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A guide to proper elevator etiquette

A guide to proper elevator etiquette
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I don’t know about you but riding in an elevator can sometimes be a nightmare. They’re the public transit of office buildings, the place where you run into people you don’t want to see, and a place where everyone must cram into a small space and share their germs, opinions, gossip, and worse, bad odors.

Unfortunately, we need elevators to get around, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try our best to make the ride more pleasant. Here are some simple rules to follow when hopping on an elevator.

The Rules In Elevator Etiquette

Don't block the doors.

This should be a no-brainer, but when you walk into an elevator, try moving to the back or the side of the elevator and avoid blocking the entrance.

Try to leave a considerate amount of room for other riders.

If there is enough room in the elevator, there is no need to stand so close to other passengers.

Avoid making out with your better half in an elevator while others are present.

Nobody wants to see other couples make out in an elevator. There’s a huge difference between showing some public affection in a wide-open space and French kissing in a closed area. Nobody needs to see a closeup of you exchanging your saliva with someone else.

Plan your quickest route to the door when getting off.

If you are stuck in the back, let people know ahead of time it is your stop.

Let the doors close.

This next rule is one that many people debate but if you see the door closing, you should let the door close if it is already halfway shut. Otherwise, if you do see an opportunity to safely hold the door open in a timely fashion, without frustrating other passengers, go for it.


When riding with a stranger, it is best to say the absolute bare minimum; a hello if you must but otherwise, enjoy the awkward silence.

Cell phones.

Please keep your phone on silent and please avoid answering any calls while in the elevator unless it is an absolute emergency.

Should I let my boss ride alone?

No. Nobody is that important to have their own private elevator, and besides, they might get the wrong idea and think there is something wrong if they notice you avoid riding with them.

Put on a fake smile.

I’m sure we would all prefer to ride elevators alone but that doesn’t mean we have to show our disappointment when someone else enters. Remember, they also have somewhere to be, and they also have the same right to take the elevator at the same time as you. In other words, smile on the outside, hate them on the inside.

Can I flirt with a stranger on an elevator?

We do not recommend this. You might come off as a complete sociopath. In other words, don't act any differently with someone you want to flirt with than you would with someone you don't want to flirt with.

Always face the elevator doors

This isn’t much of a problem these days since everyone is usually staring down at their smartphones but when riding a crowded elevator, it’s always best to face the doors. Entering the elevator and staring into the face of someone else can be uncomfortable, awkward, and even creepy.

Minimal eye contact

It isn’t a bad thing to make a little eye contact, say good morning and acknowledge someone exists but getting on the elevator doesn’t have to be completely awkward. Brief eye contact and a nod or smile is usually well-received by your fellow riders, but most people just want the chance to ride in peace without feeling obliged to entertain others.

Nothing wrong with waiting for the next elevator.

Nobody wants to be in an overpacked elevator, especially if they are claustrophobic or suffer from anxiety. If you are about to get on and notice it is almost at full capacity, there is nothing wrong with waiting for the next elevator.

Please allow those in the back to get out.

Here's a rule everyone should follow. Those standing closest to the door of the elevator should step out at each requested stop and hold the doors open with one hand so passengers can exit with ease.


Remember folks, the little details count and first impressions last. Next time you enter an elevator, think about how you can make the ride as enjoyable for everyone in the lift. And if you aren't certain about whether or not a behavior is appropriate, ask yourself how comfortable you would be if someone else in the elevator did it first.

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