Saturday, July 21, 2012

shake down

Since I'm still relatively new around the Newman Center, I have the occasion of shaking someone's hand nearly everyday. And due to being blessed as a Catholic and having the privilege to attend mass nearly everyday, I shake hands at least a couple people during the sign of peace.

Now, the topic of the mass and how much I love the signs and sacrament of our tradition could be 50 posts in and of themselves but today I'll just focus on one thing.

I can't even tell you how many conversations I've had with people about handshakes. 
What makes a good handshake, what makes a bad handshake, eye contact, etc.
And over the years of gathering this empirical and highly scientific data, I have come to a couple of conclusions:

  1. Nearly everyone has the same criteria which makes for a good handshake.
  2. While everyone seems to be on the same page in regards to what a handshake should be like, there are STILL people out there who give bad handshakes.
The second point above isn't really a conclusion but more like a strange occurrence that I can't figure out! I (and others) feel that a good handshake is firm (but not too hard), the person should make eye contact, the entire hand should be used in the shake, and the length of the handshake is just long enough, but not too long.

And yet, while everyone agrees on these elements, there are STILL people who give a bad handshake! What's up with that?! And not only is a bad handshake something that almost makes me cringe on the inside, but it makes for a horrible first impression!

A handshake that is limp which only uses a few fingers to grab onto the receivers hand is the worst. Absolute worst. The only thing that makes it worse is if the hand is sweaty. Yuck.
And I almost feel bad saying that because it's not the sweat that makes the handshake fact, I don't mind a sweaty handshake as long as it was firm and everything else was in order.
Sweat ≠ bad handshake But the combo of limp hand and sweat makes my insides coil.

However. A good handshake, one that is firm, but not bone-crushing; long enough to get out a "very nice to meet you/see you"; is accompanied with eye contact and a THAT is the best first impression that one can make.

I have had, on occasion, recieved a too-hard handshake...ow. Actually, a few days ago in mass, I shook the hand of a young man whose hand was definitely 2 times the size of my hand...and he squeezed my hand so hard, one of my knuckles popped! It was actually kind of funny, I don't think he noticed...but I would much rather receive a too-strong handshake than a weak, gross one.

I'm sorry if this offends anyone, this is just my opinion and this post isn't directed to anyone in particular, I just find things like this interesting :)

And just in case you're wondering, I have an excellent handshake ;)
and yes, I think that this post title IS rather clever :)


  1. You are a funny gal...which unfortunately makes me miss you more!

  2. YAY!!! I finally figured out how to publish a comment! But, that does NOT mean I am going back through this blog...just so ya know :)


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