It’s common for people to hold doors, but how do you make the gesture more acceptable? First, notice how other people behave. Some people simply hurry through the door while others hold the door for those behind them. Others hold doors because they are socialized to do so. Some hold doors to make themselves appear more attractive to women. Others hold doors for others simply out of habit. No matter what your reason, it’s important to remember this common courtesy.
Another reason to hold doors is to reduce the collective effort required for getting around. This kind of courtesy not only increases efficiency, but is also common. After all, no one wants to see a person walk away with a closed door, right? And while it may seem incongruous, holding a door is a common courtesy. In fact, it is rude to let a door shut on someone. In addition, it contradicts the first principle.
The tradition of holding doors for women dates back to medieval times, when chivalry called for men to extend special deference to women. Similarly, the term “ladies first” has its origins in the Victorian era. But these days, modern etiquette rules require men to alternate door opening duties with women. While the tradition is not entirely new, it still remains an important part of society. But women often feel less manly as men open doors for them.
The relationship between the effort expended by the person holding the door and the reciprocal help may be complex. For example, it may be that the individual who has the larger effort spent holding the door than the person who holds it has greater gratitude and reciprocity than those who do not. Further, a positive reciprocal behavior may increase the likelihood of a person offering reciprocal help. In Study II, participants tended to be more grateful and helpful to the door-holder than in Study I.
In addition to being rude to women, men should consider that this behavior does not earn them a woman’s admiration. It’s all about power. It will not endear them to a woman and definitely not get them laid. Hence, it’s better to think twice before attempting something “polite” such as holding the door for a pedestrian or someone standing far away. It’s better to educate our sons about the importance of social etiquette.