How to Ride an Elevator

April 10, 2012

Elevator etiquette, who knew it was so hard to figure out? Working on the top floor of an office building, I’ve come to realize it’s a very difficult thing for some people. I just don’t get it. Let’s start at the beginning shall we?

You approach the elevator and see two buttons, one to go up, one to go down. Push the button you need and notice it light up. If the light goes off, there’s no need to push it again, it hasn’t broken. Your elevator has arrived. Get in.

If you approach an elevator that already has the appropriate light lit up, there’s really no need to push it again. It’s already coming and pushing the button repeatedly isn’t going to speed it up any. It’s called patience, get some.

Once the elevator arrives, don’t storm in thinking you own the place. Often there are others who would like to get off. Wait a second and make sure it’s empty before you get on. There’s nothing worse than someone storming in and everyone trying to get out around them. Remember that word I said earlier? Patience.

But wait, the elevator has come, people have got off but you’re not sure if this elevator is going up or down. That’s easy, there’s a light near the door indicating the elevator’s direction of travel. Check it out and see which direction is lit up. It’s really not necessary to look dumbfounded and ask fellow passengers which way it’s going. The elevator does the guess work for you.

So you’ve determined your direction of travel, everyone else is off and you’re free to get on. Find the floor you want and hit the button. Again, if it’s already lit up, it’s really not necessary to push it again. The elevator doesn’t move faster the more times a button is pushed. This button also does not close the elevator doors, there’s another button for that.

Also, when you get in an elevator and see that the button for the main floor, where you’re going, is pushed, you don’t need to ask ‘main?’ as if you aren’t sure if I’ve ninja rigged the elevator to stop on a floor secretly without having a button pushed. Yes, I’m going to main.

Now I find it polite to move to a back corner, away from the door if you are travelling to the floors farthest away. If you’re going from the main floor to the top floor, you won’t be in the way of anyone trying to get off in between. On the other hand, if you are only going up a floor or two (which you could really take the stairs for, you don’t need to be so lazy), try and stay close to the door. It sure is a pain trying to worm your way out of the back of a full elevator.

Perhaps you are riding in an elevator with a few buttons pushed, indicating a few stops. Don’t get confused about which floor you are on and whether it’s the one you want or not. There’s generally an indicator that tells you exactly which floor you’re landing on. Watch that so you don’t have to do that dumbfounded, ‘Is this the 7th floor’ thing again.

One more thing I would like to address is the ‘door open’ and ‘door close’ buttons. These can be different for every elevator. The elevator in my building apparently is confusing though. No one can figure out what the arrows mean. Last time I checked, arrows pointing in a certain direction meant movement was in that same direction. Is this still correct or did I miss the memo of amendments there?  Arrows pointing away from each other like so <.>means the doors will open (my elevator doors meet in the middle, if you’re following here). Arrows pointing inwards >.< should then mean the doors will close. I’m not sure where the confusion comes in but it’s there. I’ve witnessed far too many people closing the door on someone trying to get on or someone keeping the door open while we are trying to close it and move on with life.

Elevators are handy in that they tell you exactly what you need to know to ride them. They are basic enough that the general public should really have no issue operating them. But apparently the same common sense I posses is missing in some folks because nearly every day I come across someone who just can’t figure the elevator out. It’s really not rocket science folks.


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  • Reply
    April 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    i knew all of that! man am I ever smart! its pretty sad that some people can’t grab the simplest concept of an elevator, they should probably just be taking the stairs.

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    I’d add “if you need to use the elevator to get to the main floor from the second floor, you are a lazy asshole.”

  • Reply
    April 13, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Haven’t you noticed that more and more people are seriously lacking in common-sense??! Lol. It’s so frustrating! I do hate though, when there is no “lobby” or “main” floor button and they just refer to that floor as floor “1”. THAT can get confusing 😉

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