Elevator Etiquette

Elevator Etiquette for the Considerate Rider

July 10, 2023

Elevators are a major benefit to visitors in any building, but there are some unspoken etiquette rules you should know. After all, it’s a small space you’re sharing with others, so it’s important to be considerate during the short journey up or down. These guidelines will make for a more pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Hold the Door

This etiquette rule is tricky, and it comes down to timing. Holding the elevator door is both compassionate and rude depending on how many people are in the elevator. Holding the door allows another person time to get on, but it also holds up the riders that are already inside. So, if you’re alone in an elevator and see someone coming, hold the door. If there are other riders already in the car and the person outside is clearly eager to get on, hold the door. If there are other riders and the person outside is clearly in no rush, give them an apologetic expression and let the doors close. 

Give Space to Other Riders

Elevators can range in sizes, but even the most spacious cabs can feel cramped as more people get on. Space is at a premium, which is why it’s important to give as much room to others as possible. Don’t stand directly next to someone if you’re the only two people in the elevator. This is especially important in today’s post-social distancing world. To give optimal space, stand on opposite sides of the elevator, not directly in the middle. If you’re carrying bags or suitcases, keep them close to your body.

Hold It In

Passing gas in an elevator might sound funny, but it’s extremely disrespectful. You’re all stuck in this contained space for a few minutes with strangers. Unpleasant smells are the last thing anyone wants to deal with. And don’t think that you’re in the clear just because an elevator has an air filtration system; those are designed to filter out germs, not smells. Worst of all, that smell will linger even after you’ve left. So if you can, hold in your gas until you’re out of the elevator.

Keep Your Volume Down

It’s not just gas you should hold in. Basic etiquette implies that you be mindful of how loud you are in enclosed spaces. That’s why you should resist the urge to carry on loud phone conversations. Not everyone needs to be an audience to your phone call. If you’re already on a phone call that you can’t risk hanging up on, at least be considerate enough to lower your voice. This is also showing consideration for the person on the other end of the line, as they may not be very happy that the conversation isn’t private.

Another thing you shouldn’t do is play loud music while you’re in an elevator. It’s just as rude as holding a loud phone conversation, especially as your fellow riders might not have your tastes in music. If you need your music, either put on headphones or pause the music for the duration of the ride.

Being considerate to other riders is important to any elevator trip, no matter how long or short it is. Etiquette might seem stuffy or old fashioned, but it’s really just basic acts of kindness that cost you nothing. And the more consideration you show to other riders, the more they’ll show to you!