The medical practitioners have declared handshaking as an essential way of spreading the Coronavirus. The evidence says that Coronavirus spreads through contact and what can be a better contact than a handshake. We humans tend to touch our faces quite often. So, if by any means we have transmitted the disease through a handshake, it is likely to spread fast. In these tried times, one needs to know how to avoid handshaking to stop the spread of COVID-19.

So, to cope up with the Pandemic, we need to learn to avoid shaking hands upon meeting people politely. The safest greetings could be a bow, a simple nod, or an enthusiastic wave. 

15 ways to politely avoid handshaking during the Coronavirus

A handshake upon meeting others is a reflex action from our end. We need check-out alternatives to the handshake to make meetings safer for us. Here we have 15 secret ways to avoid shaking hands to protect yourself from COVID-19.

1. A Wave:

A wave is probably one of the safest and charming ways to greet somebody. Of course, waving effects are not as strong as a physical contact like handshakes or hugging. But you can always make it welcoming with the simultaneous addition of an appropriate, yet mortifying details about yourself.

A few points you would like to remember while waving-

  • Wave appropriately
  • Don’t show over-enthusiasm
  • Compose your facial expression along with the wave
  • Avoid excessive grinning

2. Jazz Hands:

This seems very much like a wave. But there are definitely specific differences between the two. You are not expected to try the “Jazz Hands” greeting in a formal meeting. It shows high enthusiasm and needs to be accompanied by a broad smile. 

You can try this move when you meet an old friend or a cousin. Grinning with jazz hands doesn’t make you look creepy. So, you can feel free to smile.

3. The Elbow Bump:

You must be wondering why we chose elbow bump when we are trying to avoid physical contact. Well, COVID-19 is a respiratory viral infection. If the virus gets nowhere near your mouth, eyes, or nose, it is likely to spread to your lungs. Now try touching your face with your elbow. 


Plus, you might not even get direct contact with the skin, as many people were long sleeves.

The American Red Cross Gold Country Region highly recommends Elbow Bump as one of the best alternatives to a handshake.

4. The Chest Bump:

The chest bump is not one of my favorites, but yes, it is an option to avoid handshaking. However, you need to be cautious about-

  • proper positioning to prevent an inadvertent kiss
  • Keep your faces away
  • Don’t hurt your opponent

Apart from these, you need to take consent from the other person before you go for the bump. It can take a person by surprise.

5. Fist Bump:

With a fist bump, you can successfully avoid the palms and fingers of the opponent. People are less likely to touch their nose or eyes or anything with the back of their hands.

Some points to note here-

  • Every fist bump needs to be followed by a handwash
  • Make it a soft bump and not a punch; it conveys a different meaning.

6. Ignorance:

Ignorance is probably not the right alternative to handshaking. You can hang your hands and show reluctance to shake. Though people will understand the gesture during COVID-19, it might send a wrong message as well. The message of ignorance.

7. Explanation:

Just like ignorance, you need to hang your hands while greeting a person. But you can play diplomatically by explaining your action. However, one needs to be cautious about using certain words, like ‘filthy’ or similar. It’s best to go for a scientific explanation.

8. The Footshake:

This is a relatively new way of greeting someone. It may look like kicking somebody, but it’s not really so. But, if your opponent is not used to the new custom of greeting with footshake, you may want to introduce him to the latest trend first. After all, using your foot for greeting someone is not considered as a respectable way of greeting.

9. Thumbs-Up:

Thumbs-up is an old gesture of greeting people, often used by politicians, astronauts, or public figures. However, while using this gesture, be cautious always to have an upward thumb.

10. The Bow:

The bow is probably one of the oldest and forgotten traditions of greeting people. You can try the Japanese-style bow, a low bow, or the Indian style of “Namaste,” i.e., the bowing with palms pressed against one another.

But I suggest trying the new “Corona Curtsy.” This is the same as the old curtsy. It calls for you to bow and bend slightly and take a footstep backward.

11. A nod to Say ‘Sup:

The ‘Sup Nod is nothing but light up and down movement of your head. This is a cool American way of greeting someone. But not a formal one indeed.

When you use this nod, you should add the phrase “sup,” as well. It will help you to progress with the conversation.

12. The Gun and Wink:

These are two different gestures, which can be used individually or together while greeting a person. Again, both options are not formal. 

The gun greeting calls for you to form a gun with your fingers, followed by a blowing. A little sound effect like a shot might add to the delight of the greeting. This is good to bid “Goodbyes” to friends, instead of a handshake.

The wink is, of course, flirtatious, so you might want to use it cautiously.

13. One-finger Point:

When you use the one-finger point greeting gesture, be careful. Looking aggressive while pointing a finger seems accusing instead of welcoming.

Carry a well-synchronized facial expression with your gesture.

14. The Shimmy:

Shimmy is a dance-move where you jerk your shoulders a bit while holding your body still. You can, of course, try another dance moves as well.

15. The Hat’s Tip:

This gesture doesn’t require you to put on a hat. It is more like tipping a virtual or make-believe hat. Accompany the gesture with a friendly smile. But don’t grin.


We have covered all the gestures that can take the place of a handshake to avoid the Coronavirus spread through touch. It is just a way of preventing the Pandemic. Don’t forget to wear your protective gear while you are out in public.

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