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A Bow, Not a Handshake Should Be the New Normal
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist Dr. Patricia A. Farrell -- Psychologist
Tenafly , NJ
Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Dr. Patricia A. Farrell

Shaking hands in our society is second-nature to most of us and we are encouraged to greet anyone with this close touch. It has been drilled into us as part of business etiquette but the Covid-19 is upending standard protocol in business as well as our personal lives. I wrote an article on Medium.com on protecting our personal space.


Today, shaking hands is a forbidden gesture because of the potential of spreading this deadly virus and we must turn to safer greetings. What should we do?


Remember, you are not being rude or tossing the rules of etiquette aside. You are now protecting lives and acting in a responsible manner.


Forbidden Gestures


First, look at the gestures that have arisen in the past as alternatives to shaking hands. What have we done:


Fist bumping: No, this is not safe either because it can still spread the virus from the back of our hands. No matter how often you wash your hands, can you be sure you used the technique advised by the medical profession? Are you doing it with the proper soap and doing it for at least 20 seconds?


Shoulder bumping: The virus can live much longer on any material than we've ever thought, so it doesn't hurt to avoid clothing or surface contact.


Hugging or kissing on the check: This is much too intimate contact for Covid-19 and it is an invitation to infection. Don't do it.


What is a good alternative? No one wants to insult someone by not offering a welcoming greeting and here is where those in other cultures have something we can use immediately; the slight bow of the head. Asian cultures have used this for centuries and, depending on your status, it can be a deep bow or one of recognition of a peer.


Communicate Your Intention


To avoid offending anyone, before you get to that "six-foot distance" of safety, let them know that you'd prefer a bow of the head. You won't be doing anything to jeopardize that person, their loved ones or your own health by doing so. Everyone will understand and it may become an acceptable greeting for times when the virus is no longer the killer it currently appears to be.


Cultures change with the needs of the group and this is a time for a change.

Website: www.drfarrell.net

Author's page: http://amzn.to/2rVYB0J

Medium page: https://medium.com/@drpatfarrell

Attribution of this material is appreciated.

Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Patricia A. Farrell, Ph.D., LLC
Tenafly, NJ
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