The tradition to shake hands as the go-to greeting practice is finally on its way out the door thanks, to the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no more worrying about having a “good” hand shake on job interviews or what the other person last touched or if they even want to shake your hand. The virus has opened our eyes to how skin-to-skin transfer accelerates the spread of disease. So now, people do an awkward dance to try and figure out how to properly greet each other. And since handshaking has already been declared a “modern day health hazard” by medical professionals, it’s a step forward in the right direction
How to Shake Hands Without Shaking Hands
The only way to keep the handshake is if you immediately wash your hands every time you shake someone’s hand, but it’s much easier saving that time and just try a new way to shake hands. There are a few alternatives to bring into the norm that doesn’t involve any touching.
Finding a New Way to Shake Hands
Consider the following ways to make sure that no hand shakes occur during your day:
The Pretend You Didn’t Notice
Unfortunately, there are times, usually when you haven’t thought of what to do in time, where you’ll just have to leave ‘em hanging and wait for them to realize that there will be no hand shakes.
The Head Shake
Similar to simply ignoring a hand shake gesture, this way also possibly involves leaving someone hanging, but with the addition of a head shake to confirm that you won’t be shaking hands.
The Head Nod from a Distance
This new way to shake hands, which can also be combined or substituted with a hand wave and/or a big smile saves some of the awkwardness by nonverbally signaling that you’ve a) acknowledge them, and b) there will be no hand shakes. For even more clarity, you can immediately put your hand in your pocket after the nod or clutch your phone with both hands.
The Fist Bump
Although this new way to shake hands involves touch, you can lessen the skin to skin contact with a gentle tap of a knuckle rather than a full out bump.
This greeting is especially helpful in a moment of uncertainty and can be used with humor to lighten the mood. For instance, during that pause, you can say, “I guess we’re not shaking hands anymore, eh,” as you offer your elbow as an alternative.
The ‘Hey, It’s You!”
Maybe best for extroverts or people who are comfortable with being loud, this new way of greeting is prompt and to the ‘finger point.’ Adding a finger point gives the other person a visual signal that they can keep their hands down.
A Whole New Way to Shake Hands
In essence, whenever this is all over, maybe we should keep practicing no physical contact greetings. It eliminates any confusion on how to “shake hands” without doing so. It’s just a plus that it’s a healthy habit too!