There is much to consider when holding a door open for someone. Do I wait a few seconds until they get here? Do I walk faster as to avoid the awkward waiting period? Do I treat a woman any differently than a man? So many questions, and so many doors to walk through. But don’t worry, I have some solid advice.
1) Err on the side of consideration.
If you have to choose between the awkward waiting period and closing the door in someone’s face, go with the awkwardness. In most cases the person will appreciate the gesture. Even if they don’t seem to care, you can still feel good about making a small sacrifice in the name of helping a fellow human.
2) In general, treat men and women equally. But go the extra distance if you’re a man holding the door for a woman.
Usually, you can treat the door holding as an equal opportunity event. Admittedly, I feel a little funny waiting for a guy more than three seconds. For this reason, I say wait longer for a lady. How long? Probably between three and six seconds in most cases. If you’re really trying to score some points, you may hold out a full ten. But that’s pretty desperate if you ask me.
3) Hold the door differently for different people.
Someone in a wheelchair? Hold the door from the back as to leave the path clear. This also applies to the elderly and younger children; anyone who might have trouble supporting the weight of a swinging door.
A man? Hold the door open until they have a hand on it. You can either stand in front of the door and walk through when they get there, or you can hold the door after you have walked through. Either way, there is no need to stand behind the door.
A woman? You can treat her the same as a man, but it is also acceptable to stand behind the door, clearing a path. This does indicate a higher level of consideration, and also a level of special treatment. It is possible for a woman to be offended by this act of consideration. I know one of my friends was torn out by a girl for treating her in such a fashion. How awful! But, as the first rule states, err on the side of consideration. Even if she might be a raging feminist.
4) Rejoice over the smallest forms of appreciation.
As Mike Antonellis puts it, I don’t need a “thank you” or a “thanks”; I would be happy with a “ksss”. That’s the right kind of attitude. Many people aren’t going to respond to your door holding with a full blown “Thanks for holding the door for me!”. Some will give you the nod. Some with give you a second of eye contact. Some will act as if you don’t exist. That’s fine. Remember, you’re holding a door. You’re not saving them from a burning building.
5) Treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
The Golden Rule also applies here. You like it when someone holds the door for you (probably). Don’t you want to give them the same treatment? We live in a society. Good manners and consideration for the needs of others is a critical part of everyday life.
Now get out there! Do some good.