Oh how the mighty have fallen.
Yes, the Hug has replaced you. Why? That is a fair question. The answer is not clear, however I do have a few theories. Before we get to your untimely demise, let’s talk about our two friends, the Handshake and the Hug.
The Handshake is old fashioned, yes, but also respectable. It doesn’t take liberties, it is the strong and silent type. The Hug is comforting and friendly, but also too eager and can be overly friendly when not operated properly. I find it strange to meet someone for the first time and then end that meeting with a hug. Slow down there, bub! We are not there yet. When will we get to the Hug? It varies from person to person, so just keep it to yourself until that time.
I blame operator errors of the Handshake that has allowed the Hug to take over. Some of the classic Handshake mistakes are so foul you can totally understand why someone would rather hug the offender than shake their hand. Let’s look at some classic mistakes together, shall we?
Mistake #1: The Limp Fish
Everybody knows the Limp Fish. You put your hand out and your Handshake partner totally fails and just places a cadaver hand in yours. No grip, totally lifeless, and not even a glimmer of a shake. Totally unacceptable. Consult an encyclopedia, ask your Uncle Herman, or you-tube it but please, do NOT simply place your hand in someone else’s hand. They want to shake your hand not hold it. When my Handshake partner does this, I assume that they really do not care what impression they are making on the world. Are they depressed? Do they go home and eat a bowl of cereal in the dark?
Mistake #2: The Overly Firm Grip with the Lean In
This is an aggressive one. Perhaps overcompensating is a better word. Firmness is most important in a Handshake, but when the grip is too firm it is frightening. Don’t worry, my hand isn’t going anywhere. No really, I’m good. I’ve already had my daily hand crushing today.
So let’s say your Handshake partner is not only gripping your hand like iron but then they lean into it. Yes, that’s right. They lean into it, towards YOU! What exactly is the expectation here? Are you fishing for a kiss or is this some kind of power move? Are we going to lock horns in the parking lot? What is going on?
Reel it in, loosen up, and stop trying so hard.
Mistake #3: The Princess Shake
Do not ever put your hand out like someone is going to kiss it. EVER!!! Unless you are Scarlett O’Hara or Eliazabeth Bennet, you should not expect that a person is going to kiss your hand on the first greeting. It makes you look like a total weirdo that you think someone is going to kiss your hand. Do not expect that another person is going to kiss your hand. Who are you?!?!? Who do you think you are, the Queen of Sheba?!?!??! Are you insane?!?!?!
Yep….you guessed it! Two separate occasions in my life, upon participating in a Handshake experience, my Handshake partner put her hand up like I should kiss it. I grabbed it and shook it because I am not Cyrano de Bergerac or The Count of Monte Cristo.
NO ONE WANTS TO KISS YOUR HAND, BUNNY, THE SEWING MACHINE SALES LADY!!!!
Now if your Handshake partner decides to kiss your hand, that is their business. It can be a nice gesture and very surprising. To expect a hand kiss is a little desperate and just plain strange. This shake is not common, but it is the most offensive.
Helpful Handshake Operator Instructions:
Your hand must be dry, firm, and when you shake make sure it is two shakes only. Overly shaking your Handshake partner’s hand hits all of the points that we have already discussed. Overcompensating, invasive, desperate, and weird. Weird, weird, WEIRD! Stop it! Let go of my hand, freak!
Your hand should NEVER be damp.
I occasionally do perform the two handed Handshake but this move should only be utilized if you are an experienced Handshake operator. It goes like this:
1. Offer your hand.
2. Shake your Handshake partner’s hand once.
3. Put your hand on top of their hand.
4. Shake once more.
The Two-Handed works best when either you are shaking hands with someone whom your really appreciate or speaking passionately to. Going overboard with it will make you seem…..you guessed it…desperate and weird.
Not that we are all informed, get out there and put your Handshakes into action. If you are making Handshake mistakes, practice until you get it right. It might save you from some awkward, I just met you but I don’t know what to do so I think we should Hug, Hugging.
I can not guarantee that your Handshake will always be accepted, but there is no harm in trying. Once, while attempting a parting Handshake, I offered my hand and my Handshake partner grabbed my hand and used it as a device to pull me into a Hug.
I guess some people insist on their Hugs as much as I insist on a Handshake.
What a world!