We use doors every day. And, inevitably, we cross paths with others using those same entrances and exits.
Opening a door for someone, holding a door open for the person behind you, or gesturing another to pass through first, is simple kindness. It’s as much of a standard of polite behavior as not crowding in a line or cutting in the path of another pedestrian on the sidewalk.
The etiquette of letting someone else go first is typically taught from a very young age. Whether or not you follow this rule, you sure recognize what it feels like when others choose not to observe it.
In the spirit of courtesy and in line with common sense, door etiquette is simply another aspect of being mindful of other people.
Traditionally, in public or a social setting, a gentleman opens doors for a lady. And this is not uncommon today.
Particularly in dating situations, a man enjoys showing courtesies to the apple of his eye.
However, dating situations and gender roles are becoming a bit blurred in today's society. If you are out with someone for whom a traditional courtesy is not important, observe the "first come, first serve" guideline above.
And if you are a woman who doesn't prefer that a gentleman hold the door for you, accept this courtesy with a polite "thank you" anyway. How can you fault someone for being nice?
It is still appropriate for a man to open a car door for a woman. Actually, if you are the driver of the car (whether male or female), you are in the role of host, making it appropriate for you to open the door for your passenger to enter your vehicle.
On a night out, if a woman is wearing a dress, skirt, or shoes that makes an event of entering and exiting a car, she may need some assistance. If you are her date and are unable to enter the car from the opposite side, you may enter first so she doesn't have to enter the car and then slide over (possibly making more of a scene).
As the practice of etiquette is most often situational, here are a few specific door etiquette guidelines:
As you've read, door etiquette is mostly common sense with a dose of kindness. Practice this courtesy as you go about your business of life. Your reward will be many smiles and much gratitude.