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The Proper Etiquette of When and When Not to Hold Open Doors (Revised for the 21st Century Corporate Office Environment)

Note From the Author: Sometimes I write stupid things and then forget all about them. Sometimes they are better off forgotten. This may well be one of them. — V.-

It has come to HR's attention that changing social mores, the rapidly changing fluidity of gender roles and an earnest attempt to create a friendlier, more polite workplace atmosphere has resulted in an escalating series of incidents wherein two employees, faced with an impasse, will glare – politely! – at one another for 30, 40, as far up to 120 seconds, unsure whom should pass through the doorway first.

That sort of situation can't be allowed to stand. After all, we're not British, except for Albert, and frankly, he's yet to report any incident – thanks, Albert! (Unless you're just being polite, in which case, please leave a comment on HR's new web portal.) It has occurred to us that, despite this new-found interest in manners, we don't actually know how they work anymore, and what knowledge we do have is woefully out-of-date. With that in mind, we offer this handy guide to Holding Open Doors, with the hopes that it will ease some of the office's growing tensions.

1. The first and foremost purpose of holding open a door is to make sure that it does not hit the person behind you in the face when it closes. If it is in danger of hitting the person behind you, hold it open for them and let them pass.

2. Generally speaking, if the person is a foot or two behind you, you do not have to wait for them, and indeed, the next few seconds will feel agonizingly long to them as time slows down with each step and they are consumed by guilt at the thought that they are keeping you from something terribly important.

3. It is no longer chivalrous for gentlemen to hold doors open for ladies, but that doesn't mean it's not appreciated. Ladies can also hold open doors for gentlemen, and persons of a nonbinary gender can hold the door open for anyone they like, and vice versa. However, please be discreet about using door-holding as a romantic overture in the workplace, or else risk a conversation with HR.

4. It is not appropriate to use the act of holding open the door as a pretext to check out someone's ass, even if that person is Becky in accounting, whose ass is truly fantastic.

5. If the person behind you is carrying a tray of coffee cups, luggage, a stack of papers, a baby, or any other item which precludes the use of their hands to open the door for themselves, you are pretty much obligated by manners to hold the door open for them. It won't get you summoned to HR or anything, it's just tacky. People will talk.

6. However, do not assume that a person behind you with a disability automatically wants you to hold the door open for them. Please only do so to prevent the door hitting them in the face, or if their hands are full, or if you are courting them in this strangely mannered dance of holding open doors and checking out asses. When in doubt, ask, “Hey. You want me to hold this?” in much the same manner you would anybody else, presuming you’re not some sort of jerk.

7. If you are at the Mexican border, hold open the door for any foreigners trying to enter, especially if the president is watching, because it pisses him off and that shit's just funny.

8. There is no way to resolve the impasse of two persons holding facing doors open for one another. You are advised to stop, nod politely, and then both let go of your doors simultaneously.

9. It is not necessary to hold the door open for your immediate supervisor, the company CEO or any of the board of directors except in any of the aforementioned scenarios. Really, what are the odds that they'll remember who you are and hold a grudge. Don't flatter yourself! The only person likely to remain in their memory in this situation is Becky, because that ass is memorable.

10. When an employee – let's say for example, an HR officer – is being terminated – for, let's say hypothetically for allegedly sexually harassing someone in the accounting department – it is permissible to hold the door open for them, as the box of their personal belongings is heavy. It is not advisable to let the door hit them on the ass on the way out.

11. Hodor.

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