Coming Out of Quarantine: Tips for Greeting Each Other Once Again
Pre-pandemic, shaking hands with a stranger, or sharing a hug with a long-distance relative was a common greeting. Now, due to social distancing, many of those gestures have become obsolete.
Anxiety and confusion have plagued the subject of physical contact. Many have experienced a term known as “touch deprivation.” Data has shown the problem is not that people do not desire to engage in physical touch, but it is more of an issue of how we can share physical contact again.
Once the world re-opens, how can we safely and comfortably move forward with physical greetings or goodbyes?
Let us explore some tips using DISC and observable human behavior to maneuver back into physical gestures with others post-pandemic.
Understand where you are at socially
At the beginning of the pandemic, millions of people were forced to quarantine to stay safe. Being in isolation had worsened the mental health of many, increasing anxiety and stress, and some who have been unable to manage their stress have turned to unhealthy coping methods. Those with active or more people-oriented personality styles in the DISC model may be more inclined to resort back to pre-pandemic gestures when greeting others. In contrast, those identified as more passive or reserved and task-oriented DISC personality types of the DISC model will most likely continue to social distance. It is important to self-reflect and understand what you personally would feel comfortable with. When you identify what physical gestures you are not comfortable with, you can then move forward to creating a response when setting boundaries for physical contact.
Ask before doing
The steady and conscientious DISC styles who are more passive or reserved may not automatically vocalize what they feel comfortable with regarding shaking hands, hugging, or even being closer than 6 feet. For this reason, it is essential to determine non-verbal cues in your personal life and the workplace. One nonverbal cue to be aware of when someone has an issue with physical contact is that they may take a step back if you lean in for a handshake or hug. If you still have trouble reading what a person is comfortable with, you can politely ask, “Is this okay?” The goal is to ease back into communicating physically with people, but not forcing a person to conform to what feels okay to you.
Use new alternative gestures
People normally who have not seen family members for over a year may have a strong desire to give a big hug to their relatives. Although many people have received the vaccine, you should still take precautions when greeting someone. Individuals have been greeting each other worldwide without physically touching in a friendly and respectful manner for thousands of years. National Geographic reported on many no-contact gestures used in countries such as Nepal, Thailand, and Japan. One of Thailand’s gestures as a greeting (wai) is to place the hands together, palm-to-palm, and gently bow the head. Regarding the pandemic, others have adopted what has been coined as the “elbow bump.” It has been referred to as the new handshake. DISC personality styles who might be cautious but accepting would be open to the idea. Not only does this meet the need for safety for those who are fearful of the virus, but it also meets the desire for physical touch.
At PeopleKeys, we acknowledge that re-entering the world after a deadly pandemic can be anxiety-inducing. Luckily, our team offers the tools you need to help you determine how to communicate with different behavioral styles in the DISC model. When you become DISC certified, you will understand the needs of yourself and others around you through observable behavior and communication. Using the knowledge gained through DISC certification as a Certified Behavioral Consultant (CBC) can help you and others create strategies for easing back into physical contact.
Contact us for more information on becoming a PeopleKeys Certified Behavioral Consultant.