The End of the Handshake
“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.” The Wizard of Oz, 1939
One of the primary lessons in life is to be flexible because things do change whether we like it or not.
With “social distancing” in full effect, we’ve lost the handshake for the foreseeable future. There are all sorts of inventive substitutes coming out – some feel more genuine and warm than others. What would you add to this list?
The Elbow Bump:
For me, the elbow bump is non-starter. It’s awkward, requires close proximity to execute, and quite frankly is not very touchy-feely. On the touchy feely scale it gets a level 2, while I’d say a handshake gets a 6 or 7, depending on how it’s done.
Touchy feely level: 2
I like this one. It allows for proper distance as the first priority. But more importantly it actually enhances the expression of caring much more than a handshake or an obligatory kiss on the cheek. The Japanese Bow is a symbol of respect, honor, deference, and acceptance.
Touchy feely level: 8
My next choice would be the Hindu expression with two palms together at the chest, extended out as a greeting with an accompanying slight bow. Not as much as the Japanese Bow but nevertheless a bow of humility and respect. The gesture of the hands is much more expressive of heartfelt caring than a handshake, or even the kiss on the cheek. Here too it allows for proper distance but elevates the greeting to something more respectful and meaningful.
Touchy feely level: 8
The Vulcan Greeting
At one time I could raise my hand and separate my four fingers into two groups of two just like Mr. Spock on Star Trek. Not sure if many people can raise their hand and separate their fingers like Mr. Spock, especially if they suffer from arthritis. This gesture certainly qualifies under the distance category but what about the touchy feely scale?
Touchy feely level: 4
The hand on the heart like when reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. On its face it seems fine, given that amongst the yoga community it is an expression of “thank you.” Here again there are many choices that satisfy the distance criteria, but don’t we deserve to fashion a new greeting that expresses our humanity?
Touch feely level 5
Put your thoughts in the comments below on these and other substitutes for the handshake.
What are you doing instead of shaking hands with people?
What inventive substitutes have you come across?
WILLIAM MASSARWEH, JD, SEC Registered Financial Advisor, and Licensed Realtor® specializes in Integrated Financial Management. For over 20 years he has provided total Wealth Management services including Inheritance Planning, Financial Consulting, Retirement Planning, Wills and Trusts and Business Planning. As a licensed attorney and real estate broker, he is able to give well-rounded advice in estate settlement, inhertance and all manner of financial planning.
Contact Bill for a free consultation.