Let’s say you’re walking into your office and your male boss is following behind you: Do you hold the door open? Research suggests it could be a bad idea.
A recent study by Purdue University psychologists Megan McCarty and Janice Kelly found that opening a door for a guy makes them less confident.
McCarty and Kelly
asked male research assistants to stand in front of a university building and look for men and women. The assistants let some people walk by and opened the door for others. Afterward a clipboard-wielding female assistant stopped them and asked them to agree or disagree with statements relating to their self-esteem, such as, “I feel that I have a number of good qualities,” and, “I can learn almost anything if I set my mind to it.”
Of the 221 people tested this way, 122 were women and 99 were men. The experiment didn’t include women opening the door for men, so we don’t know how the gender of the door-opener affects people.
Guys who’d just had the door opened for them scored lower on self-esteem metrics than those who didn’t, but there wasn’t a difference for women. Why? Because it’s “socially unusual” for a dude to have a door held open for him, according to
BPS Research Digest. According to the researchers, the polite gesture makes dudes feel vulnerable and needy, while it was an everyday thing for the ladies.
The office takeaway: If you work for a dude and don’t want to belittle him, don’t open the door for him.