Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Handshaking Etiquette: Ten Survival Tips

What's in a handshake?  If you ask me (and I'm assuming you are asking seeing you're here), quite a bit.  The simple action of grabbing someone's hand and shaking it about the place can convey a lot about a person. Or lead to wild assumptions by an over-active imagination.

With ProBlogger just around the corner, I needed to get a post up so I thought I'd share some (questionable) handshake survival tips or as I like to call it...

How not to get punched in the face


1. The Vertical Approach
Quite simple really, go in with your hand in a nice vertical position.  This says to the shakee "I'm not here for a power trip".  You know what I mean, when someone comes in over the top with their hand horizontal and palm down. This is a clear sign they want to be the alpha .

Pro-tip: Don't do it, it's a dick move and if someone tries it on me I'll spend the next five minutes wrestling their hand upright.  It'll get weird.

2. The Turbo Shake
Again, pretty simple.  Get in there, shake, then get the hell out.  It's a social pleasantry, nothing more so don't be one of those people that makes it go on for an awkward length of time.  Two shakes ought to do it.

Pro-tip: If you find yourself on the receiving end of one of these stupidly long handshakes a good way to break it off is to give the over zealous shaker a little tickle in their palm with one of your fingers.  Sure they'll think you're some kind of freak but it's a guaranteed 'Shake Breaker'.

3. The Up and Down
This isn't a tug of war so this business of pushing and pulling, flipping and flopping has no place in the handshake world.  Up and down, up and down and break.

Pro-tip: Should you encounter a pusher and puller simply fall into them when they do the pull motion. It will confuse them enough to allow for an end to the shenanigans.  Be sure to protect your beverage as this manoeuvre can get messy really quickly.

4. The One Hander
Don't be tempted to bring your second hand into the shake. Even though it's supposed to represent sincerity all it really does is make you look like a condescending twit.  A well timed shoulder slap in conjunction with the shake can be acceptable but approach this with caution. If you mis-time this you could end up slapping the person in the face which rarely goes down well.

Pro-tip: If someone is a clasper (placing the second hand over the shake) you can go for the double clasp (place your second hand over their second hand); this is a bold move as it could quickly turn into a game of 'Handy-fisty'.  While not dangerous it can quickly escalate into the more serious game of 'Punchy-bleedy'.

Handy Fisty
Handy Fisty can easily get out of control


5. The Dead Fish
Nobody likes to squeeze a dead fish. Nobody. Most people have bones in their hands so there's really no excuse for offering up a limp, squishy hand.

Pro-tip: If you find yourself being given a dead fish shake the best approach is to crack a lame joke about fish-fingers, they'll be lost but you can chuckle to yourself at your witty banter.   

The Dead Fish Handshake
The Dead Fish
6. The Half Grip
If you're shaking hands then go for the proper full grip. I'm talking complete docking of the hands. Don't be getting all grabby and just squeeze my fingers. It's bad form and it's bloody annoying to have my finger bones ground together.

Pro-tip:  If ever you find yourself on the end of one of these you can do the polite thing and laugh about it and ask for a do-over pretending the whole thing is your fault or you can go for broke and grab their wrist with your free hand and break the shake, ask where they learned how to shake hands and demand a re-shake but this time done like a normal person. Note, the second method isn't advised if you are in something like a job interview.

7. The Pulveriser
You know what I'm talking about, those big boofy blokes who seem to think breaking all the bones in your hand is socially acceptable.  I'll give you the tip, it's not.  It's not impressive either, it just makes me want to slap them repeatedly with my not-broken hand.

Pro-tip: If you're unfortunate enough to be trapped by one of these you don't have a lot of options as your hand is reduced to a mess of bones in all the wrong places.  Your best bet is to try to laugh it off and quip something like "Damn dude, ease up on the steroids!"  If that fails, kick them in the nuts. Then run away.

8. The WTF
Ever gone in for a handshake and the other party has met your hand with the wrong one?  Traditionally, when you offer your right hand the recipient comes in with their right hand as well but when they come in with their left hand it's confusing and really awkward.  Of course the exception to this is if the other person has a broken right hand from someone who previously gave them a Pulveriser.

Pro-tip: You have to be quick but if they come in with the wrong hand quickly change hands yourself. It's a ninja move with a small window of opportunity but if you pull it off you'll feel pretty smug.

9. The 'Soul Brother'

No matter how tempting it might be never go in for the combo shake.  The elaborate, choreographed moves which take a good five minutes to execute might seem totally awesome in your head but unless the shakee has also memorised the routine there is very little chance things will work out as you anticipated.

Pro-tip: Don't do it. Just don't.

10. The Awkward Five

We've all seen it and cringed, someone decides it would be hip to go in for a high-five but unfortunately for them, the other person has no clue what is happening and caught is off guard so they either do nothing leaving you hanging or they go for the awkward grab of the incoming five which results in an uncomfortable and slightly weird mid-air holding of hands.  Either way, nobody wins.

Pro-tip: There's not much hope for this situation, just grit your teeth and hope for the best.

That's a good handshake right there

So there you have it, all the tips you'll need to successfully navigate the minefield that is shaking hands.

These tips may or may not help you so apply them at your own risk.  At the very least it might help you to become an awesome shaker of hands.

You're welcome.

Got any handshake tips of your own?

PS. I know I've been slack lately but I've been painting the house!