June 30th National Handshake Day

In the old days men fought with knives and swords so combat was much more hand-to-hand. Since 2 B.C. when they wanted to talk peace, or be friendly, they would offer their hand to the person opposite them to show they held no weapon. Since the majority of people were right-handed, they would offer their right hand. Left-handed people could be very sneaky this way by offering their right hand while still holding a weapon in their left hand, pulling an enemy in when it appeared they were offering peace.

Handshakes are often used to seal deals and have actually been used in court as proof that both parties intend to close their agreements honorably.

It is said that a person with a firm grasp in their handshake shows confidence, while a light handshake, means they are shy.

There are many correct ways to shake hands and many not-so-correct ways to offer you friendship by a handshake.


The crusher is a definite no-no. Breaking all the bones in someone’s hand does not generally lead to friendship. Try to meet a handshake with the same strength as is offered. You’ll know more about the person you are dealing with when you use their handshake to gauge their personality.


By placing a second hand on the person’s hand you are shaking normally means you are being genuine with that person, that you honestly care about them. It’s sort of like showing you don’t have a weapon in the other hand.

Psychology Today_Politician Handshake

The political handshake is over-the-top. When someone grasps your hand with both of theirs, clasping it firmly, it generally means they want control over you. Instead of showing sincerity it demonstrates exactly the opposite.


The Bro handshake is genuine enough. It’s also a wrestling grip, something you might do with a friend or someone you are close to. It is generally followed with a chest bump or a light hug, always with the fist-gripped hands kept between those shaking hands. I think this came about while helping a friend back to their feet, perhaps after you have knocked them down!


This version of the Bro shake is also identified as not being acceptable. It’s sort of saying you are my Bro but remember I can pull you over and hurt you. Again it is a control issue, even if not intended.


I’m not really sure what this handshake means. It is showing closeness, like your lives are intertwined with each other. It is normally followed by some other sign like beating your chest with your other hand and shouting, “Power to the people!”.  It does show being united on some sort of front but that does not always mean friendship.


Then there is the fist bump. You have to be careful with this one as it is easy to bump a little too hard. Oddly, this one is preferred by those in the medical field since it does not allow close contact and avoids the spreading of germs.

Women tend to not shake hands like men do. They often grasp each other’s hands but there is generally no shaking involved. However, that is somewhat easier to understand because women in the old days, did not carry weapons very often. When they do shake hands it is generally just to be social and very little can be obtained about the woman from the way she shakes hands.

How to celebrate: Try to read each and every handshake you get. Try changing your handshake to confuse people. Offer everyone you see today a handshake, see if they welcome it.

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