Just as common etiquette expects people to let others know if they’re running late for meetings and appointments, elevator etiquette expects those waiting for an elevator to let those who want to get out do so before they get in.
Additionally, taking safety into account, those riding an elevator should never use the stop button unless there is an emergency, and everybody in an elevator should always respect those sharing the ride. In fact, when it comes to elevator etiquette, mutual respect for others in an elevator is paramount.
It really isn’t rocket science, and it doesn’t require special training. But for people who don’t appreciate the importance of good old-fashioned manners, it can prove to be a little tough.
Who Should Get Into the Elevator First?
When people get in line, it’s a given that the first in line gets to go first. The problem with elevators is that people generally don’t get in line. Usually those waiting for the elevator just hang around the door. But you’ve got to be oblivious not to notice people who were there before you. So, generally, people should allow those who got there first to get in first. However, practice common-sense manners by allowing the elderly and disabled and others who may need assistance to get in first. Isn’t that’s what you would (or should) do if you got on a bus and there were only a couple of seats left? In other words, let anyone who needs it more than you have it first.
If the elevator is already crammed, give it a miss, even if someone inside tells you to squeeze in.
Conversation in an Elevator
Elevators are, by nature, confined spaces, and when there are lots of people sharing a confined space, conversation is a no-no. You are not expected to make conversation with those you are traveling with, and it is considered rude if people you don’t know try to chat. You should never have phone conversations in a crowded elevator, and if you really need to talk to the person you know who is standing next to you, elevator etiquette demands that you both speak quietly.
Getting out of the Elevator
Conventional good manners dictate that women should exit first, but that isn’t always possible, particularly when the elevator is very full. If it is crammed, it’s advisable to tell those with you just before the elevator reaches your floor. That way they can move aside. Good etiquette requires you to excuse yourself if you have to pass close to people to exit, and to say “thank you” when they move to one side. Pushing is not an option.
People who are at the front of the elevator should, if necessary, exit to allow others off, and then re-board.
Anybody with good manners is sure to have good elevator etiquette. It’s that simple.