Do You Avoid Shaking Hands?

Do You Avoid Shaking Hands?

A firm handshake is a solid building block in a business relationship and also a fantastic way to share in whatever germ-laden trip the owner has recently taken it on. Do you abhor the handshake?

Over at the Boston Globe, Neil Swidey poses the question: will we ever get rid of the handshake? It’s a well-aged practice dating back millenniums and long thought to be a way for two people to demonstrate that they were unarmed. These days we tend to settle more matters with rapier wit and less with actual rapiers, so the gesture has certainly lost some of its swashbuckling flair.

Last month, swine flu officially became a pandemic. Public health officials have said so-called “social distancing” strategies — sharply reducing contact with others — have proved most effective in slowing the spread of previous outbreaks, such as the 1918 flu pandemic. And they told us to cut down on our handshakes as much as we could. Northeastern University heeded the advice, asking its graduates not to shake hands when receiving their diplomas during the school’s commencement ceremony in May.

Even before public health officials were urging us to stop grinding our collection of pathogens into the hands of strangers, many people were growing tired of the hand shaking ritual.

Have you eschewed the handshake for another greeting? Still keep shaking but keep a hand sanitizer in your briefcase? Sound off in the comments below with your stance on handshakes.

Let The Handshake Meet an End [via TechCruch]


  • Yeah – touching is awkward and potentially dangerous. Eye contact is unnerving too so if you want to say hello, Twitter me!

    (In reality, anyone who doesn’t shake hands with me upon greeting is automatically relegated to the bottom of the heap. If anyone refuses without a real good explanation – swine flu does not suffice – they are ignored outright)

  • Whilst I mostly understand people’s concerns about germs, has anyone else noticed that as more and more cleaning and sanitation products have come on the market, allowing us to keep our homes and ourselves super-squeaky-clean at all times, more kids seem to be getting allergies / having reactions to things, and people seem to have weaker immune systems overall? In addition to which, we seem to be breeding tougher bugs by dosing absolutely everything with the nearest drug to hand.

    Personally, I’m more than happy shaking hands with people. As a kid I used to spend all my time outside playing in the dirt, and getting a good amount of it all over myself and in my mouth, and I figure if I can survive that, I can survive pretty much anything (I have a tough immune system now, I’ve never had flu for example).

    My one caveat on handshakes is those macho idiots who insist on squishing your hand as hard as possible in a vain attempt to state their dominance over you. If any of them are reading, mate, yes, I’m a woman and my hand is somewhat squishable, but to achieve any kind of dominance in a meeting with me, you’re going to need more than the ability to squish hands – get over yourself.

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