I opened the door and habitually held the door open for the woman coming from the gas pumps. She said, “I’m sorry,” and hurried through the door.
My parents taught me to hold doors for people: young, old, middle-aged, male, and female. This was taught to me and quickly became an expectation any time I walked through the door. My eyes scan the area in front of me and behind me to ensure that I do not drop a door on anyone. I have begun passing the duty and privilege onto my son as the opportunity arises.
In 30 years of holding doors, there are multiple categories of responses from people. The woman at the gas station is an apologizer.
The Apologizer: This person feels compelled to apologize for not moving fast enough through the door or for inconveniencing me for having to wait for them. I am doing you a favor. I want to help you in a small way. There is no need to apologize to me. A simple nod or word of thanks would be a better response.
The Door Grabber: This person does not trust me. He (usually it’s a he) grabs the door and gives me a glare as if I am baiting him to walk through the door and then I will drop it on him. I am trying to help you in a small way. You insult me by thinking I would be so rude as to drop the door on you as you walk over the threshold. I am sorry that you were burned at the threshold in a previous experience.
The Takeover: This person wants the credit for being a “nice guy.” While I have the door open he (again, usually it is a guy) dismisses me from my duty by pushing the door farther back or gentling prodding me with stares or the invasion of personal space. You are welcome to hold the door. It is not my desire to take humble glory (I use this phrase advisedly) from you. Just don’t treat me like an enemy. We both want to help people.
The Runner: This person sees me with the door opens and tries to go faster so that I do not have to wait for him/her. I am giving up a moment of my day to help you. There is no need to rush. I want to help. Just stay at your pace and keep walking.
The Refuser: This person does not want help. They take over the door and ask me to continue on my way. I am not sure if it is pride, but that is what is seems. I was just trying to help. Heaven forbid someone should help you do anything.
The DIY: This person does not want to walk through your open door, so they open another door and walk through it. Okay, thanks for not walking over my imaginary friend. Have a great day.
Quid Pro Quo: This person opens the next door to pay me back for the first open door. Thank you!
The Grateful: This person says “thank you” or “thanks” or “’preciate it” or gives a nod of thanks. You’re Welcome!