The New “Handshake”

What will replace the handshake? There is a lot written on the handshake, which is a greeting thousands of years old and practiced all around the world (except for the last few weeks). Theories of the handshake’s origin include: it shows friendship because it proves a person is not holding a weapon (at least not in their right hand) and it facilitates a physical and chemical exchange (information gathering at an unconscious level). I even read that rituals involving touching evolved so that we can share germs in a community so that we can build immunity. The handshake is so important that as a professional coach, I have spent many sessions with clients working on their handshake. Whatever the significance, we now have been instructed not to touch each other.

So what will we do instead? My favorites are eye contact and a nod (with a smile). These show respect, acknowledgment and translate well over video. Close seconds that others have proposed: the virtual hat tip (my son’s idea), the peace sign and a wave. I have always been partial to the salute, but I get that it’s overly dramatic for most civilian encounters.

However you choose to greet old friends and new, smile. Even under a mask, they can tell.

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