The Handshake

I want you to think about some of the most important moments of your life. What did you do when you interviewed for your job or internship? How did you introduce yourself to your future father-in-law? What was the first thing you did when you were handed your diploma? 

The first thing you did was extend your hand out to the other person, and shake it. Why would something so nonsensical; so meaningless, be such an integral part of our societies tradition? Think about what would happen if you refused your father in law’s hand and said something like “that’s an archaic practice that I don’t agree with and spreads germs. That being said…” *extends fist for a fist bump*  Congratulations, now your Father in Law hates you. How about if you greeted the person who was interviewing you with a hi-five? “Hey, I’m ____! Up high man!” “The position has been filled… bro.”


So where did the handshake come from, and what did it originally mean? 


The history of the handshake is a little unclear, but with some anthropological sensibility and some common sense, one can easily rationalize how it came to be. One popular theory is that ancient warriors usually carried their weapons in their right hands. By extending an open right hand to another, it was a sign of mutual respect and peace. The earliest known depiction of the handshake is between an Assyrian and a Babylonian to seal some type of confederacy. Although it is believed that the ancient Greeks also shook hands with one another per the fact that Homer mentions a type of “grasping” of hands throughout both the Iliad and the Odyssey. Several cultures engaged in a ceremony known as a “blood oath,” where two people would make cuts in their hands and shake, the idea being that your blood is now running through the other person’s veins. (Disclaimer: please don’t do this with your buddy. The risk of contracting a blood-borne disease should far supersede any amount of loyalty. Get matching tattoos or necklaces instead.)


That being said, I would be willing to wager that people have been making the gesture of the handshake since the beginning of civilization. It is simply the easiest way to engage in non-verbal communication by means of physical contact. A hug or embrace requires comfortability, and a kiss seems far too intimate, but a handshake allows for two people to maintain their personal space and touch at the same time. As one of the only gestures which lack sexual or intimate overtones, the handshake is reserved for moments of significance/formality; where the two people interacting expect a certain amount of respect from one another. 


A moment which deserves a handshake is a moment which should have meaning to both parties, and this is why it is important to have a good handshake. A good handshake should be strong and confident, and the objective should be to impart this strength and within the person whom you are shaking hands with. A handshake also sends a message of maturity and traditional values. Someone who greets a new person with a handshake is bound to make an impression as someone who is very used to having formal interactions regularly. You may find that the people who have fortune 500 companies and can provide career opportunities often have abnormally good handshakes.

So, if you are struggling with a reason to purchase the VariGrip, think about that next handshake. The next handshake is the next milestone of your life, so why not make it a good one?