I like a sturdy handshake. It’s one of those things in life you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about yet it might be the easiest and most effective way to tell someone you’re sincere and care about them.
I don’t need a Hulk Hogan grip from a partner, but I need a little effort, a little oomph, if I’m to get a good first impression or close our affairs with the right tone.
So I was delighted to learn that those with a firm handshake tend to live longer, too.
That’s according to scientists from the Medical Research Council in Britain who put a lot of work into figuring this out: 33 studies worldwide, including up to 50,000 people followed for over 40 years.
That sure grabbed my attention, and it prompted me to dig into this handshake business a bit more. Since I’m a firm-grip giver I wanted to find out just how much longer I might be expected to live, as that would have a direct bearing on just how much longer I might be expected to have to work.
Along the way, I ran into more information on handshakes than I ever thought possible, including tips on how to read them. You’ve met these hands before:
--Vice grip. You know you are shaking hands with this person when your fingertips start to turn blue. It’s often an unconscious effort on the other person’s part, but it’s a strong expression of power and often used by people who want to show they’re not as weak and inefficient as others may think.
--Dead hand walking. This is the hand that you know will fall directly onto the floor once you release your grip. The people who use this don’t connect to others very well. Their attitude, like their hand, remains passive. For others, it also can be a sign of an enormous, probably unjustified, ego.
--Blood sucker. Scary as it sounds. This is the person who simply won’t let go of your hand while they talk your head off. Generally, they use this technique to control the flow of the conversation. For some reason, their “victims” become mesmerized, rarely showing the courage to break the grip.
--Wet hand. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean the person just got out of the bathroom. It just means the person is nervous. It’s a sign of anxiety. You’re safe to shake.
--Double-hander. This is when someone wraps their extra hand around you. That means they are trying to tell you they really, really care about you. Truth is, they really, really don’t.
So there you have it. Go ahead and squeeze. And be firm. You’ll live longer. And be glad that no one is studying the life span of man-hugs.