Etiquette for Doors of All Kinds

I noticed something today… it’s something I’ve noticed before, but never thought to comment on it. Usually I seethe about it and move on. Today I’ve decided to write a blog in the hopes that some people might pass on this message of etiquette. Or at the very least, common sense.

Today, as I was leaving McDonald’s (lets not comment on the fact that I ate that processed food for lunch. I had a craving for their fries. I think they’re laced with an addictive substance. Don’t judge me)… anyway, so I was leaving McDonald’s and a man was leaving ahead of me. As he opened the door, two young men… correction, two boys ¬†all but bowled him over to get in. This struck me as odd, since the door wasn’t fully open and it’s McDonald’s. Seriously, are you in that big of a rush to get gut rot?

Then, back at the office as I was contemplating all of the times I’ve witnessed people in a rush to enter doorways – from metro cars to McDonald’s and even elevators – my elevator door opened. A woman nearly ran into me in her rush to enter the elevator. I squeezed by, apologizing for being in the way (not my fault really) and she apologized as well, but didn’t stop the behaviour for which she was apologizing.

The one redeeming event was when I was leaving the bathroom and the same thing happened. Only this time, the lady waited until I’d left, then entered after. So here I am, writing a blog about the etiquette of exiting and entering a doorway. It shouldn’t be necessary; it should be common sense. At least that’s what I think.

Entering A Building

Door Swings Out

If you are entering and the door swings out (towards you):

  1. Pull open the door
  2. Allow the person who is exiting to leave. This way, you don’t have that awkward moment where you are holding the door behind you for the person as they’re leaving.
  3. Enter

If you are exiting and the door swings out (away from you):

  1. Wait to see if the person entering will hold the door.
  2. March out
  3. Thank said kind citizen. It’s only polite. If you don’t say thank you, you will be haunted by the impoliteness for the rest of your day. Or you won’t, it really depends on what type of person you are.
Door Swings In

Basically, same deal as above only the situations are reversed. The point is, if you are holding the door, hold the door. Don’t try to push past someone when the door is just going to hit you in the ass.

Entering a Metro (Subway for non-Quebec people) Car

A while back, there was a moment when I was going to punch a few people. I was at the front of a crowd of people in the car, waiting to get off. The doors opened and I was met with a wall – A WALL – of people. There wasn’t a space for me to leave. I stood there, probably pissing off everyone behind me, just staring at the people. My eyes must have screamed “GET OUT OF MY WAY” and a rendition of that song “move bitch, get outa the way” ran through my head briefly. The sad thing – no one moved.

Cue desire to punch.

Instead I just barrelled through, using my shoulders and elbows to make room. I shouldn’t have had to do that.

What is really upsetting about this scenario is that the STM has implemented a system of arrows at the front of the doors that point in and out. This is supposed to make the chaos of entering and exiting a metro car less chaotic. I think it works to some degree, but mostly people just use it to be first in line (even when there are courteous people waiting in the correct place).

So doing it wrong.

When Entering the Metro Car
  1. Stand to the side of the door.
  2. Wait for everyone to leave.
  3. Shoot an annoyed face at the people who sneak in between exiting passengers.
  4. Enter Metro car.
When Exiting the Metro Car
  1. As soon as there is space for you to leave through the opening doors, do so.
  2. Everyone in your way deserves what’s coming.

Elevators (or any other sliding door)

Entering an Elevator
  1. Press Button
  2. Wait by the side of the elevator door
  3. Watch people leave; greet with a smile
  4. Optional – hold arm in front of door sensors so that they don’t close before you can enter
  5. Enter elevator
When Exiting an Elevator
  1. Walk out
  2. Optional – hold arm in front of door sensors so that they don’t close before the next passengers enter


Are we all really in that big of a rush that we will risk injury (through people running into us) in order to enter/exit? I can honestly say that I have never had a door close on me when I was standing near it to enter. Not a metro door, not an elevator door and especially not a regular swing door. And even if the swing door did close, it’s not like I can’t just open it again!

Now I have a mental image of someone barrelling by me to get into the building and the door closing. And me pushing on it to no avail. That would be quite the situation!