There’s one thing COVID-19 did for arthritis sufferers that has been a constant blessing: No more handshaking.
When you suffer from aching fingers and joints, a handshake is the worst possible way to be introduced. People want to offer a firm handshake, which turns a happy greeting into a nightmare for some.
Handshakes might come back into fashion, but they just may remain optional, especially for older people. From now on, we never have to feel bad about not accepting a handshake and we don’t even need to explain it. Just keep your hands away and say, “I prefer the elbow bump.”
Another way to avoid a handshake is to respond to an outstretched hand with your palm down. This courtly gesture is usually (but not always) responded to more gently. With your hand down, the other person tends to cup their hand under yours, rather than giving a punishing joint squeeze.
You can also take the initiative, by gently enclosing the other person’s hand between both of yours. Or by going past the outstretched hand and shaking the wrist. This also forces the other person to shake the wrist.