Next time you meet someone new you might just want to go in for a hug instead of shaking hands.
If you don’t want to look like a creeper, you can also swap out the handshake for a nice fist bump, a high five or even a nose kiss as all of those greetings are more hygienic than the traditional clasping of hands.
According to a new study published in the Journal of Infection Control, researchers dipped a gloved hand into a “bacterial mixture” and then greeted another (gloved) researcher in a variety of ways. After each interaction they counted how many bacteria were transferred from the first glove to the second. They found that more than 10 times the amount of bacteria was transferred during a handshake than through a fist bump and twice as much as a high five.
Personally I think this gives us all a great opportunity to make life a little more entertaining. We could come up with fist bumps with special meanings. For instance, a “squid” bump (where after the initial contact you pulse your hand backwards like a squid) could indicate that you don’t think someone is first date material. A “fireworks” bump (where your hand explodes with joy after the bump) could mean you are now besties. Add sound effects and you’re virtually telling the person that you just found the love of your life . I also see a lot of potential for jazz hands here and those are never a bad thing.
Dave Whitworth of Aberystwyth University and the lead researcher says their findings have big implications for the spread of infectious diseases. “In certain circumstances people really should think twice before shaking hands with other people, especially in sensitive situations like health care settings but also perhaps when flu epidemics are happening,” he said in an interview with CNN.
Alternatively, you could create a different fist bump for each person. Your boss gets a firm, knuckle-cracking to show that you’re a go-getter while your girlfriends get a soft, partially-closed fist so you won’t mess up your mani. Really, the possibilities are endless. And if anyone questions your new style you can just tell them it’s all for science.