There’s no denying that meeting someone for the first time is awkward in and of itself. You have to remember their name, maintain strong eye contact and, of course, have a perfect handshake. That dreaded first handshake.
But you know what’s even more awkward than meeting someone for the first time? Meeting them for the second time. I guess it wouldn’t technically be considered “meeting” them, but you likely don’t know them well enough to call them a friend or even an acquaintance. You can probably remember their name, you’ve mastered the eye contact, but what do you do about that handshake?
Here’s where things really start to go downhill. Do you shake like you’re meeting them for the first time? High-five? Pound and explode? Kiss on the cheek? Hug?
While I have yet to come up with a clear answer, I have come up with a list of some of the most offensive second-time handshakes ever. If you ever do one of the following, you need to seriously reconsider your social skills.
The pound turned handshake
“I meant to say cool then I started to say great!” This hybrid greeting occurs when one party goes in for the handshake and the other goes in for the fist pound, resulting in a strange grip of one person’s fist. The awkward ante increases tenfold when the larger party’s hand is the size of Shaq’s and engulfs the other’s dwarfish fist. Yeah, now you know who’s boss.
The limp fish
We’re all very familiar with the person whose grip feels like a dead salmon in your hand. As a lady, though, what’s worse is when you meet someone for the second time, and they assume you are going to give them the dead fish, so they go in for some strange, bendy wrist version of the dead salmon and you end up holding each others’ fingertips.
The side hug
One person really wants that hug – wants it as if their life depended on it, and they won’t give up no matter how much you squirm away. The result is a mangled, ass-out side hug in which you are forced banging into the other person’s shoulder (or, if you’re as short as me, their armpit. Ew).
The French kiss
Get your mind out of the gutter; I’m not talking about adding tongue here. Again, as a lady, I find that gentlemen often think it’s appropriate to act European and whip out the double cheek kiss here. For which I am never prepared, and often results in me nibbling someone’s ear, nose, or other body part that should never be nibbled when meeting someone for the second time. This is America – just don’t do it, bros.
Don’t know what to do? Oh sure, just throw up a hand. Sorry, but this isn’t your grade school soccer game in which you’re waving to your mom on the sidelines. The wave is uncomfortable because you’re standing two feet in front of the other person, and it’s such a clear “don’t touch me” symbol. But better than a hug, I suppose.
To help you understand what not to do, we’ve demonstrated the most awkward handshakes of all time in photos. Warning: you will feel extremely comfortable scrolling through these. Afterwards, share your thoughts in the comments — what’s the appropriate way to great someone when meeting them for the second time?