Entrepreneur.com recently discussed a study where Americans were asked which greetings make them feel uncomfortable. Hugs did not make that list (duh, everyone loves a hug), although several versions of kissing did make the list. And while the study concluded that handshakes were generally seen as acceptable by all participants, it did point out how handshakes can be awkward and uncomfortable – such as when a person’s hand is limp, sweaty, clammy, or full of thumb tacks.
Hugs are universally more friendly and more fulfilling than handshakes, so why do we shake hands so much?
Like most weird customs, we can trace this one back to the Greeks. Allegedly, the handshake originated between soldiers to show trust…because shaking hands showed that they did not have a weapon on them (or at least that they weren’t currently brandishing a weapon).
Wouldn’t it be interesting to apply that thought to all of our handshakes nowadays? You meet an interviewer by shaking their hand, which basically says to them, “see, I didn’t bring a sword…please hire me.”
“That’s literally our only requirement. Welcome to the team.”
Here are some reasons why we think hugs should replace handshakes:
1. Hugs are far safer than handshakes
Hugs allow you to see over the shoulder of the person you are greeting, which makes it easier for each of you to check your surroundings for assassins. Handshakes leave you vulnerable to attacks.
2. Hugs are more hygienic than handshakes (probably)
Think about it: when else do you touch someone’s skin with your skin?
Don’t think about it: do you think EVERYONE you shake hands with practices as strict hygiene as you do? I will shake your hand when you can give me a detailed description of where your hands have been since your last wash.