Whether you use elevators often or only ride in them on special occasions (visits to the big city, trips to the local hospital, etc…), it is vitally important to remember the many unwritten rules of proper elevator behavior. Elevator etiquette, if you will. Consider these rules “unwritten” no longer.
1. It is perfectly acceptable to not talk on the elevator.
If you are an introverted person, the elevator is an uncomfortable place if there are other passengers with you. Because of the physical proximity to your fellow travelers, you might feel obligated to speak. That is incorrect and a lie straight from the pits of Hades itself. It is not only okay to not talk in the elevator, it is actually the proper way to ride. The elevator is not a break room or some sort of hangout location. No. It is a large, metal box that transports you from one floor to another. That’s it.
Now, talking is not a complete violation of elevator etiquette, and if someone attempts to be friendly and engage in small-talk, feel free to respond but know that you are well within your rights to completely ignore them if you wish. They are the ones who are breaching the optimal level of etiquette, not you.
2. For the love of all that is good and holy, learn how elevator ingress and egress work.
For those who don’t know, ingress is entering and egress is exiting. (Those terms are more technical but I think they work well for my purposes today.) I will explain why this matters by conducting a quick pop-quiz!
You are waiting to get on an elevator. When the doors open, what do you do?
A: Immediately rush into the elevator as quickly as possible.
B: Wait until you are sure no one needs to exit the elevator before you enter.
C: Just stand there for way too long and look like an idiot.
If you answered A or C, you are not smart enough to use an elevator. I think the stairs are more your speed. If you answered B, you deserve a prize of some sort but we are too poor to give out any good prizes. (We are too poor to give out any prizes, good or otherwise.) Just pat yourself on the back.
3. Do not talk on the phone while on the elevator.
It’s annoying. Don’t do it.
“But I need…”
No. It’s the worst. You are the worst. Get off the phone.
Again, stop. No one on the elevator wants to be privy to your phone conversation. We don’t want to hear you whisper sweet nothings to your boo. We don’t want to hear you laugh obnoxiously about…anything. We don’t want to hear it. Any of it. Put the phone away and just stand there staring into the wall until the elevator doors open. You know, like everyone else is doing.
4. If you choose to stand by the buttons – congratulations! You have a new job!
If you cannot handle the pressure of pushing the button for your fellow elevator travelers, don’t stand by the buttons. If you were able to get your clothes on that day, somehow make your way to the building which houses the elevator, walk into said building and enter the elevator, then you should, by all rights, be qualified to press numerical buttons. I cannot stress this enough: If you get flustered and confused by the light-up buttons on an elevator, you need to find an alternate mode of floor-to-floor travel. Or, at minimum, stand as far away from the buttons as humanly possible.
We’ll leave it at that for today. This is not a Five after all and I was getting precariously close to having five elevator etiquette points for this article. Man, that would have been really weird and awkward! A Five on a Monday? Who does that?
There are many more unwritten rules for elevator usage. They will remain unwritten for a little longer. Someday, I will likely come back to this topic to update the list and write a few of the rules so we can all be on the same page. I hope this list will be a huge source of help and blessing to you, dear reader. Go now and ride the elevator with class and good manners.