BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

Always Hold the Door Open

Do you ever stress over something, even though you know it’s not worth your worry?

I do. I do it multiple times a day.

Along with making the bed and taking out the trash, as a kid my parents taught me to always hold the door open for others.

So naturally, in time, it became second-nature. And it still is today.

Even before I reach for the handle, I’m already turning my head to see if anyone is coming up behind me.

This is where the unnecessary stress has surfaced.

Why?

Because I can’t stand holding the door open for someone who’s too far away.

Not because I’m a jerk, but because I don’t want the other person to feel like one.

One second, they’re minding their own business. The next, they’re on my time, forced to break into that awkward, sped-up walk that’s supposed to look like a run, because they don’t want to slow me down.

(Or, at least, that’s what the people pleaser inside me worries is happening.)

To avoid these clumsy interactions, I’ve started calibrating my gait — sometimes I slow down so the two of us arrive at the door simultaneously; other times I pick up the pace to create a large enough gap so I can open and close the door without coming off as a jackass.

Typing this out and seeing it on screen has only reiterated what a big waste of energy this is — and what an idiot I am for worrying about it.

The reality is that I should conserve those resources for bigger and better endeavors.

And the next time I find myself in that should-I-stay-or-should-I-go middle ground, I can eliminate any stress and indecision simply by adhering to another lesson my parents taught me:

You can never go wrong being a gentleman.

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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