People are now more afraid of body contact that they have been in recent times due to the spread of the CCP coronavirus. As a result, an age-old custom like a handshake is now seen as a threat since it can end up transmitting the virus from an infected to a healthy person. If you are looking for alternative ways to greet people, here are some interesting ones.
This is the traditional Indian way of greeting and is also popular in Southeast Asian regions. You basically hold your hands together and bow before the other person. The prevalence of yoga has made Namaste popular and recognizable in the West. Even Prince Charles and U.S. President Donald Trump were seen opting for a Namaste rather than a handshake in some of their recent appearances. This greeting makes absolutely zero body contact, which makes it perfect in such times.
If you feel the need to make body contact and are in an informal setting, say with friends, try using a fist bump rather than a handshake. “Fist bumps transfer 90 percent fewer bacteria than a handshake. The thinking is that the surface area of a skin-on-skin contact is less in a first bump compared to a handshake. And the length of contact is much shorter, which no doubt helps,” according to ABC News. One study found that almost twice as many bacteria were transferred in a handshake when compared to a fist bump.
In East Asian countries like China, Japan, and Korea, a greeting is traditionally offered by bowing one’s head. In countries like Japan, it is customary to bow at 30 or even 45 degrees. For your everyday use, a slight bow of the head is good enough. The Chinese also do what is called a “Fist and Palm Salute.” Basically, you put one palm on top of another, raise both hands, bow a little, and shake hands for about three times. For a man, the left hand should be on top of the fist, while for a woman, their right hand must be on top.
Like Namaste, waving involves zero body contact. You maintain a safe distance and gently wave your hands to show acknowledgment and appreciation of the other party. It is better to keep the number of waves to a bare minimum, say about two at max so that it still retains a formal stature as a greeting. Mindlessly waving hands several times will make the greeting look awkward in informal settings.
The Vulcan greeting
Fans of Star Trek have always dreamed of using the Vulcan greeting in real life. Well, it seems that they got their wish granted to some extent. Even Andrew Yang, the 2020 presidential candidate, tweeted about it recently. “I hate to say this — I’m not much of a germophobe myself — but we might want to work on a personal greeting that doesn’t involve physical contact,” he said in a tweet that had an image of Spock with his Vulcan greeting @Andrew Yang.
Some people have started replacing handshakes with foot shakes. An OPEC official was videoed greeting the Russian Energy Minister with this curious greeting style. However, given how awkward it looks, the foot shake is unlikely to catch on. Imagine someone lifting one of their legs for a foot shake only to end up losing balance and falling down!
Greeting the other party with a salute is also a good option under the circumstances. However, this greeting style might look too “militaristic” and rigid for some people. In a business meeting or a similar situation, a salute may not become popular. But if you are greeting friends or other peers, a quick, casual salute might look interesting.
A simple “Hello” would also suffice as a greeting. Not only is body contact avoided, but you can also avoid doing awkward or complex body movements.