Communication is changing and it’s the beginning of a new culture

Communication+is+changing+and+it%27s+the+beginning+of+a+new+culture

cartoon by Ariana Ravitz

Hugs and handshakes have long been fundamental parts of expressing ourselves in our daily relationships both socially and professionally. The loss of these social norms will take a toll on our rela- tionships, but there are still ways to express our feelings during this crisis.

Not only is hugging one of society’s signature ways of expressing love to one another, but it has also been proven to be good for our health.

According to Psychology Today, hugging reduces the risk of catching a cold. The magazine featured a study in which participants were given nasal drops containing a cold-like virus. Some participants were hugged, and some were not. The former had a decreased risk of infection.

While a hug might be good for our health, it’s something we cannot currently give or accept because of the extreme contagion of the corona- virus. Still, some families are finding ways to spread the love: there are numerous accounts online of grandchildren creating shower-curtain barriers so they can hug their grandparents. Clear shower curtains might become the next American success, like toilet paper and flour.

But hugs aren’t the only physical contact we’re missing out on these days. On a professional level, handshakes are a key way for employers to evaluate professionalism in a recruit. There are many people who are applying for jobs whose professionalism will be harder to evaluate simply be-
cause of the absence of handshakes.

According to “The Charisma Myth,” a book about personal magnetism, “handshakes are so important during interviews that one Fortune 500 CEO once said if he had to decide between two candidates with similar qualifications, he’d give the position to the candidate with the better handshake.” Members of generation, who sometimes complain of feeling awkward in such situations, may need to practice these relatively essential professional skills once quarantine passes.

Despite these difficult circumstances, special occasions such as bar mitzvahs are still being held and celebrated. Social distancing has taken away our ability to gather with friends and family in person, but joyous celebrations are happening regardless.

The Magder family in Washington, D.C. recently celebrated Reuven’s bar mitzvah by using Zoom. Reuven’s mother, Maia Magder, feels the negative impact of losing the ability to
celebrate in person.

“I tend to feel the ‘presence’ or ‘energy’ from people very strongly, so being around them gives me joy and strength, so that was more what I was missing,” Magder said. “I missed the very presence of people in their physical form.”

We cannot replace the feeling of seeing and connecting to people in person. However, we can still find ways to connect virtually.

“It was revealed to me during the process of the Bar Mitzvah that nothing was going to be replaced because what [was] lost, people being physi- cally close to me, looking directly into peoples’ eyes, hearing peoples’ voices lifted in song and prayer, was irreplaceable,” Magder said.

But social distancing cannot stop human interaction and the feeling of close connection.

“Instead of hugs from people, we aw flashes of them on-screen cheer- ing and crying, got texts and emails, and felt so much love,” Magder said. “The brief love transmitted from a hug was similar to those flashes of love I saw on screen. That was amazing.”

This story was featured in The Lion’s Tale’s June 2020 magazine.