We were taught there is only one chance to make a great first impression so make this the best one you can. Often that impression involves a pleasant, but not creepy, smile, eye contact without staring and a warm, firm handshake. Post COVID-19, we have moved to bumping elbows or kicking feet if we even dare breach the physical distancing rules of keeping 1.5 metres apart. We do not know if we will ever return to experiencing that initial human contact of a handshake and that is a little sad to me.
Your handshake tells the other person a little bit about you at this first encounter. There was nothing worse than going in for a strong handshake and coming away feeling that you have just handled a soggy and wilted lettuce. A soft, sweaty, cold, puffy handshake makes us want to run for the nearest bathroom and wash hands.
We tried not to get into a silent strength contest where each person tried to crush the other’s bones. We tried to be respectful of culture and gender. Some people did not want to shake hands and that was perfectly okay. We knew that if someone didn’t want to shake hands with you, it was their loss because a handshake is great and tells the world we are wonderful people. We knew not to take this personally and we smiled then moved on with the conversation.
Post COVID-19, our new normal is to avoid human contact at all costs, including shaking hands. This is the right thing to do for now but I am hoping I live long enough to see a day when we return to embracing each other.
Shake hands positively or not at all.