What to Do in an Elevator

When people use lifts, even the most self-aware of people can find themselves becoming socially incompetent, awkward and in many cases plain weird. Even with a group of friends, people can suddenly forget how social conventions are supposed to work and end up humming to themselves or shuffling around like a deranged person. So why is it that lifts can transform us into such weird people?

The change in personal space is a major problem for some, whilst others feel like they have been taken out of their comfort zone and want to either assert their authority or show they mean no harm. A brand new social dynamic has been thrust upon a group of people and therefore people respond in different ways to it. The way we behave isn’t rational in these circumstances, it is inherent, therefore our behaviour suddenly regresses us back to less evolved times.

So how should we act in a passenger lift? What can we do to override these subconscious urges that make us want to suddenly breathe like we have severe respiratory problems or mumble incoherently to ourselves?

First of all, let’s look at the empty passenger lift. Even when you are alone in an elevator, remember there will most likely be CCTV or anther passenger getting in at any time, so remember to always be aware that you might not be as alone as you think.

Ensure you think of others, wherever possible don’t invade personal space, but at the same time try not to cower back like you are expecting everyone inside to be a serial killer. Establish your own space, but be flexible, allowing people on and off and to move around wherever necessary.

Ultimately, just remember to be aware of what you are doing and how you are behaving, and remember that you are in no immediate danger, so instead simply relax and enjoy the ride.

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