Sometimes courtesy can be annoying. One thing that bothers me is when people hold the door for me. I’m not talking about when we’re both going in at the same time – that’s fine. I’m talking about when I’m still twenty paces away, we don’t know each other, and there’s no connection between us other than the fact that we both plan to use the same door in the same five-minute time span.
It works like this: Buddy going in ahead of me sees me coming, and probably thinks it would be rude NOT to hold the door for me. So he stands there holding it while I amble along. Except now the onus is on ME to be polite and hurry up so that Buddy doesn’t have to stand there forever holding it. It’s like I suddenly have a gun to my head, and someone is shouting inside my brain, “Run, dammit! RUN!!!”
How would you feel if you were holding the door for someone and they took their sweet old time getting there? Perhaps like I feel when I stop my car to let pedestrians cross, and they act like they don’t care if they ever make it all the way across the street before their children grow up and leave home.
When I’m going through a door ahead of someone, I check to see how far behind the other person is. If it looks like they are physically capable of opening a door on their own, and that I’m far enough ahead that the door wouldn’t slam in their face, then I just let it go. If the person is close enough that I just need to give the door an extra shove to leave it open when I’m through, I can do that.
Granted, I have also felt motivated to hold the door for others. I have struggled with this same guilt that forces others to hold a door for me when I don’t want them to. I wonder: What will they think of me if I don’t hold the door? Will they feel rushed if I DO hold the door? But I am learning to release that guilt. Thank God I’m not British, or I might have had to live with that guilt my whole life.
And, my dear reader, how do you feel about all this? Perhaps I’m just being neurotic? Or is this a grave social ill that we must address?