Someone Explain Handshakes to Me…


I had this interesting encounter over the break. I was at a Christmas Eve service at my church and I was greeting a friend of mine. Now I thought we were at that level of familiarity where it was okay to hug, but then it got weird. He went for a high five, I went for a hug, and long story short, we ended up doing the arm-worm, like two kids at a club who forgot they could use their legs to do that dancing thing.

Weird part (yeah, arm-worm-dance-thing was not the weird part): I wasn’t fazed. See, in my life, I’m what polite people call “awdorkable.” Except, I’m not dorky (does an obsession with Doctor Who count as “dorky?”) or adorable… I’m just awkward. And at this point, I have no shame – I am a proudly awkward human being!

When it comes to greetings, I just don’t know what to do with my hands (get your mind out of the gutter…be cool, okay reader?). I know what I’m doing in a hug, but handshakes? Forget it.

I once accidentally held hands with a man during an interview. Did I do that awkward thing where I held hands for too damn long? You betcha! Did I have an awesome brain fart and forgot where to put my fingers and then oddly stroke his palm? Hell yeah I did! Am I proud? Well reader, he did have soft hands…  Have I fixed my handshaking problem? Nah…

I like hugging because, frankly put, I just don’t understand the handshake thing. When you think about it, it’s a really weird way to say hello. We grip each other’s hands to establish an acknowledgement of the other’s existence. Granted, gripping the whole body isn’t better…but at least I know where my hands go, and for how long.   Handshakes always seem simple enough, until I do them.  Something always goes wrong.

Think I’m over-reacting? Observe, my fantastic reader:

Things That Go Wrong in Handshaking

  1. My hand is too stiff.
  2. My grip’s too tight.
  3. My grip’s too loose.
  4. I’m holding for too long.
  5.  I let go too soon.
  6. “Where does my other hand go?”
  7. “Where do my eyes go?”
  8. “How does one let go when the other holds on?”

See what I mean? That’s not an exhaustive list.

Come to think of it, I might just have an over-thinking problem…

Can you relate? Leave a comment down below!