Did COVID kill the handshake? What should replace it? Here are 10 touchless greetings currently in use around the world that you can choose from. You can also watch and share this video on Facebook and YouTube.
One big thing COVID19 has made us all aware of is how much we 👉 touch 👈 each other.
🤝 Handshakes… 🤗 Hugs… 💏 Kisses… ✋ High Fives…
Gross right? We might as well share needles!
Well, not quite. Spreading germs isn't all bad. It's actually partially responsible for how we survive. Sharing germs builds our immune systems which in turn keep us healthy.
But wait, before you attempt to cure your quarantine loneliness with a casual encounter on Craigslist, there is a fine line between spreading germs naturally in our day to day lives, and licking a toilet seat clean.
So where does handshaking fall on that spectrum?
This pandemic has got me wondering about the fate of the handshake. Will it make a full come back as America re-opens? Or become a relic of the past like shopping malls and civilized political discourse?
I know that I've certainly been shaking less hands, but to be fair, I've been around significantly less people during the past couple of months. However the ones I have been around, I've not been the first one to extend a handshake.
One of my attorney friends said that in court, they adopted the elbow bump, but that's rookie. Look how close you get when bumping elbows! Might as well be kissing.
There's got to be a better way! So for your inspiration in redesigning the handshake, here are 10 touchless greetings that currently exist around the world, and have been in practice for generations.
#1 The Japanese Bow
Evolving from the days of the samurai comes the bow – known as the Ojigi in Japanese – which is the act of lowering your head and the upper part of the torso in unison. The Japanese use the bow not just to greet each other, but as a sign of respect when making an apology or expressing gratitude.
#2 Thailand's Wai
Slight bow, palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion. The wai is a common greeting, and also a way to express gratitude or apologize. And just like the Japanese bow, the Thai Wai has its nuances.
The higher the hands are held in relationship to the face, and the lower the bow, the more respect or reverence the giver of the wai is showing.
#3 The Aadab
A south Asian Muslim greeting performed by raising your right hand towards your face with your palm inwards towards your eyes as your upper torso is bent forward. Since the normal Muslim greeting Assalamu Alaikum is for Muslims only, this alternative greeting was formed for Muslims in India who lived in a mult-faith and multi-lingual society.
#4 Añjali Mudrā
You might be familiar with this Hindu greeting from Yoga class because it's usually performed along with speaking the word “Namaste”. This gesture involves a slight bow with your hands pressed together, palms touching, fingers pointing upwards, and thumbs close to the chest.
You'll notice similarities between all of the bows, so I'm not going to feature them all.
Next we've got the salute, which we're all familiar with from the armed forces. Military forces from countries all over the world use the salute as a display of respect when greeting each other, although the gesture itself varies from country to country. Some do it with just two fingers like in Poland. And in many countries, solutes are only performed when there is head covering.
#6 Hat Tip
This is an old time British-American cultural expression of recognition, respect, gratitude, or it can be used as a simple salutation between two people. Only problem with this one — is that the hat is required.
You might remember this open from theater class — the classic curtsy — in which a women bends her knees while bowing her head. Typically only done by women in similar situation in Western cultures when a man bows.
This gesture became customary in Western Europe in the Middles Ages. It's the act of bending a knee to the ground, and since early times, it's been a gesture of deep respect to a superior. It's still used today in some Christian religious practices.
There's also one place where the genuflection remained a part of, which you might recognize it from — the proposal.
I can't see genuflections making a full comeback anytime soon. Not with these old knees….
#9 Vulcan Salute
The Vulcan salutation is a hand gesture popularized by the 1960s television series Star Trek. It consists of a raised hand with the palm forward and the thumb extended, while the fingers are parted between the middle and ring finger.
Okay, so this one's not actually real, but I learned that it was actually inspired by a Jewish hand symbol taking from a Priestly Blessing.
#10 The Wave
#10 and my personal favorite — the wave. Often emphatically used by children to say hello to each other from far away. I love the wave. It's fun, easy, and everyone can add their own little flair to it.
It's also really disarming. Have you ever been approached by a dangerous person who's waving at you? I'm definitely down for the wave replacing the handshake.
My friend Jared asked me, “Do we want to continue moving society to a place where people are farther and farther apart from one another?”
That's great question Jared, but I don't think the outcome of not shaking hands anymore is going to lead to more social distancing. In fact, it might even help us come together more without the worry about the cultural expectation of having to touch everyone we meet.
Human intimacy is a necessity, and it's not going anywhere. I'm still going to hold hands with my nieces and nephews, hug my family and friends, and take my girlfriend to pound town.
I'm just in favor of a future where we can be intimate with our tribes, but not have to touch everyone else we meet along the way.
So what should become the new handshake?
That's up for you to decide. In fact, you can even make one up. After all, gestures only mean what you interpret them to mean.
Drop a comment below and let me know what gesture you think should replace the handshake or join the conversation on Facebook and YouTube.