Door holding denotes care for others

by Whitney Carter

Holding the door  is a simple thing and should not be a stressful situation. The problem is too often it’s a struggle to deal with the issue of distance. As a woman on the Whitworth campus, I’ve found that a lot of guys are eager to hold open doors. I would say that it’s a lot more common than outside of Whitworth.

Guys will go to great lengths to get the door open for the Whitworth ladies. Just the other day I was walking to the HUB with a couple of my female friends and there was a group of guys walking beside/behind us. When we got close to the HUB, one of the group members ran ahead to get the door for us. Another one of the group members ran and got the second door before we could reach for it.

On the flip side, it bugs me when people make eye contact with me and I am clearly in a zone where it’s not obviously going to inconvenience you to hold the door and you just let it close. Come on; you saw me and you just let it close.

I always try to open the door for people. It stresses me out when I misread the situation and hold the door open for someone who’s a little farther away than I anticipated; they do this little hop/skip/run thing and I feel bad. I do not mean to make this situation stressful for anyone; I’m just trying to help, I promise!

Cognitive scientist, Art Markman, Ph.D, analyzes the social behaviors involved in door-holding etiquette. He says that we like to hold open doors for other people because we like to minimize the effort of other people. He also points out that we might be willing to hold the door open for a longer period of time for a larger group of people. That way we are minimizing the effort of more people.

“In some ways, this is just a cultural version of the golden rule,” Markman said. “If everyone does things for others that they would like to have done for them, it ultimately makes everyone’s life a little better and these little things add up over time.”

I think that I hold open the door just to make someone’s day a little better. It has led to some stressful situations on my part. Despite all of this, I think that it’s worth it. Helping someone, even just a little bit, could make someone else’s day better which would make my day a little bit better.

Contact Whitney Carter at wcarter16@my.whitworth.edu

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