Shake hands again
With the Covid-19 crisis we wonder if we will shake hands again

195 views · 08-05-2020

Hand on glass wet because of the rain

As a global phenomenon the reactions are similar in all countries. Some want to open businesses at all costs to recover the economy, others are even afraid to go out for essential tasks. Perhaps shaking hands is a habit that we will avoid after this pandemic.

We Are Creatures of Habits

For most people habits offer security. It is a phrase that we have all heard at some time:
"We Are Creatures of Habits".
It is true that everyone makes their own decisions, but it is scientifically proven that we are greatly influenced by the environment. For example, our friends, our family or the values of the society in which we have had to live.

With a history of thousands of years the gesture of shaking hands can be very difficult to leave. It may not be necessary to remove it from our customs forever. But it seems that at least for a long season is going to be a gesture that we are going to avoid. And for many it will not be easy.

Physical contact

From east to west, physical contact is an important sign of greeting and trust in our fellow men. In different countries there are unwritten rules and different forms of greeting that involve physical contact. Physical contact is also important in other animals such as chimpanzees, which sometimes even hug or kiss each other as a greeting.

Greetings from the world

  • North America. The most common greeting in countries of North America is to shake hands. It is used in the family and at work. If there is a lot of confidence, hugging is sometimes used.
  • South America. In South America there is more habit of close social relations and it predominates (apart from the handshake) the hugs, the kisses, the touches on the shoulder or the back or a squeeze on the forearm.
  • Europe The most common is the handshake. In areas like France or Spain it is normal to also kiss.
  • Orient Here countries are generally very traditional, highlighting for example Japan. It is customary to greet and show respect with greetings without physical contact.
  • Curious greetings. Eskimos and Russians. A curious mention is that of the Eskimos. In greeting and courtesy the Eskimos rub their noses. Russians also have a curious way of greeting each other. They kiss three times near the lips. When people see this for the first time it catches their attention because it seems that they kiss on the mouth, but it is not.

A Future without handshakes?

The future is uncertain, but it seems that for a long season we will avoid handshakes, hugs and to a large extent everything that involves physical contact.

There is no longer talk of returning to normal, but of returning to a 'new normality'. And we are also not clear what this new normality will be. But one of the aspects that will surely have is social distancing. That distancing will not only contain the spread of the Coronavirus, but other diseases as well. Sure in many cultures it will be hard. All governments propose this social distancing in one way or another. Above all, the aim is to protect the sensitive groups such as the elderly or those with previous health problems. So social distancing is going to stay with us for at least a long period of time.