Uh oh, you’ve simultaneously got your arm trapped in the lift door, spilled your coffee on the ground and grunted expletives in front of a group of people who don’t even know you. After the wriggle into the elevator, buckle up for the most awkward 45 seconds of your clumsy existence.
But why do elevator encounters have to be so awkward? Whether you’re running into someone you were hoping to avoid or you realise your breath has the diffusion power of a nuclear warhead, here are 5 ways to triumph over any awkward elevator situation.
1. Get to the back wall
If you’ve done something embarrassing already or just want to stay out of plain sight, get that wall on your back. No-one will recognise your face and you can judge the backs of people’s heads silently. You will, if you’re on a lower floor, have to elbow your way through the crowd but let’s tackle one problem at a time.
2. Be the first to crack a joke
Rule one of awkward situations, don’t be the butt of the joke. If something unfortunate happens to you, be self-deprecating not defensive. If something happens to someone else, stay silent and laugh at them on the inside.
3. The nod of solidarity
Everyone has unlucky days and it’s our job to try to resist the hypocrisy of mockery. There’s a specific look saved for occasions like when someone trips and than catches the eye of another, it’s called the nod of solidarity. We’re all imperfect humans who deserve a compassionate glance to say: “Hey, it happens – I won’t tell”.
4. Don’t do anything that would make getting trapped with you a nightmare
If you’re as afraid of lifts as you should be (which is a lot), you’ll analyse the people who could potentially become your cellmates if the power goes out like it does in the films. Don’t be the person that everyone dreads being stuck with and don’t be the person who’s most likely to be eaten first.
5. Take the stairs
People speak too highly of elevators anyway. Do your body and social rep a favour and take the stairs. That way if you do trip over or fart or pull your headphones out of your phone and start an impromptu Wham! DJ set, no-one will be around to see or hear it; result.