"When one door shuts, another one opens." Addendum: Let men do the opening themselves, lest they feel less manly.
According to a new study, men feel less confident when helped by other men.
Research out of Purdue University found that men who had the door held open for them by another man experienced lower self-esteem.
Psychologists Megan McCarty and Janice Kelly positioned a male researcher walking towards a set of double doors at a campus building. When a student approached the doors, the researcher either stepped ahead and opened the door for them, or fell into line with them and reached for the adjacent door so that the two doors opened at the same time. Inside the building, a female researcher approached the 196 subjects with a short questionnaire measuring their self-esteem.
Researchers found that male students who had just had the door opened for them felt less self-confident and had lower self-esteem. (Women were unaffected by the door-holding condition.)
In a paper published in the December 2013 online issue of Social Influence, the researchers suggest that the gesture of opening a door for a man may unintentionally send the message that they are "inferior or too dependent," or feminized in some way.
Our takeaway from this is that college bros have sensitive egos, not necessarily that all men feel their masculinity is under attack when someone unexpectedly does something courteous. Either way, no one is recommending that you stop holding the door open for people.
We think Christina Chaey at Date Report said it best:
Gentlemen, I’m here to tell you upfront: there are lots of great reasons people hold doors open for you, and you should take advantage of every one of them. It might be because you’re holding heavy bags. It might be because I think you’re cute and am trying to find an excuse to interact with you. Or it might just be because holding doors is what I have done for literally everyone for as long as I’ve been able to open doors. You know what it definitely won’t be about? How masculine or generally capable I find you.
Amen. While the findings won't prevent us from holding doors open for men, at least we can tell injured parties "I did it for your own sake" when we forget, or "forget."
[h/t PS Mag]