Monday, October 3, 2011

The Awkward Moment When You're In An Elevator And A Stranger Walks In

 A couple of months ago, I was taking a class at an office building. To get to the class, I had to enter a sleek revolving door, walk down a marble hallway, pass the ball of aluminum contemporary folks call “art,” and go up an elevator (that played some great saxophone music) seven floors.
      Out of that entire journey, the most hated part was not getting hit by the revolving door that spun too fast for my liking or slipping on the marble floor on rainy summer days. In fact, the worst part of that trip was the long anticipated elevator ride, wondering if someone would walk into my private cubicle attached to a couple of wires.
Why must elevator rides be so awkward?
Am I the only one who would rather be in a small, vertically moving box alone rather than being next to a complete stranger?
      Luckily, I am not, and there is actually a site that I found that has ideas on how to make elevator rides less awkward.


o    1
Say Hello. I'm not telling you to start up a full fledged conversation. Say "Hi"-at most "How are you?" Remember, when people ask you "how are you?" they really do not care about how you are! They are attempting to do the same thing you are-which is make this as quick and painless as possible. Speaking is better than not speaking.
o    2
Do not seem too interested in the other person in the elevator. This will come across as creepy, not flattering. A good way to tell whether or not you've done this is if you are the only person in the elevator and there are several other buttons still lit up. Conversely, if you are trapped in an elevator with a creepy person, abandon ship and take the next trip up/down.
o    3
Make eye contact but do not stare. If "hello" is too much for you, look at the person and smile. This can be replaced by a head-nod if you are male. You're making a conscious effort to say, "Yes, I realize there's another person in the elevator with me, but if I wanted to speak, I would have opened my mouth."
o    4
Be courteous: This includes no cell phone talk or bodily noises. At best, this is a 5 x 5 room. We can hear (and smell) everything you may do or say. Enough said.
o    5
Finally, say "Goodbye" or "Have a nice day." If you've greeted the person, you might as well get closure from the encounter. You'll feel immediate relief once you exit the elevator doors. Walk forward, and start to breath normally again!

       I completely agree. But then, there are also those unspoken rules about riding in an elevator, like you must stand facing the door, don’t make eye contact (that’s just creepy), keep your noises to yourself, and don’t speak unless you are asking what floor your new acquaintance would like to leave at. Which do you follow? Which are you allowed break?
      One day, I’m just going to break all the rules. Next time I enter an elevator I’m going to bring a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and for every person that enters, I’ll make eye contact, hand them a cookie, comment on the weather, and ask how the kids are doing.
     Okay, maybe I’m actually too awkward myself to do that, but I think that I shall enjoy my time being stuck with an utterly complete stranger, and revel in the ten seconds we spend together. I think that we shall converse about the weather.