Societal Norms That Don’t Make Sense – Pt. 3


Handshakes may seem like a frivolous discussion, but they’re the most dangerous societal norm I’ve listed, especially considering the past few years.

First and foremost, handshakes have proven to be unsanitary. They pass on twice as many germs as high-fives and ten times more than fist bumps. Germs are spread more through handshakes than through kissing! Handshakes are the sole cause of many flu and stomach bug transmissions, making them healthier to avoid altogether. 

On top of that, handshakes have to be the most uncomfortable formal greeting ever created. You are forced to hold hands with a person, more often than not a stranger, for a solid five seconds while vigorously pumping their arm up and down. I know I’ve been awkward and appalled during a handshake, and I’m sure you have been too. So why do we force such a weird practice onto formal society?

You may be thinking, sure, handshakes are germy and uncomfortable, but they are also a customary sign of respect in the professional world. While that is true, plenty of cleaner and comfier alternatives to handshakes that express the same level of respect and formality do exist. Bowing, for instance, is a very formal and socially acceptable greeting. Plenty of informal methods to say “hello,” such as fist bumps, high-fives, and waves, are also socially accepted. You don’t even have to make a gesture! A simple “Hello” or “Good morning” would work just as well. Considering these options, it’s clear that handshakes are unnecessary and very replaceable. 

To summarize, there are a plethora of idiotic, unnecessary norms constantly in practice. Such is the byproduct of a social species. People are too busy to pause and realize they spend extensive periods participating in activities that do not accomplish their purpose or have long since lost meaning. The key to eliminating this behavior is to focus less on the action and more on the intention whenever slogging through a small task. Who knows, maybe you’ve never needed to do it! 

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