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Masks, barrier gestures: what new civility after one year of Covid?

2021-02-09T15:46:19.819Z

FIGAROVOX / TRIBUNE - The golden age of the wind is behind us. A specialist in savoir-vivre, Geneviève d'Angenstein invites us to see the upheaval in social relations linked to the epidemic as a return to more sober codes of good manners.



Geneviève d'Angenstein created and manages BusinessEtiquette.Paris and is a coach in etiquette.

A world is coming to an end, of opulence, of consumption that we thought was inexhaustible, of friends whose list also seemed unlimited since after-work, birthdays, receptions, social networks, offered us the opportunity for endless encounters.

But a grain of sand hampers this beautiful and flourishing machine, forcing us to rethink the order of our lives: to bring to the Other a new look tinged with doubt and to arrange space and temporality differently, accordingly.

Doubt intensifies even more when it comes to assessing the duration of this unforeseen revolution, since some experts are already anticipating future pandemics in the universe that we have shaped and globalized.

We must therefore learn to live again, without vain regret for this already ancient world that unrepentant nostalgic people could call the Golden Age.

It is therefore for our survival.

We have to be creative, imagine a new order and above all, reinvent a new sociability ...

For almost a year, who has never felt the frustration of not being able to shake a hand, a body, out of friendship, tenderness, affection?

Our modern cultures have accustomed us to it for decades.

And we live, sometimes with anger, being forced to give it up.

To get around this frustration and especially that it does not turn into violence in the private sphere as sociologists are already observing, we only have reflection.

How of this act inherent to humanity, which is the distancing during the greeting, did we come to lavish kisses on quasi-foreigners?

Why do we experience this deficiency in our Western countries?

Let us first take a look at other great cultures, Chinese, Japanese, Indian, without forgetting that of our ancestors until the beginning of the last century.

You should keep your distance to greet each other.

Does this mean that these billions of people are devoid of feeling?

In reality, this respect for the territory of the Other has been finely analyzed by anthropologists: every animal or human being is provided with an invisible circle, variable according to species and cultures, intended for its preservation.

The establishment of regulatory codes for these interactions is the founding and regulatory act of civilization.

It is therefore, also, the basis of the principles of politeness.

The handshake existed among the ancient Greeks, among the Romans, as a mark of belonging to the same circle, but also in chivalry, in the brotherhoods and corporations that have structured the world of work for centuries.

To read also:

"Against all expectations, the Covid reintroduces the sacred in our lives"

It is now first and foremost a mark of equality, whereas the initial principle was in fact to prove that we did not carry a weapon, just as our most distant ancestors palpated and inhaled each other to grant or not their Trust the one who crossed their path, just like our animal friends ...

How of this act inherent in humanity which is the distancing during the greeting, which one finds in the majority of the traditional societies, did we come to lavish kisses to quasi-foreigners?

The intellectual, ideological upheavals, revolutions, egalitarian concepts, the bursting of social structures, the hardening of the contexts of life that our modern culture has known, could explain this regression into almost childish beings in search of almost maternal comfort in a world unstructured in relation to conventional standards.

These considerations could help us transform these social restrictions into a return to basics: that of getting to know your loved ones better.

The child also feels the need to touch, to feel in order to know.

Education orders him, in theory, to keep his distance for the benefit of reflection, to become civilized and to reserve this tactile approach for the intimate.

Thus, unconsciously, by meeting the Other, even unknown, through the shaking of hands, sometimes even kisses, the familiarity often become systematic, the addiction to social networks, the insatiable search for friends who have sometimes become virtual, we would be in search of a soul mate, of an almost fraternal bond.

It is in any case the need, avowed or unacknowledged, to widen one's emotional circle beyond its conventional sphere.

Read also:

Why the coronavirus is accentuating social divides

These considerations could help us reinvent a more selective sociability.

And to transform these imposed social restrictions into a return to basics: that of getting to know your loved ones better, giving them more attention and selecting their true friends since social and worldly life must be restricted.

So, since we have to, let's stay positive and creative.

Do not despair of no longer having to shake hands with each other, kiss relatives, friends, strangers.

On the contrary, consider it a great delicacy to greet each other without effusion, without touching each other.

This in no way excludes friendship, respect, or even affection.

Isn't true courtesy in the unsaid and restraint?

Greet each other.

The eyes are the mirror of the soul.

This is what we are rediscovering with the now daily use of the mask.

Let's invent other languages.

Those of the eyes, the gestures, the modulation of the voice;

knowing that some will still try to maintain this contact with elbows or feet with relative grace.

Why not?

Reinventing social ties

But, why not take inspiration from the Indian Namaste, a sign of peace, of respect, with our eyes not lowered however as imposed by these traditional societies, but well in the face, and expressive, translating what we can not manifest of more palpable way?

It is a simple question of use.

The habit is acquired very quickly and after a few months spent in India or Japan, many foreigners confess, on their return to the West, their reluctance to (res) shake hands.

Some practical advice: During a first private or public presentation, never forget to take off your mask, just as it is rude to greet, in general, with sunglasses.

In business, whatever the situation, especially in webinars, take care of your appearance;

by putting on a harmonious outfit and, ladies, by putting on makeup.

This will strengthen your confidence, your presence, your speech.

Because, as the writer-traveler Sylvain Tesson notes the height of elegance, is it not to behave alone as in society?

Reinvent love, and friendship, moving away from the attitude that has often become, over the years, consumerist.

It is also an opportunity to promote speech, sometimes overshadowed by a staging or gesture that communication advisers taught to use or decipher in the world of work before.

Your only weapon of conviction will be the mastery of the codes of politeness: the demeanor, the ease in presenting oneself, the clear articulation, the smile, the listening and the respect of the words of the interlocutor, the firm contradiction but polite, but also, reasoning, intellectual rigor, the numbers if necessary, the powerful arguments, the anticipation of questions.

And more than ever, respect punctuality.

In the correspondence, let us avoid evoking in a nagging way, the current situation by introducing your messages by

"I hope that this email will find you in good health".

Don't talk about it!

And avoid the

infantilizing

“take care of yourself”

, straight out of

marketing

language

.

In love but also in friendship: valorization of the spirit.

Reinvent love and friendship, breaking away from the attitude that has often become over the years… consumerist.

In the current situation, and probably in the future, romantic (and friendly) relationships will be more delicate, more selective.

To read also:

For whom the death knell sounds?

The coronavirus, a collective disease that affects in an individual way

Gallantry will resume its original status of spiritual commerce according to Claude Habib, specialist of the eighteenth century and it will be appropriate, for men as for women, to retain the attention in the first place by its spirit.

The great seductresses were not always the most beautiful: George Sand, fascinated many writers and artists ... Madame de Staël, a great number of fine minds, Balzac married, after seventeen years, Madame Hanska with her unknown letter correspondent.

Be, in fact, the one who breathes into the dawn of this new world, friendship and generosity

The opportunity to surpass yourself.

With your close friends, whom the current situation will have allowed you to select, and thus to better understand them perhaps, relearn, enriched by the books that you can finally read, the Art of conversation, too often limited to the profit of superficial exchanges of receptions.

Also, in bringing them together, be very vigilant.

Even if it means entertaining often, receive them in small numbers: an unexpected opportunity to get to know them better.

They will be flattered and you will more easily respect the sanitary distances.

Observe and impose a physical distance that too many people forget, childishly or doped by the euphoria of the moment or alcohol, favoring clusters.

The virus ignores friendship.

At the beginning, let the chorus of plaintiffs let off steam for a few moments (that of Greek tragedies! The plaintiffs, the plotters, the millenarians) ... Then, make sure to change the subject: a book, a film, a music, a work of art, an emotion, a way of discovering sometimes unsuspected aspects of your friends.

And why not, which is too rare in France, and so highly valued by our Italian, Spanish, Greek, Slavic, Russian neighbors, bring in poetry, song or dance.It is more important than ever that your guests leave your home, happy , energized!

And… healthy!

Be, in fact, the one who breathes into the dawn of this new world, friendship and generosity.

It's called… elegance!

What seems to take us apart, perhaps ... brings us closer.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-02-09

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