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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Shake Me, Break Me

Dude, what's WITH all the limp handshakes?!

I'm going to go on a sexist tangent here in saying I don't seem to meet women with strong, confident handshakes. And it bugs me to no end! What's this, some hangover from Patriarchy-decree days, women are not really supposed to shake hands but merely grasp an offered hand limply and demurely?

Here's the funny thing. Most of these women are the strong-minded, independent, smart variety ... and it puzzles me to no end why they'd compromise on a thing like a handshake. Especially when they know the connotation. Allow me to point out that I have also met men who have limp handshakes.

I've had a firm grip sorta handshake right since I was old enough to know what you could say with a handshake. It's been remarked on numerous times. 'Gosh, you've got a really firm grip!'. Always the tone of surprise. And almost always from men. One chap had a grip that could break rocks and he turned around to tell me he thought mine was really firm, as if he couldn't quite believe it ... while I was trying to surreptitiously stretch my fingers and stop them throbbing.

Why shouldn't I? Hell, why shouldn't anyone? A woman especially. It's no longer enough to smile and say hello when you meet someone, especially in a professional capacity. A handshake puts a completely different spin on things.

Socially, things may be slightly different. I don't usually resort to a handshake. Hugs are reserved only for those who actually mean something to me. And while shaking hands isn't mandatory, I do think it's important to reciprocate well when proferred someone's hand.

I know, I know ... a handshake is a rather minor and petty thing to judge someone upon, but I cannot help it. I may have a very good time with whoever it is, and while I won't let my first impressions ruin things ... a limp handshake still makes me go 'ee-yuck!' mentally.

Thing is, it's quite easy to fake a firm grip, as it was pointed out to me. I'm not saying one should. I'm saying, the first few times you have to remind yourself to but it soon turns into a habit ... so what's so bad about adopting something that is ultimately a good thing?

Ah and my ruminations have been prompted by Parul's point about shaking hands. That and all the limp jelly-fish-and-eels handshakes I've encountered over the years.


  1. I've even turned down jobs when the prospective recruiter did not have a firm handshake.
    i totally appreciate a good handshake.

  2. Anonymous6:50 PM

    Some people give 2 fingernails shake - that's all you get :P

  3. I can deal with a limp handshake. I dislike the overly aggressive bonecrushing ones more. It's like people read somehwere that it's all in the handshake and went overboard.

  4. In one of the communication skills training that I attended, it was told that a lot says about a person, the way he/she shakes hands... While the trainer shook hands with everyone before he said anything, I was so pleased to know when he said that mine was the perfect hand shake.. :-)

  5. Rayshma: Somehow, that's exactly what I'd expected of you :)

    Celestialrays: Those are the absolute worst! What do I do with two extended fingers?!

    The Bride: Haha, I don't think I've been the recipient of many crushing handshakes ... they'd be painful alright! Poor fingers!

    That's what I'm talking about!

  6. Why should someone not really a product of confidence school fake a handshake to appear so? Should one start master the art of grip, would the personality follow? And how disspointed would you be to realise it was faked? Every baseball hitter and cricket batsman would have a firm handshake you know, even a gym freak; professional hazard. My point, it is a bit overrated.

  7. Anish: it may be overrated, but it's a first impression. if someone who is confident and all that has a bad handshake, the road is downhill from there, when it need not have been.
    not sure this makes sense. my brains're a bit fried. but well... with the two of you, i can still hit publish and hope you get it! :)

  8. shireen4:08 PM

    I swear!! I detest limp,wet handshakes with a passion...