When that little light next to your suite’s fire door glows green, a whole new world opens. A normal suite transforms into a lively highway, traveled by friends, friends of friends, and sometimes drunken strangers who can only mumble, “They said it was this way …”

Fire door etiquette is complex. When someone passes through the first time, welcome him with a hearty “hello.” As that person returns from the other direction, raise your head to offer a slight nod and minimal eye contact. If the traveler realizes he forgot his calculator in the next room and again barges in, take the safe course of action and keep your nose buried in your reading material. After he passes through with his calculator, if he enters yet again, and you realize you have read the same paragraph seven times, the normal rules of conduct no longer apply. Extend a leg to send him tumbling, or demand that he pay a toll.

Although an open fire door can detract from a serene suite, they can facilitate strong bonds that could never form across flights of stairs. Only a few strides away, one can find homework help, late-night snacks, or a good laugh. Open fire doors can turn a floor into a family.

Red and green fire door lights lead to different residential college experiences, so choose wisely.