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53. Offering a handshake that goes unnoticed

First of all, I don’t understand that picture I found on the internet. Wet fish hands, like when someone’s hands are wet and stinky? Hmm.. that would make sense. Cool, I think I get it.

I’d like you to think of a time that you were introduced to someone. Usually they offer a handshake, which you take unless you’re sick or it is physically impossible to shake hands (e.g. someone has no hands, or if hands are currently busy). The universal sign of “I don’t want to shake your hand” is to lift up your hand and wave. Or to nod and smile. There are many reasons why someone may not want to shake hands:

She has sweaty hands.
He doesn’t like you.
She is a germaphobe.
She saw you pick your butt.
You recently sneezed and used your hand as a tissue.
His hands are dirty.
Her hand might be injured.
For religious reasons.
She just used hand lotion and doesn’t want the scent to go away.
They actually know where your hands have been. 

The list goes on and on but the one reason that always makes it awkward is:

Your handshake doesn’t get noticed.

Either you guys were in a hurry, or something distracted the other person. . whatever the reason is, it sucks! Especially if some third person saw you stretch out your hand to offer a handshake and got nothing. Zero. Nada. You then are forced to shake off the look that other people might give you and sadly put your hand back in your pocket and pretend it never happened. If no one sees your handshake go unnoticed, it still feels awkward, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the other scenario.

Has this ever happened to you?

[Thanks priya]

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  1. Hand shaking is really awkward for me as I have painful arthritic hands. It’s fine with a normal handshake, but you can never tell who is going to inflict an agonising bone crusher! If I warn people, I feel awkward and they then treat me as if I was made of glass. If I don’t then those are always the crushers! Grrr. If I am at all friendly with the person, I pre-empt by giving them a hug instead!

    July 3, 2011
  2. Yes it has happened.. it sucks.. but the title just made me LOL – literally 🙂


    July 3, 2011
  3. TBM #

    I can’t remember a time when this has happened to me, but this reminds me of times when I think I recognize someone on the street, wave my hand to say hello and then realize at the last second that I don’t know the person. That sucks.

    July 3, 2011
  4. Shed Liquiadators #

    I always try and turn it into smoothing my hair or something, like it was planned. Love..”They actually know where your hands have been”…haha!!

    July 5, 2011
    • Nice! Hahaha that technique might work.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂


      July 5, 2011
  5. yea…this is the most awkward thing and has happened to me quite a number of times. Suddenly i do not know where to look!!! lol…thanks for the mention 🙂

    July 5, 2011
  6. This has never happened to me… but I don’t shake people’s hand normally. What I get into trouble with is people not noticing when I want to give a highfive. -_-

    July 7, 2011
  7. Miss Marblemouth #

    At least once a month, I wave at someone I think I know and either they don’t actually know me or don’t care to wave back. Then I have to go home and eat cookies to make myself feel better.

    July 21, 2011
  8. Riz Brown #

    The picture is a literal rendition of the “dead fish handshake” or “limp fish handshake.” It’s when the person you are shaking hands with shakes too weakly. It’s one of those to-avoid things in business. 🙂

    Hey. I love your articles. I’ve been lurking here for hours, and I think it has become a cure for my extremely short attention span. Sometimes I forget what I’m talking about or doubt if I have indeed already mentioned a certain thing. Hehe. But no more, for your blog has cured me. And by the way, the picture is a literal rendition of the “dead fish handshake” or “limp fish handshake.” It’s when the person you are shaking hands with shakes too weakly. It’s one of those to-avoid things in business.

    November 22, 2011
  9. Awsome post and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is actually the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to get some professional writers? Thanks in advance

    March 17, 2013

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