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Stairs Etiquette 101 (Yes, There's a Right Way!)

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics - hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

Learn the etiquette for stairs

Learn the etiquette for stairs

The Right Way to Use Stairs

You would think climbing stairs and walking down stairs would be an easy enough task, but apparently, figuring out the proper way to do so is not that easy for some folks. So yes, it is time for Stairs Etiquette 101.

First and foremost, the etiquette I would like to cover today is the proper use of public stairs. I have to believe (of course, I've been wrong before!) that most people know how to use the stairs in their home. I have to hope people have that one figured out because I am really afraid for society as a whole if I need to discuss that. Since I am on the subject, I will give you some basics for using your stairs at home.

Etiquette for Stairs at Home

  • Don't knock anyone down the stairs.
  • Don't trip anyone while using the stairs.
  • Pick up your stuff and don't clutter the stairs. It is a safety hazard.

There, I feel like I covered that information enough. If you are still having difficulty figuring out proper stairs etiquette in your own home, I am sorry. There is not a whole lot more I can do for you. Good luck with that.

The real purpose of writing Stairs Etiquette 101 is to discuss proper etiquette when using public stairs. There are many people using stairs in public places that are not minding their manners. I would like to give those people some helpful tips. By the way, all three suggestions for the proper use of stairs in your home also applies to public stairs. Please do not trip anyone, knock anyone over, or clutter public stairs either!

1. Keep to One Side of the Stairs

When using the stairs in a public place, such as an office building, shopping center, or other similar location, it is a good idea to stay to one side while climbing the stairs. If the staircase is pretty narrow, please do not walk down the center of the stairs, especially if you see other people are trying to use it. Guess what? No one can jump over you and there is nowhere to go. It is stairs! So move over to the side so the rest of us can use them.

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I've found that many people tend to walk on the right side of the stairs in the U.S. since we drive on the right side of the road. If you see this is what the crowd is doing, you should do this as well. Now is not the time to rebel against the rest of society. Go get some crazy piercing or something if you want to be rebellious. Don't walk in the middle of the stairs and block everyone else.


2. Look Before Starting

If you are about to use the stairs and it is an extremely tight space that will only fit one person at a time, stop, look around, and see if anyone else is already using the stairs. If you see a person coming your way down the stairs when you are trying to go up, WAIT for that person to come down the stairs. You see, once again, no one is going to want to try to squeeze around you. If you see another person coming, it is very rude to continue on your way anyway. No one can jump over you and no one should have to turn around to go back up the stairs just because you are rude.


3. Leave the Railing for Those that Need It

Sometimes people just take up a lot of space on the stairs. This is just a fact of life. A person might be overweight, or he is carrying 5 bags, or she is holding a child's hand walking him up the stairs. If there are a lot of people using the stairs, mind the people around you. If it looks like someone is having some problems, make sure you leave some space so that person can hold on to the railing. For instance, if you are walking along and not using the railing, but you see an elderly person that seems to be having some issues, make sure there is some space for that person to get beside the railing. Some people (myself included) are prone to dizzy spells on the stairs and really need the railing at times. If you don't need it, don't hog that space.

Furthermore, while we are on the topic of the railing, how about everyone stop leaving mystery substances on the railing? Please do not add a ton of lotion to your hands just as you are about to grab the railing to climb the stairs. I mean, seriously, why would you choose that moment to apply lotion anyway? At least... I hope it is lotion. Yuck! For that matter, if you are eating, oh, I don't know, a Cinnabon or something, don't smear that on the railing either. You see, those of us that rely on the railing might slide on that stuff. Then we might fall down the stairs and die. You don't want to kill someone, do you? So stop being gross!

4. Don't Bang the Door Open

If you are lucky enough to live in an apartment building or office building that has poorly lit, concrete stairs stuck in the back of the building somewhere, I'll bet you just love using those stairs, right? Normally these stairs also have a giant, heavy door that you must use to access the stairs. Inevitably, there is always at least one person in any building that loves to push that door as hard as possible to get into the stairs. Oh, good for you! You are so strong since you can slam that heavy door into the stairwell like that! Oh look, you just knocked out someone that was trying to use the stairs.

If you have to push on a door to get to the stairs, please keep in mind you are not the only person using those stairs. There could be someone walking by at the exact moment you push in the door. If you are not careful, you are going to harm that person. Open the door slowly so you and anyone else using the stairs, has the opportunity to move out of the way. This is especially the case if the fire alarm is sounding off and everyone is forced to use the stairs at once. Keep in mind, an entire building full of people needs to evacuate. Don't kill anyone with the door just to save yourself from a little smoke coming from overcooked popcorn in a microwave oven.

Fun With Etiquette!

I hope this has been another extremely informative time for you. Now you know all the basics on using public stairs and the etiquette that goes along with it. In general, the basic rule you need to know is do everything in your power so another human does not fall down the stairs while using them. If you look at it that way, I am sure you can't go wrong. Thanks for reading and happy stairs climbing to you!

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