I can recall hearing from a young age that having a “firm” handshake emits confidence and authority. The really weird part is no one ever mentions that asserting your authority over someone you have just met is neither friendly nor likeable. Isn’t the whole concept of meeting someone to make a new friend/connection? How does squeezing the daylight out of someone’s hand accomplish that? I’m going to put it out there; I don’t like overly firm handshakes from anyone. It’s aggressive, uncomfortable, and it feels like a caveman domination tactic. It’s good to have an engaging grip but not to aggressively squeeze someone’s hand.
My lesser complaint is that I’m often wearing rings and when someone squeezes my hand too firmly it hurts and causes the metal of my rings to push into my finger bones. Not pleasant. My bigger complaint is the notion of a “firm” handshake is outdated and doesn’t signify to the other person anything other than you’re trying to assert some sort of perceived dominance. In a world where genuine connection is often thrown to the wayside in favor of personal sales pitches and hashtags, isn’t it nice to just meet someone for a friendly interaction?
A good handshake is friendly -one that is not too firm and not too limp. So let’s put aside the super squeeze handshake. I’m happy to shake your hand (and hey, even give you a hug!) but an engaging light squeeze is all that’s necessary. Let’s shake on that!