From a young age, I was taught never to give someone a wet noodle handshake. I have been on the receiving end of more than my fair share of limp wrist shakes, and to be honest, I find it insulting. If your method of greeting someone is the handshake, at least do it correctly.
But to be honest, I prefer a hug. Judge all you want, but having a strong hug game is a lot more endearing than potentially getting a dead fish, the guy that flexes his nuts and tries to break your hand (pro tip: make a 45 degree angle with your index finger, this knuckle dragger can’t line up your joints and crush your hand), or that awkward linger handshake. To me, there’s something about a hug that feels right.
Handshakes are way too formal, almost like the automatic, “Hey how’s it going” you trade Linda in the hallway without even listening to her answer. Anyone that knows me knows I don’t do handshakes. A hug is calculated, and it involves a lot of trust on both parties. One of the parties could smell and leave their scent on you all day, but the risk/reward of the hug cannot be measured, and the pros vastly outweigh the cons. Chances are, I’m going to like you way more if you accept and reciprocate my hug.
I love a good hug, and if you give me a shit-ass, lack-of-interest bullshit hug, you can be damn sure I’m going to pull you in (this only applies in the non-workplace arena; I work with too many woman at a 37:1 ratio for this to be appropriate) and correct your form. Don’t be the limp wrist of huggers. Give it some love, some feeling, and come on in for the real thing.
Hugs are most definitely a power move. I work with a lot of people that are big wig state employees with experience spanning longer than I’ve been alive, and they are old enough to be my parents. After a little bit of rapport and some friendly banter, I am on a hug basis with 80 percent of the people I work with. The head of the department for the state that funds my job already has a power hug on the way whenever I see him.
Another underrated benefit is that the hug is much more personable. You don’t want to be dishing out bro grabs to Dolores in Finance if she’s not ready for it, but a well-executed hug can go a long way. People remember a good hug, while people only remember those with limp-dick handshakes. When people offer me a handshake, I look at it as an opportunity to bring them to the good side. I die a little inside when I know a bad handshake is coming, and I long to bring them into the circle of trust.
Some people just aren’t huggers, and that’s okay. Many of these types of people have a fear of intimacy. They are insecure, and frankly, miss out on something very organic and human. I judge people that dislike hugs, and I actively try to convert them. If you’re one of those “I hate to be touched people,” my recommendation is to live a little and give the hug a chance.
There is some risk associated with the hug. While the hug is becoming more socially acceptable in the workplace, there’s still a long way to go before it contends with a handshake. Before doling out an embrace, assess the situation and read the room. A lot of times, people would prefer a hug but are too accustomed to the norm. Chances are, they were waiting for you to make the first move..
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