Will Handshake be the thing of the past due to coronavirus?

Handshaking has been around from time immemorial. It has survived many centuries and has been a great tool in many customs. While handshaking forms a key part of custom in most parts of the world, refusing it is considered disrespect.

The etiquette of handshake is widely used by individuals and businesses in several ways – greeting, giving complements, sealing deals, and many more. In fact, a simple handshake can end a century-old war.

A few months ago, shaking hands was in vogue all around the world but not safe anymore. This has cost the world many fortunes and perhaps, many businesses have been in halt as a preventive measure to reduce the spread of the virus.

Then one big question comes to mind: Will Handshake be the thing of the past due to coronavirus?

Etiquette experts are much concern on what effect the coronavirus could have on handshake and what this alteration could have on businesses

Health experts have suggested us to stay a minimum of 6 feet apart especially when we are outside to reduce the risk of transmission which had infected over 5.5 million with over 340,000 deaths worldwide as of Monday morning, according to worldometer.

This, however, has caused a rapid reduction in contact affecting the way we interact. People are now scouting alternatives in the ways they interact – cutting out handshaking. Meetings are now being conducted via Zoom, Google Hangout, and most recently, Facebook Meeting. Consequently, people’s attitude towards physical relationship has been altered.

But, could this be the end of handshake?

Professor Dustin York, an expert in non-verbal and professional communication at Maryville University in St Louis, predicted that handshake may survive the pandemic in areas that are fairly hit by the virus and high chances in dying out in areas strongly hit by the virus.

He added that he expects younger people to likely stop handshake than the adults – mainly because they are used to it.

Though pandemic in history have mobilized short-term radical behaviour but have never resulted in how humans connect or communicate, Says Samuel Veissière, an assistant of psychiatry in McGill University.

Samuel added that “tribal psychology” is imprinted on human species and manifests in physical displays such as grasping hands, hugs and kisses. “There may be a temporary interruption but then, we’ll settle back to normal behaviour.”

We are a social species that require touch and connection to maintain physical emotional health, says Veissière. Hence, “it is impossible to believe people won’t touch each other any longer.”

Fauci Anthony, an infectious disease expert, thinks what we are going to have embedded and imprinted in us forever is the realization that something as catastrophic as what the world is experiencing now can happen.

Fauci also acknowledged on a Wall Street Journal Podcast that the death of handshake isn’t coming soon. But at least, it would be on life support in the short time, Fauci said.

Understandably, there would be a decline in the rate of handshaking a few months after the pandemic but handshaking can not go into extinction – at least not now. This is because human psychology has been programmed to constantly adapt to changes. Perhaps, people could find a solace till after the pandemic.

Handshaking has come to stay but let’s stay safe.

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