NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Thursday is National Handshake Day!
Hands down, it’s the most common greeting, and as CBS2’s Alex Denis explains, a stranger can assess your personality just by shaking your hand.
“You’ve got to make eye contact, got to get in there, nice firm grip,” one man told Denis.
Handshakes have the power to make or break a moment. In a split second, people make up their minds about who you are by how you shake.
“When you go in like this and they do one of these, what are you doing? That’s like a half handshake,” another man said.
“I don’t like to much these days, because people don’t wash their hands,” a woman added.
The origin of the handshake is hard to pinpoint. Some say it’s the most ancient form of greeting – a sign of peace and a chance to check that your visitor didn’t have any dagger hiding up their sleeve.
The friendly gesture has developed over time and still fascinates people, says etiquette expert Myka Meier.
“Just because it’s your physical signature,” she said. “It says so much about you.”
That may explain why moments in history sealed by a shake have captivated onlookers, going viral mostly for all the wrong reason. From the tight squeeze, to the limp dead fish, or the full body embrace – everyone has an innate style.
“Usually, it’s a power play is what we say when someone pulls in or puts their hand on the other person,” Meier said. “The dead fish is the worst thing you can do in the hand shake, because it doesn’t say much about anything really.”
Although Meier says there isn’t a one-size fits all approach, you should follow these tips to be safe.
“Nice, firm and assertive. Not aggressive in any way,” she said. “And that’s the best rule of thumb.”
While you may have a perfect plan for your hardy handshake, the most common greeting can quickly become awkward. But if it does, shake it off.
Experts add handshakes are gender neutral, and you should shake everyone the same way.