MAR 03, 2020
Hey, have you heard? Germs are everywhere!
More than 90,000 cases of the highly contagious new coronavirus, which results in the disease known as COVID-19, have been confirmed, and panicked people are stocking up on supplies like hand sanitizer and face masks.
By now, hopefully you know the importance of properly and frequently washing your hands, and have likely been told ad nauseam not to touch your face. But before you get too worried, it’s worth noting that there are a bunch of myths associated with the virus as well. If you’re still especially concerned about the spread of germs, there is another simple preventative measure you can take: Stop making unnecessary physical contact with others.
Next time you go in to shake an acquaintance’s hand, kiss a pal on the cheek, or greet someone with a friendly hug, don’t! Instead, try using one of these 14 greetings that don’t require any touching. And remember, epidemic or no epidemic, some people simply don’t like to be touched, so feel free to say no to a handshake or physical greeting at any point time.
1. Literally just say hello
Greetings don’t have to involve physical contact. There’s nothing wrong with verbally saying hello to someone and not taking things any further. Say hi and quickly present a follow up question, like “how have you been?” to keep the conversation going. No time for hugs here.
2. Touch feet
The hip new greeting to emerge out of coronavirus paranoia is a foot tap dubbed the “Wuhan Shake.” Videos of the unique greeting taken in China and Iran have gone viral, and it honestly looks kind of cool. If you want to make things even more fun you can channel Beyoncé at 4:34 of the “Get Me Bodied” video and do a little foot dance.
3. Wave at the person
What happened to waving? Who decided waving is only OK when there’s significant distance in between people? I say waving at a friend who’s right in front of you is totally acceptable. Bring back the wave.
4. Do the live long and prosper sign
Andrew Yang, the former Democratic presidential candidate turned CNN political commentator isn’t much of a germaphobe, but he recently suggested that perhaps we should come up with a personal greeting that doesn’t involve physical contact. His thought? The Vulcan salute from Star Trek, a perfect way to say “live long and prosper.”
If all else fails, throw a peace sign in the air. It’s not very exciting, but it’ll get your message across in a pinch. (Note: Peace signs are better for goodbyes in my opinion.) ✌️
6. Tip your hat
This one requires wearing a hat at all times so that if you ever run into anyone you can tip it. It’s not the most convenient option, but it’s nice to switch it up every once in a while.
7. Give a nod
A nice head nod in someone’s general direction can be a cool way to greet. Maybe practice in the mirror a few times to really perfect your execution. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez loves a nod, too. She recently tweeted that her favorite handshake alternative is “to put my hand over my heart and smile/nod at whomever I am greeting.” Aww.
8. Do the Jim and Pam high five
One of the best television high fives of all time didn’t involve touching, and that’s the level of high five you should all aspire to. Remember when Jim and Pam air-fived from across the room on The Office? Absolute germ-free perfection.
9. Mime a fist bump
Fist bumps are a classic and easy greeting, so if you’re a fan, keep doing them… just don’t follow through all the way. Go in for the bump, but pull away before you actually touch skin. Maybe “blow it up” to make things less awkward. Or more. Who knows.
10. Do a salute of some sort
Get creative with it! Make it your own! Though this Zach Woods GIF makes the opposite case, salutes don’t have to be awkward.
11. Do some air kisses
Real cheek kisses might be too risky at a time like this, but those fancy, pretentious air kisses? Now’s the time to break those babies out with friends close enough for such a gesture.
12. Say “raincheck”
Once the coronavirus scare is over we can hopefully resume casual physical contact, so just take a rain-check on that handshake or overly personal greeting. Everyone will understand!
13. Send a GIF while standing in front of someone
If you really want to high five or shake a hand but don’t want to touch, send them a GIF of the action instead. To be clear, this is a bit strange and has big “texting I’m here instead of ringing the doorbell” energy, but you do you.
14. Share a welcoming squirt of hand sanitizer
What better way to bond with someone than by offering them a friendly squirt of hand sanitizer? In 2020 hand sanitizer is the new gum. By that I mean everyone wants some, not that people eat it. Do not eat it.
Be safe out there, everyone. Good luck not touching.