This is topic Protocol on holding doors in forum Books, Films, Food and Culture at Hatrack River Forum.

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Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
I work in a busy office building. Many people coming and going through various doors that partition the building. SOP is when one person goes through a set of doors, he or she holds open the doors for next person coming through. My question is, if the next person behind the person holding the door doesn't take the door from that person (ie, the door holder, me), should the door holder (ie, me) be irritated and glare or say something? Am I making a mountain out of a really tiny mole hill? Am I the only one who has about had it with people shirking their door holding responsibilities?
Posted by raventh1 (Member # 3750) on :
My thoughts on the subject have always been, who cares, I do it because I want to; not to fill some quota.
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
It sounds like in that situation folks mostly would hold a door for someone with whom they are familiar/want to spare exertion for. I don't know how many people you know there, but if you aren't willing to keep holding it indefinitely I guess you have to accept that most are not going to take it over from you. I never expect someone to hold a door unless we've made eye contact and I always thank them.
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
People get angry if you let the door slam shut in their face.
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
Nah. I'd save glares and pointed words for more egregious wrongs. Most likely the offending person would have no idea why you were glaring at them, and saying something would sound like you expected to be specially recognized for holding the door for a second. Not taking door-holding responsibilities is bad manners, IMO, kind of like not saying "Thanks" when the door is held for me, but not worthy of a confrontation.

When I hold the door for a woman I do not automatically expect her to take over when she passes through. I do expect the next man to take over, however. Is that sexist? Most of the women don't attempt to take over holding the door, so I don't expect them to.

How about when you're in front of a large group and you open the door and end up holding it for everyone? And then there's a few people coming who are 10 or 15 feet away? Do you still hold it, or do you consider your responsibility fulfilled and let the door close? What's the protocol on handing off door-holding responsibilities once all your own friends and buddies have passed through?
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
Women are very bad not getting the door offenders. *grump*
Posted by skillery (Member # 6209) on :
You have to time the release of the door based on the pressure of the door-closer piston/spring. If you release too early, and there is a lot of tension, you will bruise the shoulder of the person behind you. If you hesitate, then you have to hold the door until the last person has passed through.

For heavy doors with lots a tension, I have developed a little technique that involves "dribbling" the door. As the next person is passing through, momentarily take your hand off the door and make as if to walk away. This will give the person a good scare, and he will either wet himself or put his hand out to catch the door. If he wets himself, then be nice and put your hand back on the door.

Of course if the person behind you has both hands full, be prepared to hold the door for everyone. He wouldn't have a free hand to cover the wet spot.

(Edit: spelling)

[ March 15, 2004, 12:29 PM: Message edited by: skillery ]
Posted by mr_porteiro_head (Member # 4644) on :
OK, I think it should be one or the other. On one hand, holding doors open is a requirement of civil society, in which case you don't have thank them, just like you don't have to thank people for not kicking you.

On the other hand, it's not required, but can be done to help out others if desired. In that case, definitely thank them, but you cannot get upset if nobody does what they aren't required to do. Just like you don't get upset if nobody gives you a free lunch today, but you would thank them if they did.
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
Hmmm. Interesting ideas. Thanks, skillery!
Posted by Tristan (Member # 1670) on :
Storm Saxon, I solve your problem by almost never letting the person I'm holding up the door for pass through before me (unless s/he is in a wheel chair, walking on crutches, carrying bags, etc.). Over here, letting people in in front of you may even sometimes seem overly polite. Holding up the door so that they are able to catch it from you is sufficient.

A more vexing problem is the one advice for robots bring up. If you are followed by a person to a door, how far back does s/he have to be for you not to have an obligation to keep the door open for him/her? The problem is aggravated by the fact that when the person sees you holding up the door, s/he almost always feels obliged to hurry in order to minimize your inconvenience. So by keeping the door open you may in fact cause the person more trouble than if you'd let him or her open it on their own.

This dilemma face me almost every time I enter the public library, so I'd appreciate some input.
Posted by skillery (Member # 6209) on :

I'd stop going to that library.
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
Hmmm. MPH, if holding doors open is a requirement of civil society and no one exerts pressure(by glaring, subtle gestures of fingers, etc) on those who flout the rules of civil society, then pretty soon you're going to have a break down in civil society. Or something.
Posted by pooka (Member # 5003) on :
If you greet someone joyfully (this is why I asked if there are other people you know who come through) and become their companion as they pass through, you are done with the door.

I don't get the mindset of folks who seem happy to believe that you have nothing else to do today besides hold the door for them. Oh well.
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
Thank you, Tristan! I'm not the only one! Hooray!
Posted by Tristan (Member # 1670) on :
Thank you, skillery, that would work. I wonder why I never thought of it myself.

[ March 15, 2004, 12:35 PM: Message edited by: Tristan ]
Posted by skillery (Member # 6209) on :
I say that if you're holding the door, then you own that door and are entitled to take all kinds of troll-ish liberties with the passers-thru: friendly pats on the fanny for starters. That'll teach em.
Posted by advice for robots (Member # 2544) on :
I would hold it for them if they look like they are hurrying to get through it. If they're ambling along, and especially if we never make eye contact, I'll let it close behind me.

When I am the person 15 feet back, I don't always like it when someone waits for me with the door. The same with crossing a street. It's nice when cars stop for you on a busy road that you would otherwise have no chance crossing, but when one lone car slows and stops for you on an empty road, it's kind of a waste of time. It would have taken less time for the car to just drive by. But when I'm in the car and someone's waiting to cross the street, I'd rather slow down and stop rather than risking them stepping out in front of me.
Posted by Tristan (Member # 1670) on :
Perhaps you should ask for a tip? Or open a toll station?
Posted by skillery (Member # 6209) on :
When I go to the public library with a particular book in mind, I see everyone getting out of cars in the parking lot as potential rivals, and the race is on. If I get stuck holding the door, then I shift my weight impatiently from one foot to another, imagining in my head that by the time I get inside, the book will be gone.

I have found that using the library's web site to reserve the book in advance reduces the anxiety that builds between the parking lot and the front door.

The video rental store is another story altogether; they have no online reservation feature. Plus they have heavy double doors that you have to pass through. Rather than wear a sidearm to the rental store, I prefer to purchase DVDs online.
Posted by TheTick (Member # 2883) on :
I take my cues of door holding from Dogbert's Clues for the Clueless. For example, if there are two of you and you are both dorky white males, you hold the door, but have to say something inane like 'Age before beauty! Haha!'.
Posted by Storm Saxon (Member # 3101) on :
[Big Grin]
Posted by littlemissattitude (Member # 4514) on :
I gave up on showing disapproval when people don't hold the door. They just don't get it.

People around here don't tend to hold the door very often, anyway. It constantly amazes me when I get huge smiles and profuse thanks when I hold the door for someone. I mean, I'm just trying to be polite. No big deal.

As far as male/female door etiquitte, if I reach the door first, I will hold the door whether the next person is male or female. So I guess my personal rule, is first to arrive at the door holds it for the next person. Otherwise, I will hold the door for someone approaching from farther than a few feet if they are substantially older than myself or obviously having trouble getting around. Anyone around my age or younger and seemingly able-bodied, and not in the immediate vicinity of the door, is on his or her own.
Posted by angelily (Member # 6298) on :
At my school, people are really nice about holding the door open at least a couple seconds as they walk through so next person can walk in. Then that person holds the door a couple seconds as they walk though, and etc. However, when I have my arms full of stuff, I don't hold the door open for anyone. I just hold it open with my foot, kick it outward a bit, rush through, and don't hold the door for anyone unless they are right behind me. I might be busy, but I don't want to slam the door in anyone's face.

PS: this thread reminds me of the scene in the beginning of Bedazzled when Brendan Frasier holds the door open to his office building and everyone rushes in [Big Grin]
Posted by Mabus (Member # 6320) on :
At Harding door-holding was incredibly common and normal, to the extent that it was practically expected of the first person to reach the door. Trouble was, that person was constantly getting caught and having to hold the door for a flood of students. Happened to me dozens of times. I don't think any solution was devised while I was there.
Posted by keedokes (Member # 6301) on :
great band, those doors.
Posted by aka (Member # 139) on :
Door holding is expected in my town. I think it pretty much is all over the South. I know I've been taken by surprise before when traveling that people will let the door slam in your face. It's one of those things that you tend to forget is only a custom and not a law of nature. [Smile]

I hold the door for anyone coming behind me, but when they reach the door, I hand it off to them and go in first. That way it is they who hold the door for the next person, and so on. Nobody gets stuck holding the door all day this way. If a guy is holding the door for me, I will, if he seems to expect it, walk in ahead of him, and leave him to follow. If a woman, I will take the door from her when I get to it, and let her go first. I always thank anyone who holds a door for me, but I don't expect thanks if I hold a door for someone else, since it's just basic courtesy and commonly expected by everyone in this area.
Posted by eslaine (Member # 5433) on :
There's a play in that somewhere....

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