I’ve already previously covered the social goat spoon of how far behind a stranger has to be before there is no need to hold a door open for them. This point was SO well made by me even Jesus took time out from being back alive to tap my head and tell me what a good little creation I was. His dad thought it was shit though – miserable bearded…
The whole door thing came back into my thoughts again today whilst following a stranger through a large office block. I was troubled as to how many times I should thank the person for briefly holding each door open for me to grab after they went through first. Every door? A selection?
Obviously the first door is a given. You have to say thank-you. This person has put himself out for 1.4 seconds, which could have been used being 2.8 metres closer to his final destination. But then the second door, a brief almost embarrassed ‘cheers’? The third, the fourth? Try not saying anything and the dead air starts to twist its bony fingers around your ungrateful neck.
I think the trick is to say something new every door:
1st Door: ‘Thank you’
2nd Door ‘Cheers’
3rd Door ‘Got it.’
4th Door ‘ahhhh’
5th Door (OK you can keep this one silent but make sure your extra proactive in grabbing that door as quickly possible)
6th Door to the car-park ‘THANK YOU’ (Give it large on this one – it’s a kind of summary thank-you, one that fills in the gaps for any slips on the previous five.)
Once you’ve been following strangers through doors for a while, you may even like to experiment with saying nothing until the final door. Yes, the door holder may be a little peeved before you come to hit your one line, but if you append your ‘Thank-you’ with a ‘very-much’ (with the ‘very much’ executed with a tone of suprise and delight normally reserved for someone buying you a bike) then they will go away possibly more satisfied than if you’ve struggled through all six separately. But don’t try this one thank-you technique until you really have had lots of experience in following people.
I know what some of you are thinking: ‘I’m not up to it Matt – it’s ok for a social God like yourself - but I just can’t face wading through this social stew. Well OK, I’d reply looking at you sympathetically/contemptibly before I chucked up my kebab of problem-solving. Try this: Get in front of the target as soon as possible. Put them on the back foot, make them face the minefield of following you. Please be aware this can end in dirty back-fire, I’ve seen two social inadequates simultaneously attempt to use this technique, thus creating a door-social-discomfort-race-condition. I’ve seen two gingers literally sprint past, hitting each other with floppy-disks in an attempt to reach the door first.
As in all cases of walking towards doors, let common sense guide you and the voices in your head tell you that it’s ok if you do THAT!