A Facebook post about someone holding a door for someone else — and the act’s fierce aftermath — caught my eye the other day.
When did holding a door for someone become offensive? Apparently, I missed that memo.
A Facebook friend recently posted that he held a door for someone who turned out to be less than gracious.
“I just got told off for opening and holding the door for someone,” my friend wrote.
He didn’t specify whether the person who complained was male or female. But then, why should it matter?
I hold doors for everyone. Male and female. Young and old. Apparently able-bodied or impaired.
I don’t do it because I think they can’t open the door themselves. I do it because my parents raised me to be polite. Most people for whom I hold the door thank me. I acknowledge their thanks in an interaction that takes no more than three seconds.
It requires so much more energy — wasted energy, in fact — to complain about the gesture.
As my friend put it, he won’t stop holding a door because that’s how his parents raised him as well.
What’s the objection to holding a door for someone?
Really. Why would someone object to someone else performing a simple gesture of good manners?
Are we so sensitive these days that we have to assume ill will or an intended slight? If I hold open a door for someone, most of the time, I don’t do it because I think they can’t get the door themselves.
Once in a while, I might make that assumption. But then, you see, I would still hold the door even if I didn’t make such an assumption. And I never say anything to indicate any assumption either way.
I see it as good manners. I think that’s how most people see it.
At least, that’s how it always felt to me.
Etiquette coach Kelly Frager, at Etiquette for Everyday, says holding a door is not an outmoded gesture. She advises men should hold the door open for women. But she reminds women that we live in “modern times.”
If you arrive at the door first, for heaven’s sake – open it! Don’t wait around for a knight in shining armor. You could even hold the door for him until he arrives!
Equality is equality. If everyone would get over being offended at so simple an act of kindness and just accept a door held for them and, in turn, hold one for the next person, the world might seem a bit kinder.
I think there’s an even better way to look at such a controversy, though. If that’s the biggest thing you have to become upset about, I think that’s a good sign you’re having a pretty good day.