Is it illegal to have small talk on an elevator?

So fiancé and I live in this apartment where we’re often faced with riding with people in the elevator. Though we don’t really talk to them when we’re going up or down but I am really interested to know if it is illegal or not to have small talk on an elevator. So in this article we are going to explore if that is a legal or not.

No, in almost every state it is not illegal to have small talk in an elevator. But there is one state that is different. New York. In New York, some say its illegal to have small talk in an elevator.

Though no one can find this law or prove that it still exists. This doesn’t mean it was never a law though.

Now that we have given you the answer, let’s go ahead and explore some other interesting ideas around this topic.

Wait, Is This Really Illegal?

This is a photo of the New York skyline depicting all the sky scrapers.

That’s a great question and it’s kind of difficult to find the actual law on their website. From what I’ve read around and talked to some officials, it seems that the law was put in place when New York was first growing and they had an issue with elevators breaking down. Another thing to think about is New Yorkers are known to flare their arms when they talk and if there’s a lot of people in one congested area then it can lead to distress if an elevator is breaking down.

Though it would be good to note a few lawyers I’ve talked to have said they’ve never even seen the law or heard of the law. So it’s really up in the air if it actually exists or not.

While the law is still technically out in the air, I wouldn’t expect to see any cop enforcing this unless you’re actively harassing someone within the elevator.

Would They Still Enforce This Law?

this photo is two businessmen having small talk in an elevator

It would be good to mention that even though you’re probably allowed to talk to people. If their not wanting to talk to you and you push your limits, then you could be charged with something. It’s always best to just be courteous and not to speak to someone if they don’t want to talk to you.

What Do Other States Say?

New York seems to be the fluke with this law. Most states do not have a law specifically for small talk in elevators, but they do have general harassment laws that can apply. It’s important to remember to be respectful and courteous while speaking to someone in an elevator or any public space.

Now, How Can You Be Courteous In An Elevator?

Below I’m going to list a couple ways in which you can be courteous if you’re an elevator full of people:

  • If someone is on their phone or doesn’t look like they want to talk, don’t try to engage them in conversation
  • Personal space: It’s important to remember that everyone has their own personal bubble and to not invade it
  • Don’t speak too loudly: Try to keep your voice at a lower volume
  • Respect people’s privacy: Don’t try to listen in on their conversation or make assumptions about them.

These are a few good ways in which you can be courteous while sharing a ride up or down with your fellow humans.

Steps To Take If You’re Being Harassed On An Elevator

First, try to remove yourself from the situation by getting off at the next floor or saying something along the lines of “I don’t feel comfortable talking right now.”

Some other tips would be:

  • Trust your gut and if you feel uncomfortable, try to remove yourself from the situation
  • Let someone know if you are being harassed or feel unsafe
  • If possible, try to remember details about the person who is harassing you such as their appearance or any distinguishing features
  • Contact the building management or security if necessary


To wrap things up, it’s important to remember that while small talk in an elevator may not be illegal in most states, it’s still important to be respectful and courteous of others. It’s also good to note that harassment laws do still apply in public spaces like elevators. Remember to trust your gut and remove yourself from any uncomfortable situations.