Last year during the big H1N1 flu panic, (is it a pandemic or not), people were advised not to shake hands. So, we all stopped. Have you noticed the antiseptic hand sanitizer everywhere? Does this mean we can shake hands again when we meet someone new?
I was taught to shake hands. Last year, shaking hands was verboten. Now, what do I do when I am at a conference? Do I stick out my clean hand? Do I nod politely? Do I (shudder) fist bump? I shudder, because it is not me. I am cool, just not that cool. Can I still say cool and be cool? Now, I am really second guessing myself. I suppose I could just google the question; does one shake hands or not, to find out the answer because somebody out there will know.
I lived in Peru several years ago. I loved it and hated it. I was 28, raising two sons in a country where people did not speak English, while the Big Guy was off in the jungle working. The boys were young, resilient, and hopefully, would not miss home, too much. It was a great an adventure. And, I kissed many people on their cheeks. Peruvians are lovely people. They kiss both your cheeks to say hello and goodbye. I smelled some wonderful perfumes and aftershave, too. Hmm. When we returned home, greeting someone with a kiss was something I missed. I still do. There is an immediate bond of respect toward the other person. I like that. The only down side would be if someone was betraying me and kissed me, signalling some nefarious deed, then, not so much into the kissing the cheeks. And, at a conference or a business meeting, probably not the thing to do. I am Canadian. So…not done, well, there may be some foo, foo, shee, shee types who kiss cheeks or air cheek kiss. An air cheek kiss does not look sincere. When I meet someone, I am sincere and truly interested in them. Now I have a dilemma, do I shake hands or nod in acknowledgment?
What do you do? Do you shake hands when meeting someone? Are you afraid of catching something if you shook hands with a stranger? What is the norm at a conference? Should I shake hands? Should I nod?