Shake My Hand

I’ve had the handshake of a confident 47 year old man since I was 14.

I was young and respected the person who advised me that the most important thing to do when meeting someone for the first time is a firm handshake and eye contact, and since that’s mostly true for those native to the U.S., I changed my handshake. At that point in life, I barely had enough self-confidence to look someone in the eye, but I started to after that advice; only for the split second of introductions, then I went back to having my head slanted downward. 

There are some people who you meet once and never forget them…there’s something about them, their smile, eyes, presence, whatever it is, you can only meet them once but remember their names. I am not one of these people. I’ve accepted it, and not in a lack of self confidence way. I have no qualms about not being remembered. I’ve just learned to embrace the fact that unless I spend a good chunk of time with someone, I’ll have to reintroduce myself the next time. 

My handshake, though, doesn’t always get remembered, but it almost always gets noticed. People notice a confident handshake, it sends a message upon that first greeting that there’s something intriguing about me, who they will not remember but should perhaps get to know.

Minute though this change may have been, it has been cataclysmic in my introductions. Now when I meet people I greet them with warm eyes that convey just how much I would like to know their story, even though I don’t yet know their name, I try to maintain posture that doesn’t relay just how awkward I can be, and I truly expect them to like me. 

Wanting to be liked by people who I do not actually know is one of my greater faults, but the assumption that is at the root of that is one thing of which I’m quite proud. When I meet someone new, I don’t expect them to remember me 10 minutes after our conversation, but I do expect them to hold affectionate feelings for me while we are face to face. Perhaps because I project this onto them, or because they can sense that I really do want to know their story (and everyone wants to tell their story), or perhaps because I’ve realized that if you’re willing to make the first move in an awkward situation (as introductions can be), most people will be grateful that the burden didn’t fall on them….either way, it works. 

People don’t always remember me, but usually they can grasp some sense of who I am by my handshake. My confident 47 year old man shake.

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