Going Up? Elevator Flops

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Let’s face it, there is nothing elevating about an elevator.

Whether it’s boarding one, getting off one, or maybe even missing one, the elevator ride can be flat-out awkward. It’s as if the moment we hear an elevator “ding,” we become socially inept.  We fidget and become clumsy.  We’re unable to speak and are rude without intention.

No doubt you have experienced an uncomfortable silence on the elevator – find yourself staring at the floor number to pass the time? That’s what I do.

Ever gotten off at the wrong floor?  I’ve fallen victim to this so many times I’ve lost count.  When I worked on the 5th floor at my current job, I mistakenly got off at the 4th one day after lunch.  For those of you who don’t know, there’s a nice fish tank right off the elevator on the 4th floor.  I remember asking myself (not out loud, luckily), “When did we get a fish tank on the 5th floor?” When I finally realized I had gotten off at the wrong floor, I started to turn back toward closing elevator doors … doors that happened to stay open long enough for everyone in there to be convinced I was an idiot.

So what can you do?  Well, I’ve studied this long enough to gather a list of tips that may help you out – feel free to add your own.

Boarding the Elevator:

  • Allow others to exit. Steer clear of the elevator until it is completely open and everyone is out. This takes some practice, but just try to remember that the elevator “ding” is NOT your cue to board.
  • Check the direction before boarding. This is cause for embarrassment when you board an elevator going the opposite way you want to go.
  • Allow women to board before men. For those who believe chivalry is not dead. Make sure to hold the door open because, if you don’t, all you’re really doing is sacrificing them to the closing mouth of the elevator.
  • Don’t board an overly-crowded elevator. Especially if it’s clear they are not making room for you.

On the Elevator:

  • Simple conversation. When it’s just you and one other person, don’t feel you have to start a conversation because anything worth talking about will just get cut off at the next floor.  But, at least say “have a good day” when you, or they, get off.
  • Press your floor ONCE. Contrary to what some people might believe, re-pressing a floor button will not make the elevator go any faster.
  • Ask others for their floor. Just make sure to press the correct one.
  • Hold the door for someone. My suggestion is only if they show some hustle (no effort, no reward).  If you manage to make eye contact with them, at least make an effort to stop the elevator – even if you’re faking it.
  • Stand as close to the walls as possible.  Personal space! Go to the back if you’ll be getting off on a higher floor and to the front if you’re next or close in line.

Exiting the Elevator:

  • Allow women to exit first. Unless, of course, you’re already at the very front.
  • “Excuse Me.” Say it unless you feel like dancing which, I assure you, doesn’t make the ride less awkward. No pushing, either.
  • Move out of the way to allow someone to get off. Stand outside if necessary.
  • Maintain your dignity. If you get off on the wrong floor, play it cool and continue right ahead.  Don’t do what I did.


So, in case you didn’t get all of that…Steer clear; Check direction; Ladies first; Hold the door; Say “excuse me”; Personal space, personal space, personal space.

Or, better yet, just do what feels right!

Because trying to make people comfortable in an elevator is a losing battle.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of my employer nor any other organization I am affiliated with. Also, please see the “About” page in case you are offended or even mildly irritated. Thanks!

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