How polite should you be?

June 18, 2009

Common courtesy when you are leaving or entering a building is to hold the door for the person behind you, or the person coming at you and going the opposite direction.

My question is…how close does someone have to be for it to warrant the door hold? Does it depend on who that person is? Or the type of place you are going into or leaving from?

I always hold the door for people, and I think most people do; it’s simple enough. Now personally, I believe that I am more willing to hold the door for a longer period of time for someone who is coming behind me. Why? I don’t know. Let’s give some distances.

Person following behind you, and they are about 10 feet away while you open the door. You’re decent enough so you hold the door for them. Now, you walk in that door and instead, there is someone leaving and is 10 feet in front of you…you hold it for them? In this case, I may not.

So let’s say I had an average distance in which I held the door for people…12 feet? Okay. Now what if there is an elderly person 15 feet away. 12 feet is my max, but the person is old! So for the elderly the max distance should be greater right? OR! Should it be more like 8 feet? Why? Because they’re slow, so now time comes into place.

If a 30 year old man was trailing me by 12 feet I’ll hold the door because it will take like 3 seconds for him to get there. If an old person is 15 feet away it could be 20 seconds or more. Factor in possible walkers and selective amnesia where they forget where they are and kind of wonder around opposed to coming straight in. So while you should be nicer to the elderly, by the time they get to the door you’ll be long gone; it’s not like you’ll be slamming the door in your face. Plus, they may not be able to see that far anyways.

What if someone’s 25 feet away but they’re power walking? What if it’s a 95 year old woman who’s 50 feet away and all alone but she’s speeding towards you on a rocket-powered wheelchair?

I have realized that there are way too many factors that go into one solid decision here. Tell me everyone, how long do you wait, does the time change depending who it is?

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