By: Rabab Youssry

We all noticed how Egyptians are reacting to the outbreak of Coronavirus so far, right? In good humor as usual. On social media, as much as in real-life. But many are in fact ignoring the simple precautionary measures we need to take in order to contain the infectious virus.

Sadly, only a few seem to care and those end up facing daily awkward situations when they desperately try to avoid a hug, a kiss or even a handshake.

Pre COVID-19, handshakes used to be highly recommended to build rapport and to form a strong positive first impression. Nowadays, it is advisable to avoid any physical contact to keep yourself and others healthy!

So, how do you gracefully decline a handshake?

One option is to get your arms amputated. Another is to petrify the hand shakers, maybe? Or one last less realistic option is to consider one of the following:

  • Say it frankly: If you’re dealing with close friends or colleagues, perhaps it is better to say it out loud. They will most probably understand where you’re coming from and respect your wishes.
  • Say it jokingly: If you’re worried they may not take this lightly, perhaps you can insinuate it in a funny or a humorous way.
  • Pretend to be sick: Simply say you woke up feeling unwell and wouldn’t want to infect them with whatever you’re coming down with!

In all cases, you should say it before they actually extend their hands.

  • Smile and wave: A genuine smile and a generous wave will probably stop people from shaking your hands. You might as well verbally express how happy you are to see them.
  • A pat on the back: It is a safer, less favorable alternative, but a warmer kind of greeting.
  • If you have children, educate them on the topic and tell them that they should politely express that they do not want to be hugged or kissed. In all cases people should not kiss or hug little children without their parents’ consent.

In the end, We advise you all to GRACEFULLY say no to a handshake, a kiss on the cheek, a fist bump, a high five, and definitely a hug.