Social Question

rebbel's avatar

How would you shake my hand? Or that of my sister?

Asked by rebbel (27088points) September 20th, 2010

I’ve been taught, when shaking someone’s hand, to give a firm one when meeting a man, and less firm when meeting a woman.
However, sometimes i shake a man’s hand and in return i get a weak shake back.
Do you decrease the strength of your shake when that happens to balance it?
Or when you shake a woman’s hand and you get a much more firm shake back, more firm then you would expect, do you increase the power of your handshake?
So, i would like to know how i deal with that in the given circumstances.
And what is your shake etiquette?

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34 Answers

Hawkeye's avatar

Yes. Always a firm hand shake with a man a less firm with a lady

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I look at handshaking as a soical greeting and so give a firm shake for men or women. There’s no need for me to squeeze harder for a man than a woman but I’m a smallish female so maybe no one’s expecting me to give an iron grip.

ducky_dnl's avatar

I give high-fives.

Kayak8's avatar

If your sister is older than I, I would stand up to shake her hand and would be firm, but would likely be firmer shaking your hand. I am female and have been told by Mormon missionaries that I give a good solid handshake (I figure door-to-door religion sales folk are probably a decent judge of a good handshake!).

muppetish's avatar

I shake everyone’s hand with the same degree of firmness, but I don’t like shaking hands at all.

bob_'s avatar

It depends. How old is your sister? Is she single? Got any pics? Does she like to make sandwiches?

syz's avatar

I am female and I give a firm handshake. Limp handshakes make me shudder.

faye's avatar

Firm for both unless the person appears frail. But with H1N1 about last year, handshaking was off.

rebbel's avatar

@bob_: the sister…, i just put her in my question because i needed a woman, but in reality i don’t have one.

bob_'s avatar

@rebbel Say what? This question is BOGUS man!

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

My handshake is exactly the same for everyone unless they seem frail. If you give me a limp handshake, for whatever reason, I’ll judge you for it.

rebbel's avatar

No, only my sister is bogus, @bob_.
I wanted to give my neighbour a place in my question first, but she is old already and has a very weak shake.

wundayatta's avatar

All in all, I’d rather have a milkshake.

rebbel's avatar

I have a very strange picture in mind with that statement, @wundayatta :-)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@wundayatta Will you drink my milkshake?

iamthemob's avatar

Hugs and cheek kisses.

But of course, when the situation calls for the handshake (e.g., business), I shake firmly, man or woman. I do lighten up for people who look frail.

I just think getting a weak, dead-fish style handshake is one of the grossest things ever. I wouldn’t want to subject anyone to that.

bob_'s avatar

@rebbel Your question has caused me high levels of stress and mental anguish. I must therefore sue you for $100 million dollars. You’ll be hearing from my lawyers.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but who you can sue.”

troubleinharlem's avatar

With my left hand, and being sure to break out the germ killer afterwards.
not really.

DominicX's avatar

I always try to give a firm handshake to anyone. I’d never heard of changing it based on gender…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Same firm handshake for all.

marinelife's avatar

I give equally firm handshakes to men as to women.

rebbel's avatar

Let me clearify my less firm shake for women statement.
It is less strong, yet still firm.
It’s just that my parents told me to not squeeze a woman’s hand to pulp.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@rebbel Did they then tell you that you should squeeze a man’s hand to a pulp?

Really, I’ve never heard of changing it at all for a woman. I’ve heard of changing it because they were old or sick, though.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I go with whatever style the hand-shaker is giving. It has nothing to do with their gender.

tedibear's avatar

Everyone gets the same firm – not iron gripped – handshake from me. The ones that make me crazy are women who do that fingertip handshake thing. GAH! That feels to freaking strange.

jerv's avatar

I am hesitant to shake hands with many people since I am not always good about dialing my grip down a notch and have crushed a few fingers by accident.

I don’t change grips based on gender though. I know female mechanics and warehouse workers, and quite a few “girly” men, so the presence or absence of a Y chromosome has no bearing on my actions.

ucme's avatar

Err same as. I mean last I looked this is the twenty first century. We’re not living in times of old when women were seen as petite fragile little creatures. It’s not like their hands are made of china!

augustlan's avatar

Like most of the others have said, equally firm, unless the recipient is frail. I like a good handshake… firm, but not too firm. It’s an art.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Best suggestion I came across was return the amount of pressure the other person gives you. And watch out with firm handshakes with the elderly. I was always a firm shaker. One day I shook hands with an older retired farmer. and seriously “crushed” his hand. He had arthritis. 20 years ago and still bothers me.

rebbel's avatar

Thank you all, i am thinking about changing my shaking regime…, equal strength for both sexes.

rodydoe89's avatar

Hand shakes are one of the easiest forms of body language to interpret. I believe it’s best to balance the handshake; If the other person’s grip is strong, try to meet his/her strength. Also, I like to make sure our palms are equal, for example, the backs of our hands are facing neither up nor down, but instead are perpendicular to the ground. This is a sign of equality, whereas the back of the hand facing up is a sign of power or authority, and facing down is a sign of weakness or submission. If you are interested in this kind of thing, I suggest you read “The Definitive Book of Body Language” by Barbara and Allen Pease. It’s an excellent read, and you can learn so much about your peers and what they are really saying…

downtide's avatar

Having thought about it, I reckon my rule of thumb is that if the other person’s hand is smaller than mine, or if they’re elderly/frail, I’ll go more gently. I really hate when a man gives me a weak handshake.

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