The Reluctant Prospector

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Is Shaking Hands Too 20th Century in Today's Germophobic World?

handshake

Last year (or the year before? Egads), I wrote a blog called "Always extend your hand first" which encouraged the more introverted among us to always initiate the handshake instead of waiting for the other person to do it. Why? Because if the other person doesn't do it, and no handshake ensues, the relationship starts off awkwardly.

I got an email yesterday from someone who didn't agree with me (and that's always cool). She said that she's finding more and more people avoiding hand-contact upon introduction due to concerns about germs & flu's & such. So, she's decided never to initiate a handshake and let the other person decide the matter.

Hmmmmm. I'm a bit skeptical. While I'm no hand-shaking expert, I can't say that I've noticed any trend toward avoiding introductory contact. And I wonder if this reaction has more to do with the non-initiator's attitude toward touch than a concern over the other person's preference.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not disagreeing with or belittling my reader's opinion! Maybe she's onto something I've been too socially isolated lately to notice.

However, I believe I shall continue to initiate handshakes - I'd much rather take the risk of being rebuffed by my introductee, than of alienating a potential new friend or client.

Thoughts? Please share!!

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Comment balloon 20 commentsJennifer Allan-Hagedorn • August 14 2009 07:20AM
Is Shaking Hands Too 20th Century in Today's Germophobic World?
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Last year (or the year before? Egads), I wrote a blog called " Always extend your hand first " which encouraged the more introverted among us to always initiate the handshake instead of waiting for the other person to do it. Why?… more