We’ve all been there: You’ve just been introduced to someone at a party/business meeting/[insert alternative awkward social situation here]. You smile, say hello and your hand powers forward like an unmanned locomotive – only, instead of being greeted by the friendly feel of foreign fingers, you find yourself grasping a moist, clammy, flaccid blob of flesh.
Congratulations, you’ve just been offered The Limp Fish.
Or, worse, you’re the one offering up limp fish to unsuspecting new acquaintances, in which case you should probably read the following guide to…
The Nine Most Awful Handshakes Ever:
The Bone Crusher
Your hand grasps the other person’s hand so hard you can feel their blood vessels pop and their finger bones turn into chalk powder. According to psychologists, this means you’re aggressive and dominating. According to everyone else, it means you’re an a**hole.
You grab the other person’s hand with both of your hands. While you might think this makes you come across as enthusiastic and genuine, it actually just comes across as creepy in a used car salesmen way (and we all know how brokers feel about being compared to used car salesmen).
“Hi, my name’s Fred. It’s so nice to meet you, I just know we’re going to be great friends - do you like cats? I like cats. I have seven cats, their names are…..Oh, am I still holding your hand? It’s so soft – like my cats…” Awkward.
The Pull-You-In-Close Shaker
Let’s just be honest here: What you really want is a hug.
The Limp Fish
As discussed above, this is the one where you offer up a dead salmon in lieu of your hand. This is only a good idea if you’re shaking hands with a grizzly bear - which we also don’t recommend.
The Sweaty McSweaterson
Pretty self-explanatory: your hands feel like the pond that dead fish above was rotting in. This unfortunately happens to most of us when we get nervous. If you know a handshake’s coming, run your hands under one of those dryer things in the toilets. Or wipe them on your shirt. Or combine with the following in the hopes that they’ll never actually figure out how to shake your hand in the first place…
A confusing, choreographed, multi-faceted handshake designed to make the recipient feel old and out of touch. The Hipster is the favoured handshake for skateboarders, rappers and (we suspect) many people suffering from chronic cases of The Sweaty McSweaterson.
Also worth an honourable mention is The Molester, often (though not always) administered by men to women they may or may not find attractive. It involves holding the recipient’s hand just a little too long, just a little too ‘lovingly’ and with just a hint of thumb gyrating on palm.
On that note, the author’s going to go wash her hands.
*Inspired by The Oatmeal