Andujar: For the love of hot mustard, hold the door

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This is an installment of Suzette Andujar’s weekly column “As I Was Saying”

The door slammed in my face. The person before me didn’t hold the door open. I took a step back, grumbled, opened the door, and walked inside of the building a little miffed. When I arrived to class and sat down, I got to thinking: am I too sensitive? Did the person before me have to hold the door open? I mean it all comes down to politeness, right?

Now, one might be thinking, “this is so dumb, it’s just a door,” but really, it’s not as dumb as one may think. There’s pressure involved, feet and inches to consider, common courtesy “thank you’s” and “you’re welcomes;” it’s part of everyday life! I’ll explain.

You’re walking toward a building and you’re not close to the door, you still have to climb the steps, but there’s a person holding it open for you. You have to walk a little faster up the stairs so they don’t wait there forever and when you make it, it becomes awkward. The person is just being kind, but honestly, it’s stressful!

If you think that’s stressful, what about you being the person who’s holding the door open for someone a bit farther behind you? I mean, you want to be nice, but there has to be a cut off for how far away a person must be before you decide if it’s worth it. If someone is literally behind you that’s one thing, but when we bring feet and inches into the mix, it becomes questionable.

if you have a free hand and an individual is directly behind you, for the love of hot mustard, common courtesy says to hold the door open

The person you’re thinking about waiting for wouldn’t be offended if you decided to just keep going inside. What’s offensive is slamming the door in the face of the person behind you. Now, I get it, sometimes your hands are full. You’re checking out the latest avocado slicing techniques on your phone in one hand, and the other hand is holding a hot cup of chai latte; sometimes it’s impossible. But if you have a free hand and an individual is directly behind you, for the love of hot mustard, common courtesy says to hold the door open. No one likes a door to be slammed in their face, but if you do, then you have all the power.

What about those “thank-you’s”? Are we required to say it when someone holds the door? No, but it’s polite, especially for the person who held the door for a good five seconds before you got there (even though that’s still awkward). Should you get upset when someone doesn’t thank you? No, but it’s not like you’re going to chase them down, grab them by the collar and shout, “Hey! I held the door open for you and you didn’t say thank you!” As ridiculous as that might look, you never know what triggers someone, so be safe out there opening and closing those doors!

Holding doors is polite (and apparently now dangerous), so just be courteous (and cautious) out there. Happy door holding!

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