Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Guest blog by Alan Tuerkheimer

Is there unwritten etiquette that one must adhere to in a public elevator? Elevator rides are unlike anything else in our daily routines. We share very limited space with others for a brief period. Sometimes we know someone on the elevator, other times we know no one. There are so many variables that come into play, but it seems like the norm that if you don’t know anyone, you either look up or down. If you recognize someone maybe a small comment about the weather. Recent observations make me think people interact more on Friday’s than on Monday’s. Friday everyone is happy about the end of the week, Monday suggests misery loves company.

My favorite is when people are talking on an elevator, and another person or persons get on. It typically affects any interaction that was taking place among those already on the elevator. People riding the train tend not to engage in idle chit chat, but why is it okay to make a comment about the weather to a stranger on the elevator? Why is it less likely you will say something to that person when he or she is on an elevator with people they know? Maybe people who constantly ride elevators during work hours or at night in high rises never get away from the comfort of familiar anonymity. Maybe subconsciously we are aware our personal space is being invaded by strangers and for a few seconds we have no place to go.

People say that when you’re not doing anything, like sleeping, you’re still communicating. So we are always communicating, even when you want no one to notice you in the crowded elevator.

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