How Corona has changed our welcoming rituals

by time news

Seleven Ursula von der Leyen can now fist the ghetto. The greeting was once reserved for the cool boys in the schoolyard, but it can now also be seen at the G-7 summit, where the President of the European Commission and French President Emmanuel Macron clapped their fists in June. Boris Johnson, on the other hand, had to be content with von der Leyen’s elbows. Wasn’t the British Prime Minister cool enough for the ghetto fist? Or was it to be understood as a declaration of war: After Brexit, the EU will now extend its elbows? Is there even a hierarchy between ghetto fist and elbow salute?

Julia Anton

Editor in the Society department at FAZ.NET

The past year and a half have turned our greeting rituals upside down, as shown by a survey of 1,000 respondents over the age of 18 by the data company Dynata. Handshakes, hugs, kisses on the cheek – all of this was once upon a time. Only 15 percent of Germans still shake hands with their counterparts, 29 percent shirk, and only one in ten still kisses. Before that there were twice or three times as many.

Thank goodness, as a colleague recently stated over lunch: When visiting the family, the elderly relatives did not kiss her miserably. The same goes for unpleasant hugs, especially if the other person seems to have forgotten the deodorant. And shaking hands isn’t too sad either. Especially in summer there is better than shaking the warm, sweaty hand of strangers and wiping your hand on your pants when the other is not looking. Better to nudge your fist or elbow, that’s how almost every third person says hello these days. Around 46 percent now even completely forego physical contact when greeting, compared to only 17 percent before the pandemic. The progress made in vaccination does not seem to change that: Almost half of those who refused to make physical contact stated that they were already fully immunized.

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So is Corona gradually getting rid of welcoming rituals? Even in school playgrounds, the ghetto fist will probably not be beaten for much longer, if it is already dominated by CDU politicians. The type of greeting says a lot about the relationship that two people have with each other: a handshake is formal, a warm hug, a kiss on the cheek is intimate (except in the fashion industry). If you just stand opposite each other in greeting, at least something is missing. On the other hand, it is perhaps the greatest sign of respect with which one can meet the other right now: This is how we stay healthy – and maybe soon we can go back to the hug. Just think of deodorant beforehand.


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