Handshake withdrawal

A handshake is just one of the long held habits that appear to have fallen victim to COVID. Before COVID I had relied on a handshake to convey the many stories about the giver of the said shake. Now I’m simply overwhelmed by research indicating a handshake is a primary vector for disease. I can’t get into a fist-bump or an elbow tap and I’ve never been a high-five sort of guy.

As a habitual handshaker and despite those pesky anti-handshake warning signs adorning every door and building nearby, I confess I have continued to commit the handshake faux-pas. Sometimes this anti-social behaviour happens rather spontaneously as if my right hand is controlled by a COVID testing laboratory while at other times I seek prior consent as my hand dangles an invitation or perhaps a challenge.

Not one to be easily offended I am OK with the receiver of my enthusiastic grip to reach for the hand sanitiser and slather their mits in ethanol. I have been known to partake in the mutual hand sanitiser ritual. Perhaps my handshake is a matter of discussion around dinner tables as the receivers recount the horrors of the icky exchange and count their blessings interviews can be via Zoom from now on.

The windmill, the double-hander, the bone-crusher, the submissive, the wet-fish and the carrot handshake are just some of what I miss.

A handshake tells me more in a few seconds than an elbow tap can ever provide. Tell me you haven’t made a judgement or formed an early opinion from this small but important gesture? For me a handshake says a lot about a person’s confidence, fear, intention, control, anxiety and even whether they really want to be meeting you in the first place. A handshake can help me in the way I frame a meeting or an interview with a candidate, particularly if they are showing signs of anxiety.

Miss it? Sure do.


Robert McMurtrie
People Recruitment Group

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