The Cringe Is Strong With The Zoom Wave

Kevin Wanke
4 min readSep 26, 2021

Cringe: to feel very embarrassed or awkward; react with discomfort. That strange, awkward feeling that one gets when you do something that everyone else is doing, but it feels really weird when actually performing the action.

This specific action is one that was never performed in a pre-pandemic world. Walking out of someone’s office or out of the meeting was the final action in the workplace play.

Now, we all awkwardly stare at each other while surreptitiously trying to blindly click the ‘Leave’ button without breaking eye contact. That or we all end up committing the most cringy action of all to end a pandemic video conference.

I am talking about waving.

This action is one I never remember doing in the workplace before now.

Sure, maybe occasionally out a window or across a parking lot. But never before in a meeting or workplace interior.

Think of how strange this behavior would have been 5 years ago.

“Hey, Chris! How are you today? Me? I am great. hope you have a good day.”


Ugh. No thanks.

Photo by Beci Harmony on Unsplash

The problem is, this has become a part of the culture. This past week I even tried to not wave which felt even more awkward and strange than in doing the act itself.

Were people judging me for not waving? Did they think I was upset or in a bad mood?

Did slamming the ‘Leave’ button just to get away without watching everyone else wave send the wrong message?

There is a whole lot to love about working remotely. The optional pants are wonderful.

Fresh, homemade coffee is amazing. Wearing my house slippers for eight hours a day is a luxurious feeling that used to be reserved for wet, rainy, and cold Sundays.

Not anymore! We get to do and experience all of these wonderful things.

All for the cost of a wave.

But I am not the only one that feels this way!

Kevin Wanke

Engineer. Manager. Dadmin. Wanna-be Writer. Editor-In-Chief & Grand Poobah of