go. You are simply expressing a nice gesture by holding the door and this does not entitle you to be upset that this person does not want anything else by it. If you feel that this entitles you to do more to the person and for that person to accept whatever you are doing then please stop holding doors for people. You are not simply being nice by holding doors in this case you are using it as an excuse to internally feel justified with doing/saying whatever you please to this person and think that the consequences of this are not your fault because you did what is considered a nice gesture. If you are doing something nice simply to get something out of it, you are no longer being nice or selfless but being selfish and manipulative.
- Additionally like you said if the person declines the door holding for any reason, even if you do not see why they would, then do not do it. You are no longer being nice by forcing a typically nice gesture upon someone who does not want it. Being nice is about doing what someone else wishes of you (within reason of your own health/safety) not doing what you believe is nice if the other persons expresses that they would rather not have this gesture done for/to them.
- Also remember just not holding the door isn’t necessarily rude either. People just have to open the door like they normally would do. Many people don’t hold doors and you do not have to do it if you are unsure about the context.
I agree with most of this, but I think there are contexts in which it’s considered rude not to hold doors. (Eg: If someone is two feet behind you, especially if their hands are full and the door is heavy or awkward to open.)
It’s not the rudest thing you can do and people probably won’t be outraged or anything, but it will probably be perceived as rude if you don’t hold a door in that situation.