Ups & Downs: 15 Tips on the Art of Elevator Etiquette

Here are 15 rules of elevator etiquette for that uniquely cramped and intimate social environment.

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The elevator is a particularly unique social environment that we all have to tolerate, some of us daily and some just every once in a while. They’re actually a common mode of…let’s call it transportation for lack of a better phrase. ElevatorRater says, “Every three days, elevators carry the equivalent of Earth’s entire population!” Recently, elevators have made headlines as they have been the scenes of some major scandals. From Solange Knowles attacking Jay-Z to the disturbing Ray Rice domestic violence situation and the recent puppy kicking incident.

Desmond Hague, CEO of Centerplate, a $6 billion dollar catering company that serves major sports arenas, was forced to resign last month after video of him kicking a puppy in an elevator went viral and caused a public outcry. The SPCA confiscated the puppy who, we are happy to report, is doing well. So rule #1 for elevators and life: Don’t kick puppies. To help you stay out of trouble, here are 15 elevator etiquette rules to keep in mind.

1. Face Front

Woman pressing an elevator button with elbow

Once you board an elevator, you should face front and stay that way for the duration of your ride. Keep as much space between you and the other passengers as possible as well.

2. Eye Contact

Elevators are usually pretty cramped. Being in such close quarters can be awkward enough so try not to make it worse by staring at the people stuck in there with you.

3. Phones


First of all, most elevators are a vortex of terrible cell phone service so this might go without saying, but an elevator is a public place where people can hear you. This means you should treat it like most public spaces and limit your cell phone use to just the nonverbal activities like texting or checking your email.

4. Watch What You Say

Especially if it’s a work elevator, don’t start badmouthing your boss or go on some rant with lots of four-letter words. Maybe just avoid talking at all unless it’s about the weather or a local community event.

5. Lower Your Bag


There are few things worse than being smacked repeatedly by your elevator neighbor’s oversize tote. If you’ve got a backpack or large shoulder bag on your person, keep it low so that it’s out of people’s way.

6. Exit Before Entering

Before getting on the elevator, allow those getting off to exit. It’s only fair and makes logical sense to make room in the coffin-like prison before you get into it, right?

7. Cover Your Mouth


It’s best to try to avoid coughing or sneezing while in an elevator. That said, if you must, definitely cover your mouth by coughing or sneezing into the crook of your arm, your hand or a tissue.

8. No Touching

Sometimes you can’t help bumping into someone when you’re packed into the tin can like sardines. If it happens, apologize, but really try not to touch your fellow passengers.

9. Two Flight Rule

Elevator buttons

It’s incredibly aggravating when someone takes the elevator just one floor up or down so don’t be that person. Only take the lift when you need to go up or down at least two flights of stairs. It’s a good way to sneak in some exercise too.

10. Holding Doors

The general rule is that if you aren’t alone in the elevator, don’t hold the door for any reason (your sister texted she’d be there in two minutes or you think you may have seen your date just enter the lobby) unless someone’s running for it and there’s room.

11. No Grooming!


It’s an unwritten law that there will be no personal grooming in an elevator. No nail trimming, hair plucking, perfume spritzing or any other personal hygiene habit of any kind should take place in a public elevator.

12. Ladies First Does Not Apply

On an elevator, it’s every man (and woman) for him or her self. Just move already!

13. No Meals


Please, we’re begging you, do not pull out a stinky tuna salad sandwich or greasy French fries in an elevator you’re sharing with any other breathing being. Ever.

14. No Emissions

We’re all at the respective mercy of our digestive systems here, we know. However, you should really do your best to hold your gas in until you reach your floor and have completely exited the elevator. We’re asking nicely and we’re holding ourselves to the same stinky standards, we promise. This is elevator etiquette 101.

15. Security Cameras

Elevator chamber

Remember, somebody somewhere is watching (and recording) what you’re doing in that elevator. A general rule is, if you wouldn’t do in front of friends and family, don’t do it in the pseudo-privacy of an elevator.

The post Top to bottom: 15 tips on elevator etiquette art appeared first on Mundo Hispanico