Monday, February 18, 2008

Limp-Wristed Handshakes: HATE.

Today I experienced the dreaded "limp-wristed handshake." You know what I'm talking about--when a grown-up who should know better reaches out to shake your hand, and before you know it, you're engaged in that lamest-of-all-handshakes, that flaccid excuse for a metacarpal contract, the limp-wristed handshake.

Do you hate it as much as I do? Do you do your best to anticipate it, to make a mid-air approach adjustment in order to mitigate the limpness? You can see it coming: the telltale obtuse-angled wrist, thumb standing like a misleading sentry of strength. You know there is no real way to mitigate it; that the shake-initiator has all the power. Why is that? It makes no sense; it's completely counter-intuitive.

I feel cheated by a limp-wristed handshake. Expecting a firm, reassuring, human connection that communicates with energy and warmth, "Yes! I'm glad you're in the world!", instead I get an unconvincing, half-assed "Ummm. Yes, I see you have a hand. Whatever."

I can almost--almost!--understand this handshake from a woman. I assume when a woman shakes my hand like she has fragile bone syndrome of the wrist, that she was just never taught that a firm handshake communicates honesty and genuine good will. Sometimes I'll even let her in on the firm handshake code.

But--and I know this is not totally fair--when a man can't even summon the strength, initiative, and determination to put his hand out there like he means it, and greet me with an unambiguous, robust handshake with a firm wrist and sincere eye-contact, then I'm automatically annoyed.

Talk to me, people. Is this blog completely off-base? Is a handshake, after all, just a handshake? Or does it communicate way more about a person than he or she may even realize?

I'm just sayin'.


Terri B. said...

I'm with you. I think the way a person shakes hands says a whole heck of a lot. And the limp wristed handshake? Usually says to me that the person doesn't care enough to be bothered. I think you're right about some women not understanding the handshake thing though. Then there are the over-aggressive-crush-your-hand types, but that's another post!

E. Peevie said...

TerriB--I know, it definitely feels like uncaringness--but I try to give the benefit of the doubt about the person's motivation. And yet, I still get annoyed.

Maybe it just communicates that the person was never actually taught how to shake hands?

Or maybe we're just reading too much into it. Either way, it bugs.

But thanks for commenting!


jenbabe said...

Eve- This one made me laugh! It is a pet peave of mine as well!

E. Peevie said...

Thanks for the affirmation, Jenbabe.