Lesson #16 – Hi There! Happy to Meet You!

handshakeOK.  I have often thought about this behavior.  I’m not sure (or if there is a reason behind it) why this is prevalent nowadays.  Maybe it is because we live in the South…I am just not sure.  Greetings, introductions, business vs. pleasure.  What the heck?

My husband and I met with a realtor a few weeks back (and for the very first time) to just have a ‘look see’ at small homes in this very nice community. We got out of the car and this realtor woman hugged me hello. And it was a robust hug.  It got me thinking about this odd behavior. She didn’t hug my husband. She shook his hand. Maybe I looked like I needed a hug or something.  We had driven two hours to meet up with her so try as I did to have a pleasant look on my face maybe I looked a bit glum.  I may be willing to give her that.  I’m sorry but being hugged was strange and certainly uncomfortable.

I am pretty affectionate with friends and family.  I can hug with the best of ’em.  Strangers?  Nope.  I admit it.  I don’t want to be the hugger or huggee.  Sometimes I don’t even feel like shaking hands but I will if it is obvious that the person with whom I am meeting starts to put that hand out.  Then I will.  I am not rude!  Often times afterwards I admit I want to pour some of that disinfectant on and ‘wash’ my hands.  So many germs pass hand to hand. That would be more than rude, I realize, so I don’t but I want to.  I am germ conscious now I suppose as I grow older.

When I was working on my career….many moons ago….my job entailed lots of hand shaking.  I never…no never…offered my hand sheepishly or limply.  Is that a word?  Anyway, if you are in a business setting do not…I repeat… do not give a lifeless handshake.  Firmly shake hands like you mean business.  For the sake of all womankind, do not hug.

MEN!  Know if you intend to shake a woman’s hand, we are not wallflowers.  You don’t have to delicately and limply shake a woman’s hand!  If you do we will quickly put you in that limpy category and you don’t want to be there.  Especially if you are looking for a date. We won’t take you seriously.  Perhaps I should say ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ but the majority of us women will think, ‘what the heck?’.

On the other side of that coin we do have men that like to show women just how strong they are.  I have had the misfortune to shake hands with a few men who have had their daily testosterone upped prior and they have almost put my hand in a cast.  These men are put into this other box….you don’t even want to know my thoughts on these men.  Suffice to say…….’REALLY?  Geez….come on buddy!!’  Not impressed.

But getting hugged by a complete stranger is just annoying.  PLEASE don’t hug me.  That is my very personal space and I don’t know you!  My first reaction is WTH.  Honestly, I do not feel all warm and fuzzy towards you.

Think about other cultures or various parts of these United States of America.  As I have described myself I am a Jersey girl and proud of it.  I don’t think I ever hugged anyone even a friend during my Jersey years.  Other countries may handshake differently and with different mores.

The French.  Kiss Kiss.  The head bob.  The shoulder and hip knock.  The fist hit.  The high five….(I’m sure there are names for all of these greetings but I can’t for the life of me remember or I never knew in the first place).

I’m a simple gal. I like the ‘hi, how are you’ or ‘hello, it’s nice to meet you’.  We can quickly place where a person may have lived most of their lives…..inner or outer city, burbsville, open fields, close quarters…..whatever.  I like to keep people guessing and I don’t like being labeled.  First impressions are important even if we don’t like to label someone.  We all do it.  We all walk away with a first impression.  Like, dislike, seems ok, etc.  Greetings are, therefore, so important.

A bit of trivia …did you know that in ancient days the handshake indicated that no weapons were being held by the participants in the ritual?

By the way, we never met with that woman realtor again.  We now have a relationship with a male realtor who neither hugs me nor shakes my hand.  I like that.




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