How Not To: Shake Hands

11 Sep

The web is chock full of tutorials on how to do things—deep clean an oven, defrag your hard drive, make a sleeping bag out of curtains and duct tape. Here at Cushion, I show you what actions you’ll be wanting to avoid—a dos and donts list, without the dos. Please, allow me to make the mistakes, so you don’t have to. 

The importance of a good handshake is stressed ad nauseum by savvy business (and social!) advisors. If my experience is any indicator, somehow people are still not getting the message. Pleased to meet you! But please don’t:

Break my fingers. Yes, you strong man. Me weak woman. Hulk SMASH! But seriously, I can only assume the hand-crusher is rooted in deep-seated insecurities. Nobody wants to be in pain, so please, lighten up.

Forget to shake. It makes me feel like I’m in a foreign country (or at least another era) when someone simply holds my hand in greeting. I’m not saying we have to shake it like salt shaka, but can we go up and down at least once?

Make me do all the work. Limp noodles belong in the pasta bowl. Also, it makes me feel overly aggressive.

Make like we’re at Brownies. Did you ever play pass the squeeze in scouts? When you give my hand that single squeeze, it’s like a physical wink. I always look at the squeezer to make sure I’m not missing a secret message.

Hook fingers. It’s called a handshake.  Unless you’re reaching across an expanse of water, please clasp the whole hand.

Forget to dry your hands. When you come out of the bathroom, I don’t know whether they’re wet because you just washed them, or something more sinister, but neither is something I want to be a part of.

Avoid eye contact. Touching someone is an oddly intimate thing, even when it’s just hands. Let’s not make this weirder than it is by averting your eyes.

High-five me. Not because it’s unprofessional. Because I’ll miss. Eye-hand coordination has always been a challenge. You don’t want to embarrass me, do you?

Don’t answer that.


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