Exit Preferences for the Self-Absorbed

When you’re walking into a building and someone behind you is walking into the same building, the polite thing to do is hold the door for them. If you’re a man and you’re getting off an elevator and there’s a woman who’s also leaving on your floor, the standard social grace (although not if you’re a creep about it) is to step to the side and let the woman leave first. Or the elderly person. Or the family with kids. Or anyone else, really.

But not quite everyone. Should you hold a door and wait for a person who is engrossed in their phone, who is studiously avoiding even a hint of personal contact with everyone around them?

No. Those who choose to remove themselves from society entirely also must give up on some of its graces.

Also, people buried in their phones move really slowly. So it’s ok to go through a door before them.

Now, I’m not advocating for letting a door close in front of someone whose head is in their phone, so they smack into it in a daze. It’s not funny, nor is it justified. Someone could get hurt. One should hold a door open for someone even if they don’t acknowledge the favor. Etiquette isn’t about payback, it’s about doing the right thing regardless.

But I am saying that when it comes to taking one’s place in a crowd of polite people, those on their phones move to the back of the line.

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