The Blog

The Banes of My Existence: Limp Handshakes


Over the next few months, I hope to serialize what I dub, The Banes of My Existence with the Huffington Post. Essentially, this being a collection of life's minor nuances, which on paper may appear inoffensive, yet are in reality quite the contrary! I can think of no better place to start than with the subject of limp handshakes. Granted, it may be a sloppy way to welcome you to the series, yet I believe we can all benefit from a communal, cathartic rant.

When someone offers me his or her hand, I seize the opportunity. Hand shaking is one of the oldest forms of human interaction, and like kissing- it just feels right: two pieces of an incredibly logical jigsaw fitting together. I relish handshaking and have various styles to choose from.

If faced with a competing alpha male, I will use my non-shaking hand to clutch his arm. This I call the politician shake, as it demonstrates master and subordinate. If a pretty lady, I make sure to angle her hand downwards, before kissing it and offering a throwaway French line. I enjoy the opportunity to flirt.

However, handshaking is rife with poor execution, and one thing you cannot legislate for is someone giving you a limp handshake.

A limp handshake is the union of one tort and one floppy hand, the latter normally provided by an individual with extremely low self worth. There's nothing quite as awkward as a limp handshake.

Firm handshakes make the meeting of limbs uneventful. The sheer intensity prevents the awkward process of learning too much about another person's hand. A limp handshake imparts far too much knowledge. You may be dealing with an individual who moisturises or at worse: perspires in their hands. This will become apparent in a limp handshake.

Through all the limp handshakes I have endured, I always make a point to look at my opponent in disbelief. Am I really expected to support their hand against the force of gravity? Is their opinion of me so low that they cannot be bothered to instill some turgidity into their paw? These are just some of the questions that now race through my mind.

I'm not saying everyone has to give out macho-man handshakes. In fact, there are those who overdo the pleasantry (normally small men). Their grip is fierce, as if their lives depended on it. A beautiful handshake does exist out there; the trick is to find a happy medium.

A limp handshake can almost certainly start you off on the wrong foot. A promising business agreement now looks fallible; as does the trust you placed in the person whose hand was offered meekly. What's worse is that a handshake cannot be undone. First impressions are crucial. Once a limp hand-shaker always a limp hand-shaker. People can spend the rest of their lives trying to dispel the legend of their weakness.

Handshakes will always be a symbol of human solidarity. Let them continue to form bonds between us. Let us wean out the limp handshakes by being proactive and informing the culprits of their misdemeanors. For another of life's great lessons is our duty to better ourselves.

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