Paying It Forward is Only Beneficial When People are Watching

I don’t remember the last time I saw someone hold the door open for a stranger. What I, as a child growing up in the southern region of the Midwest, considered to be a common courtesy, now seems forward and odd.

The only definite times it makes sense to shuffle ahead of a crowd to prop open a heavy door are:

a.) when the person behind you has just won the lottery and is fond of doling out tips to anonymous doormen

b.) when the person ahead you is carrying something heavy and says, “Hey, this is heavy. Can you hold the door?” (unless you are listening to your iPod, in which case it is socially acceptable to ignore this request)

c.) when the person behind you has no hands

Letting the door slam in the face of whoever is walking slowly behind you is logical in that it allows you to get a table first, guaranteeing more quickly served food (while those who entered the restaurant a few seconds later may be too late to get any at all), or to give your number to the most attractive person on the dance floor without worrying that yours is just one of a handful.

Life’s a competition and it isn’t necessarily worth your time to hold the door for someone who’s on his or her way to a date with someone else. Unless, of course, that most-attractive-person-on-the-dance-floor sees you hold the door and thinks you’re hotter for it.

Published at See Gauge Blog on April 5, 2012.



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