Friday, April 10, 2009

Door Holding Etiquette

I would like to take this time to discuss something that has come to my attention during my time here at UNH. Actually first off, I expect all the readers from now on to refer to the University of New Hampshire as the University of Nonsensical Happenings. Really, that is the best way to describe our college. It is just a bunch of random, unexplainable events occurring one after another. I challenge you to help start this revolution of what the “NH” really stands for. Now that I got that out of the way I can get back on topic…

I have noticed that everyday I experience what I have termed the “awkward door holding situation.” Whether I am the one holding the door or the one walking in the door’s direction, it’s bound to happen and it’s bound to be awkward. Let's examine the situation and see if we can come to a conclusion about the proper door holding etiquette.

You see a person approaching the door and you think “should I wait and hold the door for them or continue on?” The person approaching the door faces another dilemma. They have to decide to continue at the same pace, or to increase their rate of steps. The increase of speed to that awkward fast walk always feels weird, but I feel it is necessary. You don’t want to make them stand there all day. Of course there are many other factors that come into play. What is the weather like? If it is rainy and cold you better hold that door, especially if it locks and a card or code is needed to open it.

Another contributing factor is how far from the door the other person is. I believe that the distance and the speed of approach are the key factors into determining whether or not to hold the door. If the person is less then 25 feet, I believe that it is expected for one to hold the door. Of course this distance is for the doors that lock behind you. A non-locking door greatly reduces the distance guidelines. Really, a non-locking door doesn’t require one to hold the door unless they are within a step or two. If the person approaching is walking at a tortoise like pace then they are basically asking you to let the door close. The attractiveness of the person approaching the door can also increase the distance/time one is willing to hold the door. But at the same time, I’m not a doorman and I don’t have all day, let’s walk at a decent pace here people.

However, if you make eye contact with the walker and you don’t hold the door, you probably don’t have a soul.

If you are approaching the door and you notice someone waits and holds the door you are required to thank them. A smile would be nice too. The door holder should then reply with a nice “You’re welcome.”

Lets try to make this a less awkward confrontation people, use your best judgment. 

Remember, stay classy, not Umassy. 

Edit: I didn't see this video until after I wrote this but it helps explain the situation. (Although this refers to non-locking doors.) 


  1. Wow, this is so true in so many ways. I hate that awkward fast walking! haha!!
    Keep up with the good work!

  2. "However, if you make eye contact with the walker and you don’t hold the door, you probably don’t have a soul."

    Best line ever written?

  3. remember, if the door is around a corner, and you can't see the person behind you, even if you know they are close, you can swiftly move through the door 'acting' like you didn't notice how close they were.