“I don't think we should ever shake hands ever again...”
-- Dr. Anthony Fauci
No more handshakes? Stephen Colbert calls it, “bad news for secret societies,” and Jimmy Fallon notes, “[It] will be weird when every job interview starts with an awkward chest bump.” So, what might be appropriate greetings in the hygiene-conscious, post-handshake era?
As per the Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders debate, many are now employing new etiquette in the form of an elbow bump. But there are several alternatives to this gentle arm nudge. Fist bumps have been around for some time, though, they too, involve skin-skin contact. Some have suggested non-contact foot-shakes. Perhaps the most practical and aesthetically pleasing is Asian-influenced “Namaste” hand gesture, which is contact-free and strikes a humble, respectful tone.
For a time, it will surely be hard to battle the deep-rooted instinct to extend a hand. (Tweet it!) German Prime Minister Angela Merkel was left hanging after her interior minister denied her outstretched hand. And the Dutch prime minister announced a no-handshake rule, then turned and shook a health officials’ hand—promptly apologizing. It is fairly certain that salutations will involve a new normal—but what it will be is unclear.
What would be your preference for a handshake replacement? To join the conversation, click "comments" above.
6/16/2020 11:08:21 am
Elbow bumps makes the most sense.
6/16/2020 12:40:58 pm
Yes, we’ve transitioned from fist bumping to elbow bumping. It does seem like the safest approach at this point. To be honest, I did shake hands with our dentist after my recent appointment, but I immediately washed my hands afterward. Thanks for this Bobbi, it’s nice to hear from you.
6/16/2020 11:10:22 am
A couple of weeks ago I again started shaking hands with those that allowed it. I did not realize how much I missed this greeting and how good it felt to again have that connection with others. And I will continue to shake others hands. Because shaking hands and touching others is not the problem, rather it is passing the contaminant to ones face, eyes and mouth when touching with those contaminated hands. So today I always wash or sanitize my hands after shaking, something we should have been doing all along. This is an easy solution for the problem with this long time greeting.
6/16/2020 12:41:54 pm
I personally experienced the sanitary conditions in your dental practice and can attest to your medical skill. You were the first person I shook hands with and it did feel like a very connecting moment. Like you, I also washed my hands afterward. I’m sure you would agree that some are still quite uncomfortable with any form of physical contact outside or their family. Our primary care doc has been fist bumping for five years. By the way, the recent bonding is holding up quite well. Thanks for this George.
6/17/2020 09:52:59 am
Wow! I hadn't thought about the idea that handshakes are a thing of the past and we are moving onto different greetings....forever! Well, not that I've let that settle in, I feel like elbow bumps are for close friends and also maybe a "younger" age group and personally like the namaste greeting as the kindest, warmest greeting...looking forward to hearing others thoughts.
6/17/2020 10:37:24 am
Interesting thought Jen…Wonder if greetings will be age related? Also elbow bumps do get you closer than the recommended 6 ft safe space. Namaste prayer hands feel deeply respectful. When we were presenting in India last year, that is how we greeted and were greeted everywhere we went. And even pre-Covid it felt like a deep connection. Thanks for sharing your insights with our community.
6/29/2020 11:53:37 am
Here in Hawai’i, former etiquette for greeting included a handshake, quite often a hug as well. It is frustrating to eliminate the human connection. Culturally here, it is devastating.
6/29/2020 02:40:43 pm
We have come to the same approach Brian. While the cultural challenge here in Oregon is not quite the equivalent of Hawaii, the namaste pose has become our go to greeting and farewell. When we know the person well (family and friends) we hug ourselves as if we’re hugging them. Thanks Brian, this has been a key issue for so many of our readers.
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