To handshake or not? The world is witnessing the rise of ‘social distancing’ and ‘virtual intimacy’ in greetings. The bug scare – is changing the way we greet. White House advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says handshaking needs to stop even when pandemic ends. The new normal will be the end of handshake greeting. Physical greetings are becoming non-touchy, while emojis are taking over to make up for the lack of physical warmth. A handshake conveys a lot of non-verbal communication, respect, trust, equality between individuals. The custom of shaking hands had been a social norm for over centuries. Henry Siddons’s 1807 Practical Illustrations of Rhetorical Gesture and Action manual of gestures described handshake as, “an action that“ joins two extremities of the human body to each other “.
Globally, the rules of handshake are being re-written: Silicon Valley VC firm Andreessen Horowitz asked visitors to avoid handshakes. The handshake has seen tremendous transformation in the last one month. The Journal of the American Medical Association talks of banning the handshake in the current healthcare environment. In hospitals there are: “handshake-free zones” and signs are put up notifying patients and their families. The hospitals also posted signs that read, “To help reduce the spread of germs, our NICU is now a handshake-free zone. Please find other ways to greet each other.” Other forms of greeting were encouraged, such as fist bumps, smiles, a bow, or a wave.
Evolution is putting an end to custom of handshake. No longer, will management students be told to – master the handshake. Or articles be written about: What your handshake says about you. Touch and greet isn’t going to be the custom anywhere in the world now.
The world will have to get used to the new normals. Says etiquette expert Pria Warrick, “Today in the world of corona virus, we are witnessing” social distancing “strategies – it’s all about sharply reducing contact with others. It won’t vanish after the virus is over. These new customs will remain . We will get more warmer on the social media with emojis. ” The World Health Organization has been running a campaign to get people to drop the handshake in favor of an elbow bump.
In today’s confusing social greeting world, there might be a ‘how to greet’ awkwardness. According to research, handshake originated in the 5th century B.C. in Ancient Greece as a gesture to demonstrate peace. Back then, a handshake was used to show that no weapon was being held and the person you were greeting. A handshake communicates our personality and mood to people and we use them as a mutually acceptable way of agreeing to seal the deal in endless scenarios. According to research from the University of Colorado, on average we carry 3, 200 bacteria from 150 Different species on our hands. We will shake hands on average 90, times in our lifetime. Alternatively, people are greeting each other in different ways – New Zealanders, for example, rub noses and foreheads in their traditional hongi greeting and the Japanese bow to each other. Then there are the “dap greetings” such as high fives and fist bumps. A simple ‘Namaste’ might do it as the best form of greeting or a simple wave of the hand!
Welcome to the world of verbal greetings and emojis. Goodbye handshake!