At some random networking event. Or maybe me just trying to network…
Person: Hi, I’m <insert name here>. What’s your name?
Me: Hi, I’m Courtney. Nice to meet you.
Person: (extends hand for handshake)
Me: (freezes as pure chaos erupts in my mind)
The first thing that pops into my head – please don’t touch me. Then it goes downhill from there. I don’t want to shake your hand. I have no idea where your hands have been. Did you wash your hands after using the restroom? What if your hands are sticky? What if they’re wet? What if they’re clammy? My hands are always cold. I’m gonna freeze them to death if I shake their hand. What if my grip is too tight? What if their grip is limp? How long is too long for a handshake? What is my exit strategy if they hold my hand too long? Should I give a gentle tug to suggest that I want my hand back? Or do I just snatch my hand back? I hope their lotion doesn’t have a lot of chemicals in it. I would hate to breakout from shaking someone’s hand. Is my hand gonna smell like their hand now?
Seriously – all of this and more goes down when someone extends their hand for me to shake.
And when I meet new clients its even worse. There are times where I should extend my hand for a welcoming handshake. I’ve come up with clever ways to circumvent that awkwardness. I carry things to pass out. I keep just enough distance where I’m not being strange, but it would be awkward to attempt to shake hands. Or I try and facilitate everything so I’m too busy to shake hands.
I know, I’m a mess. But I’m working on it. And in the meantime, I’ll just avoid the handshake by any means necessary.
So often times, when I’m being introduced, I find myself waving and smiling. It’s my offensive attack on the handshake. Beat them to a handshake with a wave. Then we’re all nice and friendly and my hand is safe!
- The Five Mistakes That Can Ruin Any Handshake (lifehacker.com)