Quite Continental Charm School: Day 4 – A Firm Handshake

04/02/2012 § 2 Comments

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

JFK, 1961. Taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt for LIFE.

Day 4: A Firm Handshake
A charmed life is spent meeting new and interesting (and not so interesting) people, and this will require shaking hands.  While men are frequently admonished to give “manly” handshakes, this message somehow misses a lot of women.  I can’t tell you how many limp lady wrists I have encountered or how many times a woman has practically offered me the top of her hand — as if I were supposed to kiss it.  I suppose some women think they are feminizing a masculine practice, but I firmly believe a good handshake communicates confidence, no matter if you are a man or a woman.  I got my own crash course when I started working at a law firm and was introduced to every single person on three different floors.  Man, do lawyers love to shake hands.

Briefly, a few tips for women and men, alike:

  • Always look the other person in the eye as you shake their hand
  • Take their hand into yours until the webbing between your thumb and forefinger touches theirs
  • Grip their hand firmly — no dead fish or kung fu grips — and shake 2 or 3 times, with a stiff wrist

Perfecting your handshake is a tiny adjustment that will benefit you in your personal life and your professional life.  The people you meet will be left with an impression of your confident personality, and not your clammy, limp hand.  Charmed, I’m sure.

JFK, Jacqueline and Mrs. John Drexel III, 1957.  Taken by Ralph Morse for LIFE.

The Quite Continental Charm School
A modern guide to creating a charmed life

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§ 2 Responses to Quite Continental Charm School: Day 4 – A Firm Handshake

  • Miss Minty says:

    YES! More gals need to learn how to give a good handshake. I can’t tell you how many men have been taken aback when I shake their hand for the first time. Giving a strong handshake does NOT make you dudely, girls, just confident.

  • I used to be really bemused when men, especially, would remark about how firm/strong my handshake is – don’t suppose they expected that from someone small and Asian. Limp-wristed ladies, ugh. You’re right that many of them extend their hands as if one were supposed to kiss it. -_-

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