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the Art of the Handshake

One of the more noticeable differences in culture between Germany and the USA is the handshake, or lack thereof. At work in Germany I would shake hands with people a lot more often. Haven't seen each other in a week? Well, that calls for a handshake! Going to not see each other for a week or longer? Time to shake hands for a farewell! Going into a meeting with colleagues from a different department? Shaking hands with everybody demonstrates good manners!

Americans shake hands less frequently. Actually, you will shake most people's hand no more than twice: once when you are introduced, and once when you say good-bye forever. While I admit that I had a hard time adjusting to this at first - feeling rejected, because people didn't want to shake hands with me - I was recently made painfully aware of the advantages of not exchanging a handshake with people. Especially if they haven't been educated on how to do this right.

I had an encounter with a knuckle cruncher, an occasion where my self-control was challenged to the point that I almost let out a high-pitched shriek of pure agony. Two days later my right hand is still very tender to the touch. Good thing I won't have to shake hands with that person again for a long time.


12:08 Posted in Opinions | Permalink | Comments (2)


Must be a regional thing and not America vs. Germany. Here in the South we shake a lot, actually a lot more than in the old country.

Posted by: Adrian | 07/07/2011

I don't know... I live in the South, too... And I barely ever have to shake people's hands. Thank God because touching other people is really not my thing. My boss hates shaking hands with people so much,he runs to the bathroom and washes his hands right after the people leave. It's hilarious!

Posted by: Julia | 07/17/2011

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