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Handshaking has been around for centuries. Most commonly, it is a male tradition. We men have seen our fathers shake hands numerous times and in seeing this it became apparent that is what you do. Are any of us taught how to do it correctly though?
Roaming this great big planet I have learned that a few people know how to shake hands correctly. Some do not though and this is some helpful reminders to keep in mind when you meet someone new. There are several types of handshake styles, only one is acceptable though. They are: the vise grip handshake, the cold fish, the bone crusher, the water pump, and the socket wrench.
Which handshake style are you? Let’s take an in-depth view of each one.
The Vise Grip Handshake. This style of handshaking is the most common and most widely accepted way to shake hands. When meeting a new person, someone with confidence and someone who feels equal will shake hands with the vise grip handshake. Simply put, this handshake allows for both contributors to be equal. It starts anywhere from right in front of the person to all the way across the room. Whichever it is its unimportant. Each hand will fit perfectly into the other, thumb web to thumb web. Then a measured amount of pressure—or squeeze—is applied. It can be a lot, or it can be moderate. Overall this handshake is perfect for man or woman.
The Cold Fish Handshake. This handshake is the one that everyone dreads getting. It is almost like getting the short straw to see who’s going to plunger the backed up toilet, or spinning the bottle to end on the ugly undesirable person in the circle. I am a cruel and evil person sometimes as I hate the cold fish handshake. This handshake is where one person puts his or her hand in the others and just lets it dangle there like a cold fish.
I have to tell on myself here, I met a guy who was dating a girl that my wife knew. This guy was a cold fish(er) and when I shook hands with him upon initial meeting, he did the cold fish to me. Arrghh!! I thought just by looking at him that he was a vise guy, I was wrong. When he put his hand in mine I figured he would squeeze so I squeezed. I then heard his knuckles crack. “Oh no,” I thought. He was cool about it though and didn’t wince or cry out. I felt bad because I accidentally ground his bones to dust in that shake.
Be very careful when handshaking to avoid injure to yourself or to others.
The Bone Crusher. This handshake is also feared by many. This is the guy who has too much confidence and wants to dominate you. You are put into a dangerous situation when someone bone crushers you. Refer to above example. I did this by accident and immediately upon hearing (feeling) his bones break I loosed the grip. The bone crusher hand shaker will not do this. They are unrelenting in their quest for power and dominance. A helpful tip to deal with these people when they crush your hand is, “Ow, geez man that hurts. What are you trying to do, crush my hand?” They will immediately release the pressure because they don’t want to be made a fool. Or you could get into a power struggle with them by squeezing back as hard as you can, most often though you won’t get the chance to do this.
The Water Pump. In every hand shake there are a prescribed “acceptable” number of pumps. That number is generally three. When someone who is a water pumper gets a hold of you they will pump your arm as if you will spit water out of your mouth. Most of the time, a water pumper will pump your hand anywhere from seven to ten times. When they are finished pumping they’ll generally hold onto your hand until you work it out of there, usually by pulling away forcefully.
The Socket Wrench. This handshake is very much the same as the water pump; however, the pumps are in and out as opposed to up and down. Most often the socket wrench handshake is achieved when the shaker pulls the shake into their territory then commences to push them backward. This move is performed by power players in an attempt to get the shake off balance and in the shakers zone. You could get injured in this form of handshake.
One more type of handshake not mentioned above is the finger grab. The finger grab usually happens by accident but is not often relinquished for a better handshake. I personally hate it when someone grabs my fingers in a handshake and I instantly dislike the shaker.
Tips To Correct Bad Handshakes
Now that we’ve discussed the types of handshakes lets now discuss how to fix problem shaking formats and bad shakers.
Whenever you go to shake someone’s hand be armed for any situation because you never know the style they’ll use.
If they give you the cold fish, give them a squeeze enough to be registered and they can recognize the need for them to squeeze a little.
If they are a bone crusher, say what I said in that paragraph. This will disarm them and make the docile once more.
If they water pump you, as soon as you realize they are doing it stop them by reversing their pumps. If they go up—go down. If they go down—go up.
The only way to avoid a socket wrench is to step into their handshake with your feet planted. If they get you off balance just grab their elbow with your left hand to stop the violence. If they don’t understand or don’t stop, the elbow has a nice pressure point conveniently positioned for you to apply pressure to. That will make them stop.
The fingertip grab is usually a mistake and can be easily corrected by grabbing the shakers hand with your left hand and placing your hand in the correct position. You could also say, “Let’s try that again.”
Men, one important thing to remember when shaking a ladies hand is that she doesn’t want a cold fish. She also doesn’t want her hands crushed or the ligaments in her wrist pulled apart. Give her a gentle yet firm handshake.