UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | October 01, 2022

Riding elevators stress-inducing through awkward social interaction

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Standing in a crowded space can be awkward for many people.

Some elevator passengers tend to overlook personal boundary lines in a tight space and make the already uneasy atmosphere even more uncomfortable.

“It’s pretty creepy when people just stare at you,” said Mindy Allred, a junior sociology major from Roy. “I always talk to people, and I suppose that could make some people feel awkward.”

Rachel Heinrich, a freshman psychology major from St. George, said she avoids riding the elevator and tries to use the stairs as much as possible. 

“The first day of school at Dixie, I got on the elevator of the Hazy building,” Heinrich said. “I couldn’t find the dang stairs, which were right next to the elevator. This weirdo dude was in it and he just stared at me the whole way down. He wasn’t being a creeper or anything; he was just looking at me like I was some sort of foreign creature.”

Heinrich said she got off the elevator at the next floor even though it wasn’t her floor. she said she never got on an elevator again.

Allred said she’s experienced many odd elevator rides, including people who were fighting, crying, singing, farting or making out. 

“It’s super weird and kind of gross when [people] are getting down in the elevator and don’t even notice that you’re there,” she said. “[If someone farts] I usually start laughing and hope it doesn’t stink. I would definitely consider getting out on the next floor.”

Some passengers use their cellphones to avoid making eye contact or conversing with others on board, regardless of what other passengers are doing.

In an experiment, Dixie Sun News staff members dressed in costumes and filmed some elevator moments. The costumes included a man in full body green suit and a polar bear. The green man also made people uncomfortable as he would stand unneccessarily close to them and stare at them.

Most people would pull out their phones and fiddle with them so they would not have to engage the creeper in a green suit. The polar bear would attempt to hug people. Being in a tight space, many people did not want to hug the polar bear. Instead they tried to get off the elevator as quickly as possible.

“I really wanted to laugh,” said Julio Rodriguez, a junior accounting major from Torrance, Calif. “I was just holding it in because I didn’t want to be rude or anything.”

Araceli Aleman, a junior physical therapy major from Fillmore, said elevator rides usually are awkward, but the experiment was funny because it was weird and tripped her out.

People getting into elevators, who normally don’t feel comfortable around strangers in a tight place, should be aware the trip up and down is likely to be awkward. Some ways people can pass the time are to occupy themselves with something out of their pockets or pick a corner and stare at it like it’s trouble. Also if someone gets the urge, he or she can just be the odd one who passes time talking to everyone else climbing on the elevator.