So it would appear that the time has come (even if the majority thinks it’s premature) that the lockdown laws are slowly being softened and relaxed in the UK. 13 weeks of self-isolation, keeping one’s distance, facial mask fashion at an all time high and upping our personal hygiene protocols have all weighed heavily on our psyche and makes us wonder what the new normal will be.
One of the biggest changes from our “old” behaviour is in how will we greet each other and express our feelings. I don’t know about you but I’m a very tactile person. In other words, I’m a massive hand-shaker and hugger! It’s how I was brought up and been ingrained in me for 48 years! This personal contact allows the recipient to understand the feelings coming from the initiator of the handshake or hug.
So how are we supposed to undo all this learned behaviour? Will we ever get back to how we were?
Sadly I don’t think we will. There have been multiple times when I, unconsciously, extended my hand to people or leaned in for a hug and got the “have you lost your mind?!” look. So we need to come up with new and imaginative ways of greeting each other.
Here are 8 gestures that we may very well be seeing more of in the days to come to replace handshakes and hugs.
SMILE & WAVE
This is one of the very first greetings we learn as a human being. It’s simple and negates any language barrier and it is effective at any distance. You can make it your own by creating a unique, signature wave that expresses your character.
For all you Trekkies, Sci-fi geeks and ComicCon-going individuals (like me) out there, you will recognize this greeting without failure. Famously used by Spock, the raised palm with middle and finger fingers parted in a “V” and the thumb extended symbolized the greeting of “live long and prosper”. It’s a great and relevant message considering today’s circumstances. Maybe it will now not be considered uncool to be used outside of Comic-book conventions!
This gesture has been made popular in East Asia and can convey multiple meanings. It has been used to say
hello and goodbye, express gratitude, ask for a favour, congratulate someone, express sympathy or offer an apology. Now the correct way to bow - : Face the person whom you are greeting squarely and look at the ground while bending from
the waist. The deeper and longer the bow
is held, the more respect is conveyed.
TOUCH FEET aka… WUHAN SHAKE
This new foot-fancy stepper of a greeting is known as the “Wuhan Shake.” It involves a quick tap of the feet. Likely best suited for people with long legs to adhere to the 6-feet-apart rule.
A classic gesture with the yoga crowd, this greeting hails from India involves placing palms together in front of heart and bowing from the torso while saying namaste (pronounced nah-ma-stay), a Sanskrit word which translates roughly to: The divine in me acknowledges the divine in you. Can be used for hello, goodbye, thank you and more.
This would be the evolution of the common fist pump. Since people are still very wary of hand-to-hand contact, this gentle but meaningful bumping of elbows will successfully convey hello, goodbye and how’s it going. It can also be a good substitute for the straight guy hug-
Popular in historic times, this female equivalent of a bow is passé, except for specific occasions like ballet recitals, balls and upon meeting European royalty. It’s not likely to make a comeback as it requires a skirt and good balance to perform properly.
TIP OF THE HAT
A hat tip conveys recognition, respect and gratitude. Like the curtsy, it requires a material object to fully pull it off, unless you want to start a new trend by tipping an imaginary hat, which could be really funny.