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Elevator Etiquette: Rules for Boarding and Exiting

Elevator Etiquette

Elevators are a very unique place. While you are only on them for a short period of time, there are unwritten rules and etiquette that people are expected to follow. To avoid offending anyone when using an elevator, follow these unwritten rules for boarding and exiting.


Allow people to exit the elevator – When waiting for the elevator, stand clear of the doors. Only board the elevator when you are sure no one else is exiting.

Who boards first? – Those who are closest to the door should be allowed to get on first. Gentleman should, however, allow ladies the option to board first.

Know the direction – Before boarding an elevator, make sure you know it is going in the direction you want to travel. This will save you from embarrassment and from delaying the car.

Entering a crowded elevator – If the car is crowded when the doors open, see if the passengers either verbally invite you to squeeze in or welcome you by making room. As a rule of thumb, there should be room for two people for every one that is attempting to board.

Holding the door – This should only be done for someone who is running toward the elevator when the car is empty or there is consensus among the passengers that they do not mind waiting.

Closing the door – The door close button should only be pressed when it is clear that no one else is trying to board the elevator.

Where to stand – It is proper etiquette to stand as close to a wall as possible. Also consider your destination, if you are going to a higher floor you should stand towards the back. If you choose to stand near the buttons, understand that you may have the increased responsibility of pressing the floor for incoming passengers.


Ladies first – Gentlemen should allow ladies to exit the elevator first unless you are blocking the doors.

Reaching your floor – When in a crowded elevator and you have reached your floor, announce to the other riders that this is your floor and excuse yourself as you go past them. Pushing is discouraged.

Getting out of the way – If you are standing between someone who is trying to exit and the door, do your best to move out of the way. If the elevator is crowded, it is acceptable to exit the elevator, allow them to leave, and then re-board.

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One comment

  1. I disagree; I believe the man should get on the elevator first. This gives the woman control of the situation; she can get on if she is comfortable, or wait for another if a guy is shady.

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