During the month of April, I’m writing 30 Words for 30 Days: Thoughts from Six Feet Away, one topic per day. Find out why here.
The way we greet people has changed so much these past few months.
First, let’s start with the verbal greetings
Think of the common questions you might ask when greeting people and how the responses are so different right now.
“What’d you do this weekend?”
“Ummm… yeah… nothing. How about you?”
“Hey, what’s up?”
It’s just one more area of our society and interactions that has been altered and yet at the same time has brought us together.
Now, we’re hearing more things like “how are you and your family hanging in there?” or “What do you think of all of this?”
In some ways, even though the social distancing and isolation has separated us more physically, the shared experience and common questions and concerns has brought us all together.
Even though we don’t know exactly how someone is doing, we now know so much more about everyone we interact with because we’re all at least going through this thing together.
And questions like “how are you dealing with all of this?” can be questions that we can ask to total strangers and be able to connect, find out more about their story and be able to encourage and relate.
This goes without saying, but physical greetings just don’t exist anymore, barring the “elbow tap”.
No handshakes, hi fives, fist bumps, hugs or anything like that anymore.
Those have been replaced with waves and thumbs-ups.
It does make you wonder what these will look like in the future. Even once things start to settle down and we’re allowed to be within six feet and mask-less, will handshakes become a thing of the past?
It’s an interesting thought because there is so much communicated through a handshake.
Think of an interview or other first impression where a handshake is exchanged. A weak one communicates as much as a firm grip and look in the eye does.
That handshake can set you down one path or another right from the start.
Or consider the power of “shaking on it” to seal a deal. How your word and a handshake used to be all that was needed to make a promise.
One thing’s for sure.
In the months to come, I anticipate a lot of awkward, humorous interactions as people greet each other again for the first time or especially with new acquaintances.
There will be the “approach” where two people are slowly moving toward each other, trying to reach from the other what type of greeting is acceptable.
Maybe there will be a question like “handshakes okay?”
For some, they will just to all-in back to their roots and bypass the wary greeter’s hand and go for the bear hug. That will remove all doubt.
Either way, I look forward to greeting you the next time we see each other and especially trying to figure out the new rules of greetings together.
Just watch out. I might just go for that bear hug… it’s been a long isolation.