Due to the circumstances we find ourselves in, shaking hands could be a thing of the past primarily due to the actual health risks that follow it.
According to a CNN News report on April 8th, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that: “We don’t need to shake hands. We’ve got to break that custom because, as a matter of fact, that is really one of the major ways that you can transmit a respiratory-borne illness.”
It’s important to keep in mind that the custom of “shaking hands” as a formal greeting may not be thrown out the window by everyone even after this pandemic is over.
The handshake and its origins date back thousands of years to ancient civilizations as a formal greeting or a sign of peace and alliance. So, do we think that people are really going to stop shaking hands when all of this is over? Maybe, maybe not. Not due to our lack of care, but because it is so ingrained in us that at this point it’s just a natural reflex for most people but also because it would feel weird not to.
We always do it: at job interviews, business meetings, and conventions, when introducing ourselves to clients, or even seeing friends and family members. Introductions and first impressions are very important in our society. Despite the rise of social media, formal greetings and in person meetups still make a bigger impression on someone as opposed to the “new normal” of Zoom meetings and FaceTime chats.
Ways that could make handshakes a thing of the past? Business owners and large corporations could set examples by starting to make it a habit of refraining from offering handshakes at meetings and interviews. Or come up with a new way to formally greet people in such a way that avoids the handshake. Eventually (hopefully) others will follow. Trying to implement a formal greeting that replaces the handshake will take time and influence but ultimately it could have a very positive impact that helps prevent people from transmitting illnesses.
After every major crisis we have we have learned something and implemented new restrictions. For instance, after the Great Chicago Fire we started to build structures from fireproof materials and from the Spanish Flu, the concept of public health was born. Perhaps from COVID-19 we’ll have an alternative to the handshake.
This article was written Madison Green.
Madison Green is a pharmacy technician by day and a fantasy/horror/copy writer by night. When she’s not working or writing she’s traveling and playing adventure games, tabletop games, and video games.