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“But that’s the way it’s always been.”

I hate that phrase. Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time doesn’t mean it necessarily has to continue like that forever. If there’s a better way, then maybe it’s time for a change.

There are certain customs that most people just accept as the way things are, but not everyone is happy with them, and may want to see those customs go away. A new thread on Reddit tackles that exact topic, and it all started when someone asked, “What social customs do we need to retire?” Plenty of people have thoughts on that subject. Here are some of the responses:

  • “Expensive funerals. The funeral industry is insane.”
  • “That somehow the concept of maturing means you have to give up hobbies that are seen as ‘childish’.”
  • “Sleep deprivation pride. I don’t know why my coworkers are boasting that they slept 4 hours last night.”
  • “Putting our jobs before our personal lives.”
  • “Not talking about salary.”
  • “I have this cough, but I came to work anyway, because I’m so dedicated to my career!”
  • “You’re too old for…” You’re never too old for college/university, to change careers, to learn a new skill or to enjoy something new. It’s YOUR life!”
  • “Making your kids hug/kiss people they aren’t comfortable with.”
  • “Associating relationships with fulfillment and suffering to being single.”
  • “Diamond rings for engagements – they are a scam, and especially the 3 months salary custom is absurd.”
  • “Boys don’t cry”
  • “Stop questioning when we are having children. It’s none of anyone’s business.”

I would add handshaking to the list, and not just because of the pandemic. Although, the fact that many of us are refraining from shaking hands these days, and it isn’t destroying the social fabric, shows that we can survive without this custom. Shaking hands is definitely a way that illnesses can be transmitted, and you never know when the other person last washed their hands.

My suggestion is that we adopt bowing as a way of greeting one another, especially when meeting for the first time. It doesn’t have to be a deep bow. I’m thinking 45-degrees or less. In some cases, a head nod may be all that’s necessary. I’m a big fan of the bow. But if we’re not going to get rid of handshakes, then let’s at least make it socially acceptable to immediately sanitize afterward.

You can read more suggestions for social customs that should be retired HERE. But seriously…bowing. Think about it.

people bowing

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