1. You are fervently pushing the “door open” button, but, really... you’re not. You feel your mood souring and anxiety rising by the millisecond. Relax, it’s okay! Tell yourself that this is literally the storied cinematic moment when you have an angel sitting on one shoulder, and the devil sitting on the other, and you simply don’t have enough time to thoughtfully process your moral decision. You are not actively trying to be a b-tch!
2. There's someone else in the elevator with you, so that’s already one-stop too many. Accidentally hit the "door close" button with a feigned gasp of clumsiness, and then mumble a half-assed gripe about how you’re blind as a bat. Tell yourself (and your lift-mate) that it’s flu season and you can’t afford to get sick, and that you’re doing everyone a favor by staggering big groups in small spaces.
3. Remind yourself that the last time you waited for your quirky neighbor to hurry into the elevator with you, he wouldn’t stop bemoaning the cold and how Trump’s ruining the environment, and regaling you again with that story about the time he tail-spinned on Apaquogue into Spielberg’s hedges. Glance down at your bruised forearm and recall that when you tried to get off on your floor, you had to go mano-a-mano with the shutting elevator door so many times that an x-ray was eventually needed. You are not a human doorstop, and that’s okay!
4. Your kids need to eat, bathe and do homework, so this train needs to leave the station pronto! Rationalize that no one wants to be in the minuscule elevator with you and your hyper kids anyway. In fact, maybe you do not want to be in the elevator with your children who are doing a butt dance. Consider that your offspring will likely turn angelic in front of others, so toy with the idea of holding the door open. Try not to cry when the desperate gesture is readily rebuked with a dry "I'll catch the next one..."
5. Remind yourself that your dog is waiting for you, panting by the door, hungry and desperately needing to pee, and that he’s been home alone all day. He needs human companionship more than you do right now!
6. Call to mind that time a cheerful, chatty SAT tutor asked you so many questions about your shearling boots, that after several valiant arm/door collisions, the high-pitched alarm started groaning, and sent your innocently waiting dog into a frenzied tailspin that took twenty minutes to mollify, and you missed the start of HQ.
7. As you sink to frustrated slapstick while the door is inching shut on a pregnant woman pushing a double stroller and carrying four bags of groceries, soothe yourself with the knowledge that this is the year that you said you were going to give more to the synagogue’s Yom Kippur appeal. There are so many ways to give; you can’t always be expected to step it up!
7a. When you hear the fading wail of the crying baby as you slowly ascend, console your itchy conscious by opening your New York Post App, and remembering that in the greater scheme of humanity, you are still much better than most.
8. Avoid department store elevators at all costs. Clumsy, sluggish doors will stay open for insufferably long times, and after you've rapid-fire depressed the "door close" button like a coke addict playing wii, you will be tempted to slaughter the 20th person who moseys over and causes the flirting doors to pull apart for the 20th time. Go ahead and tell yourself you're not the kind of person who would shut out a paraplegic, but you will be. There are no conciliatory words here other than to take the escalator.
9. Lastly, a great way to get the devil off your back is to sporadically make a grandiose gesture of... wait for it... waiting for someone! Every once in a blue moon, hold the door open for someone before they even know they have it coming. You hear distant footsteps but there's no one in your line of sight and you could easily depart unscathed? Don't!! Wait it out!! Stick around with a shit-eating grin on your face, and when said footsteps finally turn the corner and look up, they will think you were raised by nuns.
Added bonus: You will learn slight muscle memory for where the "door open" button is located, which is good to know on the rare occasion you earnestly need it. It's lose-lose when you bumble about like a schmo pressing things at random, and ungracefully let the door shut in the face of that special someone who can get the table at Rao's or heads admissions at Yale. When one door closes, another will not necessarily open!