The most common form of greeting amongst men is a handshake. At its core, a handshake is a neutral form of greeting whose purpose is to put both parties at ease. However, the handshake can be used to communicate a variety of messages to the other party. Today, we will take a look at the types of handshakes and what they mean.

While reading this article, think about the type of handshake your use in your daily interactions and consider whether you’re conveying your intended message to those you meet. To learn more helpful tips like these, check out the Dr. Squatch blog.

Gaining Trust Through a Handshake

Some people like to go the extra mile in gaining your trust, and it can all start with a handshake. One of the most common ways people do this is by using what’s known as the “Politician’s Handshake.” This is when someone comes in for a handshake, but they use both hands. The left hand is used to cover your hand like a glove.

This form of a handshake is used by someone trying to put the other person at ease. If the person is someone you know, this is a great handshake to garner trust. That’s one reason you see politicians use it.

You will want to use this handshake sparingly with people you’re meeting for the first time. If the person does not know you, this type of handshake can be seen as a way of trying to manipulate their trust.

Showing Acceptance Through a Handshake

Handshakes are also a way to show acceptance of people we already know. There are a couple of different variations on handshakes that help you openly express when you’re happy to see someone. A popular handshake is the “Push and Pull,” where someone is actively showing that they are pleased to see you.

Rather than the normal up and down motion of a handshake, you’re moving more in a circular motion. This conveys energy and enthusiasm to the other person and actively shows that you’re welcoming them. This is a popular form of handshake for people that haven’t seen each other for a while or for close friend and acquaintances.

Then there is the fist bump. This type of modern handshake is all about acceptance and brotherhood. You’re showing the person that you’re comfortable with them, and a fist bump is an effective way to show this.

Note that a fist bump is more for those you know already. Using a fist bump with a random person or someone you just met is more awkward than welcoming.

Don’t Be a Dead Fish

One of the worst handshakes you can give someone is what we call the dead fish handshake. It is when someone presents a limp hand to someone and applies little to no pressure at all in the handshake. This type of handshake will send out multiple messages, and none of them are good.

Firstly, this type of handshake can convey disinterest in the opposite party. It may communicate that you don’t feel they are worthy of a proper handshake and thus not worthy of your time. The other message that it can convey is that you lack confidence. You are not confident enough in yourself and your abilities to offer a handshake on equal ground with the other person.

Stay Away from the Bone Crusher

Many men are trained to be dominant with their handshakes. This leads to men using the bone-Crusher technique, where they apply excessive pressure to the other person’s hand. At times, this will leave the other person’s hand throbbing and may even injure the other person’s hand.

This technique is used by those who want to appear dominant. They may be trying to communicate that they are a “go-getter” and can get the job done. However, it is a technique you should discontinue immediately for multiple reasons.

Firstly, this approach is viewed as overly aggressive by some and can even be regarded as disrespectful. If you were to go into a potential employer’s office and gave this type of handshake, it may convey that you do not take others into consideration, which means you may not take the job seriously.

Next, some may take this approach to be a form of bullying, manipulation, and depending on the degree of pressure you use, it could be considered assault. If you were to cause injury due to applying too much pressure, you might also face legal charges. It’s best to avoid this technique altogether.

The Old School Handshake is Your Best Bet

There are many different types of handshakes, and what they mean can vary depending on the person and the situation you’re in. While it may seem cliché, the best tool for meeting and greeting others is still the classic handshake. A simple handshake should consist of the following steps:

  • Keep good posture
  • Make eye contact
  • Hold out your right hand
  • Smile and greet the person
  • Apply average yet firm pressure
  • Shake for about 2 seconds
  • Release

A handshake should be short and simple. Yes, it is a bit old school, but it is still seen by many as the most professional way to greet someone in most social settings. It is not dominant or submissive and puts both you and the other person on an equal footing to start the encounter.

As you get to know the person, you can modify your approach as you feel it is appropriate. When in doubt, it is always a good idea to default to the classic handshake. You always want to give a good first impression, and a proper handshake will go a long way in providing the right impression to those you meet.

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