Does a guy still have to hold the door open for a woman? Or is it considered condescending to hold open a door and have to wait for her to walk through? My girlfriend gets very upset when I hold the door open for her but not for the random person behind us.
–L.J., Brooklyn, NY
About gender etiquette. Holding open the door that you’ve just passed through for the person walking in behind you is not about etiquette gender. It is a matter of courtesy to the next person who, by the way, is headed in the same direction. You do ‘the heavy lifting’ out of respect whether they are of the male or female persuasion, young or old, or same socioeconomic or ethnic background.
Holding the door open for the person behind you is basic good manners.
Opening a car door for someone is a thoughtful gesture — even romantic.
Do you stand up when a women comes into a room or sits down at a table? Standing is a welcoming gesture. Do you pull out a woman’s chair when you sit down at a table? Certainly if it is a formal occasion, you would. When you’re at a pub and the woman you’re with goes outside to make a call and comes back to the table, do you stand? Probably not.
Put it this way, whether the person is your same sex or not, standing up and acknowledging someone entering the scene is good manners because you’re welcoming that person into the room or to sit at the table. If the person has already been seated once, and comes back to the table, you wouldn’t necessarily stand again, unless it was a formal occasion.
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