Spinning Thoughts & Tales ~

Shake hands or not…

Last year during the big H1N1 flu panic, (is it a pandemic or not), people were advised not to shake hands.  So, we all stopped.  Have you noticed the antiseptic hand sanitizer everywhere? Does this mean we can shake hands again when we meet someone new? 

I was taught to shake hands.  Last year, shaking hands was verboten.  Now, what do I do when I am at a conference?  Do I stick out my clean hand?  Do I nod politely? Do I (shudder) fist bump?  I shudder, because it is not me.  I am cool, just not that cool.  Can I still say cool and be cool?  Now, I am really second guessing myself.  I suppose I could just google the question; does one shake hands or not, to find out the answer because somebody out there will know. 

I lived in Peru several years ago.  I loved it and hated it.  I was 28, raising  two sons in a country where people did not speak English, while the Big Guy was off in the jungle working.  The boys were young, resilient, and hopefully, would not miss home, too much.  It was a great an adventure.   And, I kissed many people on their cheeks.  Peruvians are lovely people.  They kiss both your cheeks to say hello and goodbye.  I smelled some wonderful perfumes and aftershave, too.  Hmm.   When we returned home, greeting someone with a kiss was something I missed.  I still do.  There is an immediate bond of respect toward the other person.   I like that.  The only down side would be if someone was betraying me and kissed me, signalling some nefarious deed, then, not so much into the kissing the cheeks.  And, at a conference or a business meeting, probably not the thing to do.  I am Canadian.  So…not done, well, there may be some foo, foo, shee, shee types who kiss cheeks or air cheek kiss.  An air cheek kiss does not look sincere.  When I meet someone, I am sincere and truly interested in them.  Now I have a dilemma, do I shake hands or nod in acknowledgment?

What do you do?  Do you shake hands when meeting someone?  Are you afraid of catching something if you shook hands with a stranger?  What is the norm at a conference?  Should I shake hands?  Should I nod?


Comments on: "Shake hands or not…" (11)

  1. I shake hands unless I’m sick. If I’m sick, I say, “Sorry, I’m a little under the weather and don’t want to give you any germs.” People seem to appreciate that.

    My mom always taught me that men shouldn’t shake women’s hands unless the woman offers her hand first. I’ve never seen that in practice, but it seems like a nice rule. I just don’t like to shake some men’s hands because to them, “firm grip,” means crushing all my tiny hand-bones in their big meat hooks. Blerg.

    • Good rule. Hm, never heard of the men not shaking a woman’s hand unless she offers her hand first. I guess I have always extended my hand first. I am equal thing. Hey, some guys have to press a little too firm. Good blog yourself today, I couldn’t comment for some reason, will try later. Surfacing for lunch right now.


  2. Stormy (a.k.a. Bacon Sex Betty) said:

    I’m such an over-the-top tactile person, I’m more likely to hug you than shake your hand – germs be damned.

    Only thing that squicks me are those men who, when shaking your hand, extend their index finger up along the inside of your wrist. Gives me the creeps.

    • If they do that, there’s a thing you can do where you press on their hand under their pinkie that hurts like bejeesus but doesn’t take any strength. My brother did it when we were kids and I’ve kept it for skeezoids :)

      • I’m going to try that on the Big Guy, not that he would do that particular move on any woman. I’ll just do the press thing for a practise run.
        Thanks, Bethany.

    • Well, I am a hugger too, germs be damned. I used to be kisser, sadly in North America, the kissing of the cheek is not the norm. Yes, that would give me the creeps too. The extended finger – how insulting, that has to be a power, control, sexual thing. Gross. Just Gross!

  3. If I met you in real life, I would hug you. But a stranger… nope.

    At our university’s new faculty orientation this year they told us not to shake hands, so we just smiled and nodded at everyone. It felt strange not to shake hands.

    • It DOES feel strange not to shake someone’s hand. The interesting thing is men will put out their hand and shake it, whereas a woman does not. Two men shook my hand and one woman. Interesting.

      I will have to ask my DIL (librarian at UBC) what she does. She flew out to a conference in Georgetown last month, one of the universities in Washington, I wonder what the protocol was. It was on helping business with library search engines, I think. I will ask.

  4. Sanitizer? Bad. It lowers the body’s immunity fighting capabilities and we are being over-run with super-germs that we can’t battle because we are all covered in squirty alcohol.
    Hand shaking, still okay from what I hear, except in the case of an announcement like Bona Fide said.
    But then, I don’t really meet very many new people, so maybe don’t listen to me.

    • Well, I am listening to you Julie. In BFB case, yes, she would have to go with the announcement.

      We are all so germphobic now. The sanitizer is everywhere. The world is full of people who are not very good about their own cleanliness, therefore, airborne/touch borne germs can cause sickness. I don’t want the bird flu or any other flu, cause I have asthma and it could kill me if it gets into the lungs. Don’t want to die yet.

      My boys ate dirt, I ate dirt, the Big Guy hate dirt, we were allowed to play in the dirt, we are healthy and have pretty strong immune systems, it is the other people out there who could cause a pandemic. Haven’t all these terrible diseases centered around human and animal waste not being washed off and transferred? Yeah, a little dirt will not hurt you, it is the other stuff.

      Okay, it is official, I talked about poop in the blog comments.

      Wash your hands people. Take off your mucky boots and shoes people. Okay, Public Service Announcement is over.

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