Who Opens and Holds the Door? | Business Etiquette

Last week Miss Meredith Sweetpea had an awkward situation…she arrived at a door at the same time as a business associate and both people reached for the door at the same time.

In business etiquette, who should open and hold the door for the other?

  • In general rules, the subordinate employee should open the door for the more senior employee (male or female.)
  • When walking with peers, taking turns opening the door is proper.

Of course, in the South, where Miss Meredith lives, is it still acceptable for the gentleman to open and hold the door for ladies as long as the lady does not object.

Here are some quick rules of thumb for particular “jambs”:

Etiquette of Revolving doors

The junior employee, the host, or the stronger person should enter the revolving door first to position it for the next person. He or she waits until the other person to enter the next compartment, then the first person moves the door.

Etiquette of Push doors

The subordinate employee should pass through the push door first and hold it open for the senior person. The employee should make sure to stand clear of the doorway to let the next person/people pass unencumbered.

Etiquette of Restaurant doors

Men can often get stuck holding the door for an arriving crowd. One solution is when holding the door, inch away from it until the gentleman is barely holding it for the next person. Another solution would be to make eye contact with the next male to communicate that he is the next person “assigned” to hold the door.

Five quick door etiquette rules:

  • Junior ranking people should open and hold doors for senior ranking people.
  • Doors should be opened and held for customers and clients.
  • Assistance should be given to anyone with a disability.
  • If there are two doors, the gentleman or host opens the first door. It doesn’t matter who opens the second door.
  • Open and hold the door for anyone who has his or her hands full.

excerpted from The Etiquette Advantage, Rules for the Business Professional by June Hines Moore


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