Elevator sliders blamed in self-esteem dip

Elevator sliders

There’s a new threat to your self-esteem, and it could be standing right next to you in the elevator. It’s called the elevator slider – a random person you happen to share an elevator ride with who slides away from you the moment space becomes available.

I’ve encountered these people numerous times, and let me tell you now, they’re ruthless and oblivious to the incidental demolition of your self-confidence.

Just when you think you smell absolutely fantastic with that new Calvin Klein cologne you just bought, you would be instantly toppled from your pedestal of perfumery and left wondering, “Do I smell like a rancid goat?”

Or be made to wonder whether or not you still have that foul morning breath even though you’re positively certain you’ve brushed, flossed, and Listerined your mouth prior to leaving your place.

It only takes one heartless slide.

It is unknown exactly how many people have fallen victim to the phenomenon, but it is widely believed that one is more likely to encounter elevator sliders in metropolitan areas.

“I’d say that’s about right. They don’t have a lot of elevators in the countryside,” says elevator expert Charles A. Buckman.

Buckman adds that he knows a few farmers and ranchers who live in elevatorless towns and villages, and they all seem to be “psychologically well-adjusted.”

Nevertheless, if you’ve been slid away from in an elevator, don’t despair. It’s not you, it’s them.

Experts of proxemics – the study of the use of space in social situations – say that elevator sliding is a natural reflex action hard-wired into the human brain and shouldn’t be taken personally.

“We all have an invisible personal space that extends around us like a bubble,” says Dr. David A. Gershaw. “If someone invades this space, it makes us feel very uncomfortable. Often, the reaction is to move away.”

Anthropologist Edward T. Hall, who studied proxemics in many different cultures, says that in North America, the typical personal distance most people accommodate is between 1.5 to 4 feet. This is the spacing we use when talking to friends.

“The elevator is one of those rare places where this distance is severely compromised, yet there is nothing one can do but hope that someone else gets off quickly to free up some space,” says Hall. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it if someone were to slide away from me in an elevator.”

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