Since the pandemic began, our deep-rooted custom of shaking hands has well been shaken. Many experts say it is time to say goodbye to this tradition to help stop the spread of germs and illness. But that is easier said than done.  From business deals to family gatherings and first-time greetings, shaking hands has always been a symbol of acknowledgment and respect.

So how did the handshake start?  According to the History Channel, the handshake has existed for thousands of years, but its origins are somewhat murky. One popular theory is that it is a gesture of peace. By extending their empty right hands, strangers could show that they were not holding weapons. Yet another explanation is that the handshake was a symbol of good faith when making an oath or promise.

If you are practicing not shaking hands it can become uncomfortable and awkward if another person is not and extends a hand to shake. According to BBC News and America’s leading etiquette institute, they suggest kindly letting the other person know that it is a pleasure to meet them but you would prefer not to shake hands.

We might stop shaking hands for the remainder of the pandemic, but it is possible that some people will continue to shake hands. If there are any better ways to greet others without making contact, in the long run, it will be better for our health. Gregory Poland, infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic says that shaking hands is an outdated culture and should have no place in a society concerned about spreading germs.


So what will be “new” handshake? There’s the elbow tap, fist bump, the ankle cross, or even the bow. Elbow or ankle bumping are alternatives that have also been suggested. Fist bumps have also been a very popular greeting that could be a good alternative for the future. According to Dr. Michael Ben-Aderet, fist-bumping spreads slightly fewer germs since the palm of your hand is what you use most often. Overall,  washing your hands more often and keeping your hands away from your face will be the real savior of the handshake if it does become popular again.

More From WPG Talk Radio 95.5 FM