1 Reason to Stop Shaking People's Hands Right Now

handshakeWhen you're introduced to someone new, what's one of the first things you do? You shake hands. It's almost a reflex. The words "hello, my name is ..." are barely out of your mouth before your hand shoots out. Holding back feels standoff-ish at best, downright rude at worst. And honestly, it's perfectly harmless. OR IS IT? New evidence seems to suggest that we should ditch the handshake and do a fist-bump or a high-five instead. Yes, really. Say goodbye to your traditional hello.

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It's all about the germs. A study examined how much we pass on when we shake hands, do an above-the-head high-five, and fist-bump. Logic would tell you the fist-bump is the most hygienic, followed by the high-five and then the handshake -- you almost don't even need a study to prove that. It's just not something we give a lot of thought to, usually.

When we meet someone, we're usually focused more on our first impression of that person and on remembering their name. It takes a special kind of woman to also think, "Eww, I wonder where that hand I'm shaking has been?" Ordinarily I think the germaphobes are paranoid. But maybe this time they're right. Turns out you pass on one-twentieth the germs when you fist-bump instead of hand-shaking.

Hmm, food for thought, especially with the Ebola virus in the news -- not that Ebola is going to spread in the US! It's just that those headlines have got me washing my hands a little more often. Know what I mean?

The study didn't compare any of these greetings with the Euro air kiss. I figure actually planting one on people's cheeks is probably going to pass on more germs than making kissing sounds near each other's ears. But this study kind of makes me not want to lean in too closely to someone I don't know.

So anyway America, can we all agree to get on board with the fist-bump? I know it feels a little less respectful than the handshake, and most of us feel like total poser dorks doing it. But if we all start doing it, it'll become mainstream. What do you say? Starting today?

Do you ever worry about spreading germs when you shake hands?

 

Image via iStock

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