Elevator Etiquette: Shhhh!!??

We’ve all heard of the usual elevator etiquette like, holding the doors if someone is coming, pressing the floor button if you’re the closest, standing away from the doors before they open to let anyone out before you barge on in, etc., but what about the elevator chatter?  More specifically, elevator chatter in your office building.

Sure, it’s polite to say some sort of salutation, or even smile to acknowledge their existence, if someone is already in the elevator, but then what?  If it’s just the two of you, or maybe even one other person, it can be SOOO uncomfortable to stand there to go up in complete silence.  Even if someone is going from the first floor to the second, are people secretly thinking, “why didn’t you just walk up the stairs?”  Or how about the mirrored elevator doors that both men and women check themselves out in as if they were alone?  I guess that’s really a whole other topic.

What I want to find out is: is it more polite to stand there in silence?  What if I’m getting on the elevator with another co-worker and we were in the middle of a conversation before we got on; does the conversation stop?  And vice versa.  If i’m getting on the elevator when others are in the middle of a conversation, do they stop?  Is it even rude?

Personally, I’ve  been on elevators where people were talking and they kept on talking and it’s no big wup to me because it sure beats the uncomfortable silence that I tend to experience.  And as far as continuing a conversation or not, I’ve done both.  I’ve stopped my conversation until I get off on my floor and I’ve continued other conversations.  For me it depends on how many people are in the elevator and, sometimes, WHO is in it.

I’m on the fence about how to handle these situations moving forward because recently I experienced a full elevator ride where I was talking with someone and another person felt the need to jump in on the conversation.  I turned to look at them because I didn’t hear what was said and I wasn’t sure if they were even talking to me/us?  After all, no one else on the elevator was talking so they must have been talking to us.  Anyway, I continued my conversation, only to be interrupted again with whatever it was they felt so compelled to contribute to my conversation.  It was odd.  Does this happen more often than I realize?  I was actually kind of put off about it, but i’m not one to be rude or nasty about things, so I just let it pass.  I smiled politely and stopped talking until we reached our floor.

Problem solved, right?  I’m just not sure about this.  I have so many questions that need answers – so many ‘what if’s’.  Maybe next time I should follow my usual MO and zip the lips since the elevator was full of people.


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