“I am SO SICK….”: A Few Notes on Elevator Etiquette

This past Monday I was in a crowded elevator. Just after the doors closed, one young woman said to another, “Wow, you look exhausted.” To which her chum replied, “I am SO SICK. My boyfriend has stomach flu and I think that’s one more thing we’re going to share; plus I have this cold I can’t get rid of….”


(Note to self– don’t touch the buttons.)

Upon exiting that incubus of viral plague, I put together a quick list of things I’d prefer not to hear or see again:

1. Although it’s lovely that you want to get upstairs and start working, please wait to make sure everyone’s exited the elevator before attempting to get on.

2. If you’re just about to miss one, please don’t stick a hand or foot in the path of the electronic eye. I guarantee another’s coming and those already on board are just as anxious to get upstairs as you are.

3. If you are riding with one other person, take their cue with regard to commenting on the weather, etc. Some people prefer to be alone with their thoughts. (That said, if you are riding with your CEO, VP, or immediate colleague. please do acknowledge that by saying, “Good morning/afternoon.”)

4. Saying, “Excuse me” when you need to exit a crowded elevator is a lovely idea. Saying, “Excuse me,” before the doors have opened raises everybody’s hackles.

5. In addition to the health disclosure mentioned above, please don’t take this time to share the details of your commute, your dental appointment, or your one-night stand. If you and your friend were mid-conversation prior to boarding the elevator, please press your internal pause button for the duration of the ride.

6. Similarly, please remember that the elevator is not an extension of your office. Wrap up phone calls before boarding. Don’t take them once you’re on.

7. Please do not feel compelled to say “It looks like we’re on the local,” should you be stopping on every floor.

8. If you are alone on the elevator, please don’t assume you are unwatched. Unless you want to provide security with some laughs this is not the time for a major wardrobe or nasal adjustment.

Should you have additional thoughts (or just a few great stories) please send them along.

Happy July!

Frances Cole Jones