Will shaking hands come back after the pandemic?

Handshaking: the once-popular greeting has become nearly extinct during the coronavirus pandemic. Even now as more people get vaccinated, some folks appear hesitant when it comes to returning to the custom. 

Jay Van Bavel, a co-author of the book The Power of Us, studies cultural norms. Before the pandemic, the handshake was considered a powerful symbol of connection, he said. 

Former President Trump was known for his lingering grip when shaking hands with world leaders. 

"A handshake is a significant way of connecting with other people socially," said Bavel, an associate professor of psychology at NYU.

Instead of shaking hands, some cultures bow or kiss both cheeks to express the same sign of respect.

So will the pandemic permanently change how we greet one another? Bavel said not so fast.

"I think the handshake will come back for most people. One reason, for many people it's a habit," he said. "All it takes is one or two times of people reinforcing again or reaching their hands to shake you and you automatically go into that old way of being."

Though Bavel himself is not quite ready to resume the once familiar social norm.

"I'm still on my hiatus from shaking hands," he said. "A lot of people have experienced a year without handshaking and maybe realize they don't miss it." 

If that's you, too, try smiling instead, etiquette experts suggest.

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