Super Revealing Things you didn’t know about your handshake



You probably shake at least a couple hands a day, but did you ever wonder what really goes into a simple “put ‘er there”? Surprisingly, plenty of researchers have. Here are six of the best.

You shake to show you’re unarmed – While a lot of history is educated guesswork, the dominant theory on handshakes is that the custom began as a way to show whoever you were greeting that you didn’t have any weapons. As you might remember from the movie Gladiator, the Roman version of a handshake involved full forearm-to-forearm elbow grabs. Historians think that may have been a way for a Roman to ensure his new pal didn’t have a dagger up his sleeve—literally.

A weak shake could stall your career – Hiring managers view job candidates with a firm handshake as more outgoing and capable than those with a weak grip, according to a study from the Journal of Applied Psychology. Fair or not, a firm handshake indicates self-confidence and extroversion, the authors say.

You can shake to make people like you – Almost any human-to-human interaction goes more smoothly if people first shake hands, finds research in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. By activating parts of your brain tied to social interaction, shaking people’s hands primes them to see you in a favorable light, and lowers the odds of them negatively interpreting your words or behavior, the authors say.

You could tick some people off if you shake with your left hand – In many parts of Asia and the Middle East, people use their left hand to wipe themselves—often without the benefit of toilet paper. That means touching someone with your left hand—for example, gripping a guy’s hand in both of yours during a handshake, or touching his arm with your left hand while shaking—is a big-time offense in certain regions.

You should only shake for 2 seconds at most – While people are put off by an uncomfortably long handshake, a too-quick shake gives the impression the speedy shaker is arrogant or disinterested, finds a study from the U.K. The researchers say a handshake duration of 1 to 2 seconds is most appropriate.

You don’t have to be a psychic to read palms – At the start of a shake, offering your hand with your palm up communicates honesty and receptiveness—but also submissiveness—shows British research. While you don’t want your palm facing the ceiling, slightly tilting it open may be a good tactic when greeting a potential employer or someone who outranks you, the research suggests. Meanwhile, extending your hand with your palm down sends the message that you’re in charge. When in doubt, just stick your hand out straight. And for a complete guide to every aspect of man’s life, check out The Better Man Project, the new cutting-edge book from the Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health. It’s a jam-packed user’s guide to every aspect of man’s life, with more than 2000 body hacks and fitness, nutrition, health, and sex secrets. All to make you better man in every way that counts.