Either shake hands properly or don’t do it at all

As a female in business, I have shaken a lot of hands. I’ve used a handshake greet someone new, to say goodbye after a long meeting, to congratulate someone on a job well done and to tell someone to ‘piss-off’ in a polite way. At any rate, a handshake means business.

What I have noticed is that many men do not know how to shake a woman’s hand properly or perhaps feel weird doing it.  They do instead what I refer to as the “Chick Shake”.

The Chick Shake is horrible.  Instead of taking your right hand palm to palm with the other person’s with the thumbs overlapping, the Chick Shake is performed like this: the man grabs the woman’s fingers above the knuckles and lightly holds those upper fingers in his hands in a way that make her palm and wrist flap out and so that her hand looks like an upside down “V”. From the recipient’s perspective, it feels as if your hand is a wet rag and the other person is lightly shaking it to remove a few drops of wetness.

I am not suggesting that you need to have such a firm grip that you crush every bone in the woman’s hand.  You can do as firm as a shake as you would normally do with a man or you can lighten the pressure a bit, but lightening the pressure doesn’t require a new form or method.  You can even add your left hand into the mix if you want to signify an additional level of warmth, but keep the palm flesh pressing together.

If you don’t want to shake someone’s hand or protocol doesn’t require it, then do something else entirely; kiss her cheek, pat her on the shoulder or arm, do anything else- but don’t do the Chick Shake.  And women, some of you are just as guilty here, offering part of your hand for a partial shake.  Sorry, that doesn’t qualify as a handshake at all.

To those of you who have been shaking hands properly, kudos to you.  If you are confronted with the Chick Shake, then call the other person on it and retry with a proper shake.  Hopefully together we can eliminate the Chick Shake from the world of handshakes.

See below for a quick demonstration of a hand shake and a Chick Shake: