Author Topic: Germophobia vs Etiquette  (Read 27841 times)

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esposita

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #285 on: September 17, 2013, 10:23:36 AM »
Actually Ellen,, this started with the sign of peace in church, I doubt anyone is giving the stink eye in church. but thanks for the lecture.

 Several of the posters in this thread give me the the impression that there is NO possible alternative for those who don't want this contact to be considered well mannered is to give and allow those who want it to have their way. Sorry - I don't believe that.

Snowdragon, that's exactly what we're talking about. It's in the OP's post:

"This has always been customarily a handshake with the other parishioners who are near enough to reach. But lately Iíve had the experience of many people looking right at me and refusing to shake my outstretched hand."

I think the ongoing argument between shakers/non shakers is coming from that very misunderstanding.

If I was in a bad mood and didn't feel like talking to anyone, I might walk down the street and someone might see me and say "good morning". If I stomp on by and don't look at them, it's not personal, it's not directed at them, but I am being bad mannered.

If I carry on walking and say "Hi, nice to see you, sorry I can't stop", I am acknowledging them while not making myself uncomfortable or going beyond my personal boundaries. Nobody is upset, nobody is uncomfortable, everybody gets on with their day.

Both my original post and other posters have endlessly repeated the same thing - shaking hands is a societal norm - if you don't like it, that doesn't make you an abnormal human being but it does stand out as different - and why is that being taken as such a bad thing? Nobody here has said that not shaking hands is SUBnormal, because that would be ridiculous.

If you don't want to shake my hand, whatever the reason or the situation, that's your business, not mine.
But if you don't shake my hand you cannot expect me not to be surprised by it and potentially hurt.

A smile, a "sorry I don't shake hands", a white lie, just some form of acknowledgement that it's ok for me to stick my hand out and it's not personal that you're not going to take it makes that interaction hugely different to just ignoring the gesture, because it's the intimation of friendship that's important here, not the physical squeezing of fingers. And refusing a handshake without a caveat is refusing the gesture.

I agree with Another Sarah.

Invite Seller, if you feel that the word is being used as a slur here that is not what I was addressing. I was just responding to the assertion that using the word "abnormal" is a straight up slur in every situation, not just in the context of this conversation.

Yvaine

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #286 on: September 17, 2013, 10:27:59 AM »
It's often said on these boards that nobody needs to JADE their behaviour but this is one instance that I think calls for it. Refusal to shake hands has the potential to be seen as *such* a snub that it needs explanation, even if you make up a socially acceptable white lie to explain away the refusal. I don't think "I don't shake hands" is adequate.

For examples of how grievous a snub it is, at least in this country, google any instance of a footballer refusing to shake the hand of a member of the opposite team at the start of a match and witness the ensuing furore.

Yeah, I tend to think "don't JADE" is way overused. It works great if you want/need to be firm, but I don't think that it's a blanket code of behaviour, and can actually seem quite rude.

If a perfectly polite, friendly coworker invites you to their party, and you don't want to go, you could say "no, I won't be coming", but that's just too frosty for the 99% of people who are perfectly reasonable and don't need you to be firm with them.

Much more harmonious to say, "Oh, Sally, I'm really sorry but I won't be able to make your party on Saturday. Hope you have lots of fun!"

Yeah, JADE isn't really an etiquette rule, it's a self-help rule, and it's more to do with dealing with toxic people. It doesn't apply to every situation or really have much to do with etiquette (though there are situations where it's useful).

jemma

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #287 on: September 17, 2013, 01:54:24 PM »
To avoid shaking hands I've found "oh, you don't want to shake my hand.  I...(have a rash/cold/wet hands because I just used purell etc)" To be the one that gets the best response.  It makes it about helping the other person.  You can't use that in church though.

fountainof

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #288 on: September 17, 2013, 02:24:24 PM »
I think shaking hands in a business setting is a general requirement so if one cannot handle that at all then they need to avoid jobs where it would be difficult to explain that away all of the time.  For example there is no way a political could get away with never shaking a hand, regardless of the reason it would either come off as cold or possibly as weak if the reason given was a weak immune system or something.

I would be okay with someone using the cold excuse a few times but if it were a business meeting and it was always used I would find it odd and out of place.  I do think in business sometimes you have to do some things your don't like.  We have hugging clients and I just need to go with it even though I don't hug really.  As the professional, I don't get to control the relationship, the client does.  If an office associate pushed away from a client for a hand shake that would be behaviour that we couldn't tolerate as the business world makes deals on handshakes and people expect handshakes.  Donald Trump may be able to get away with never shaking hands but most of the business world cannot.

gellchom

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #289 on: September 17, 2013, 03:57:41 PM »
Another Sarah, that was an excellent post.

No one here has said that everyone must always shake hands, no exceptions, or they are rude.  It is generally considered rude in western society to refuse to shake hands, but there are many exceptions, and one need only excuse oneself politely.

I find it troubling that some posters aren't content with the answer, "Don't shake hands if you have a problem with it, but find a polite way to do it that does not come across as a rejection of the other person, because shaking hands is indeed the social norm here." 

Some people seem to argue that the norm itself is stupid or unsanitary, or isn't really a norm at all, or is unfair to people who have unusual mental or physical conditions or religious constraints, or doesn't count because there are other countries in the world where it isn't the norm, etc., etc., etc. -- so there is no need to apologize or otherwise mitigate any offense or misunderstanding, because any hard feelings are completely the fault of the other person, whose expectation that everyone must live up to "their idea of good manners" is what is unreasonable.

But whether we like it or not, it is indeed the norm, and it is considered good manners in western society to shake hands -- and, accordingly, extremely bad manners to spurn a handshake, so much so that any refusal to shake requires an immediate excuse and regrets.

Why is it so hard to do that -- apologize for not shaking and give a reason, true or little-white-lie, and some other sort of indication that you are indeed glad to meet them?  Why is it necessary to go farther and insist that the social convention itself is wrong and not really a rule of etiquette at all?  If you are forgiven a speeding ticket because it was an emergency, isn't that enough, or do you feel the need to further insist that the entire speed limit isn't really a rule, just "someone's idea of good driving"?

It should be enough to be excused from conforming, without condemning the rule itself or insisting that it doesn't really exist except in the minds of fussy, unreasonable people.

Surianne

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #290 on: September 17, 2013, 04:05:24 PM »
No one here has said that everyone must always shake hands, no exceptions, or they are rude.  It is generally considered rude in western society to refuse to shake hands, but there are many exceptions, and one need only excuse oneself politely.

I think we're interpreting the posts very differently, gellchom.  For me, I was responding to posters who *did* seem to say that not shaking hands, with an explanation, is still being rude, abnormal, and all sorts of other negative terms.  (For example, the poster who replied to me about the "Sorry, I have a cold" excuse I've used before.)

I'm not sure which posts you're referring to here:

I find it troubling that some posters aren't content with the answer, "Don't shake hands if you have a problem with it, but find a polite way to do it that does not come across as a rejection of the other person, because shaking hands is indeed the social norm here." 

Can you give some examples?  I haven't seen this in the thread so far, and I may have missed it.  Or are you saying ("find a polite way to do it") that the suggestions offered so far are not polite?  I'm a little confused as to your point, and I don't mean that in a snarky way.  It just seems like people are talking in circles and those of us on the "It's okay to not shake hands" side are getting misrepresented a lot.

TootsNYC

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #291 on: September 17, 2013, 06:08:51 PM »
Why is it abnormal not to shake hands?  On this board we tell people they don't have to hug others, or kiss because it makes people uncomfortable.  So, is that abnormal to not want that ?  I am uncomfortable with shaking hands for my own reasons and I am not abnormal, it is just a boundary thing for me.  I think calling people out for not wanting to touch people or be touched in what some think as a normal thing and saying we are abnormal, but saying to others who ask "No, you don't have to let people hug you or kiss you" is a double standard.  Touching is touching no matter how it is done and some people have a bigger personal space bubble than others.

No, it's not, I don't think.
Shaking hands is a very different thing from hugging or kissing. The handshake is the most formal of touches.

OK, fine, you don't like it, it bothers you somehow. But please don't act as though the rest of us are the ones with the problem. It is our culture's expectation that a handshake is polite and will be returned.
   If you want to deviate from that norm, you will need to make some level of explanation, or the rest of us are going to see you (the outlier, the "not the norm," yes the abnormal, bcs that's what the word means) as rude or standoffish.

DavidH

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #292 on: September 17, 2013, 06:39:34 PM »
I have to agree with TootsNYC, there is a continuum of touching as it were and it's not all or none.  You could think of it all the way from intimate activities on one end of the spectrum to a hand shake or helping someone as they go down stairs on the on the other.  Even kissing comes with different levels of intimacy, from passionate to the air kiss used as a greeting in some cultures. 

*inviteseller

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #293 on: September 17, 2013, 06:50:37 PM »
Why is it abnormal not to shake hands?  On this board we tell people they don't have to hug others, or kiss because it makes people uncomfortable.  So, is that abnormal to not want that ?  I am uncomfortable with shaking hands for my own reasons and I am not abnormal, it is just a boundary thing for me.  I think calling people out for not wanting to touch people or be touched in what some think as a normal thing and saying we are abnormal, but saying to others who ask "No, you don't have to let people hug you or kiss you" is a double standard.  Touching is touching no matter how it is done and some people have a bigger personal space bubble than others.

No, it's not, I don't think.
Shaking hands is a very different thing from hugging or kissing. The handshake is the most formal of touches.

OK, fine, you don't like it, it bothers you somehow. But please don't act as though the rest of us are the ones with the problem. It is our culture's expectation that a handshake is polite and will be returned.
   If you want to deviate from that norm, you will need to make some level of explanation, or the rest of us are going to see you (the outlier, the "not the norm," yes the abnormal, bcs that's what the word means) as rude or standoffish.


I am not acting as if anyone has a problem..but I have had my personal boundaries called abnormal and borderline mentally ill.  I have never been rude about it, I am actually beyond polite and make it my issue.  I have never had anyone get mad at me for it.  If you want to shake hands, that's fine, you want to hug that's fine, you want to kiss, that's fine because that is your norm.  My norm is not to do those things and I do not consider what one personally feels about being touched abnormal.  It only seems abnormal because these types of greetings have been around for a very long time and many people do them.  But I have met others, that for a variety of reasons do not shake hands, and it just seems weird that non hand shakers are seen as rude or abnormal.  It is rude to just stare at an outstretched hand, I completely agree, but it is also rude to get mad at someone who graciously declines a handshake no matter what.  My older DD has touching issues (that are not mental health related) so she just smiles and waves and if someone called her out on it, they would be the rude one not her. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #294 on: September 17, 2013, 06:57:23 PM »
I think you are taking this WAY too personally.


Teenyweeny

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #295 on: September 17, 2013, 06:58:48 PM »
But refusing to shake hands just isn't normal.  You may have reasons, but your behaviour is still outside of western societal norms. Therefore the onus is on you to mitigate the other person's surprise at their handshake being refused.

Like, I might decide to sing all the time instead of talking if I had  a severe stutter. People would definitely need an explanation of that behaviour,  because it deviates from the norm and affects normal social interactions. The behaviour would have a legitimate explanation,  but it still wouldn't be normal.



perpetua

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #296 on: September 17, 2013, 06:59:44 PM »
Why is it abnormal not to shake hands?  On this board we tell people they don't have to hug others, or kiss because it makes people uncomfortable.  So, is that abnormal to not want that ?  I am uncomfortable with shaking hands for my own reasons and I am not abnormal, it is just a boundary thing for me.  I think calling people out for not wanting to touch people or be touched in what some think as a normal thing and saying we are abnormal, but saying to others who ask "No, you don't have to let people hug you or kiss you" is a double standard.  Touching is touching no matter how it is done and some people have a bigger personal space bubble than others.

*inviteseller - would she smile and wave at a job interview when the interviewer holds out his/her hand? How would that go over if she did?
No, it's not, I don't think.
Shaking hands is a very different thing from hugging or kissing. The handshake is the most formal of touches.

OK, fine, you don't like it, it bothers you somehow. But please don't act as though the rest of us are the ones with the problem. It is our culture's expectation that a handshake is polite and will be returned.
   If you want to deviate from that norm, you will need to make some level of explanation, or the rest of us are going to see you (the outlier, the "not the norm," yes the abnormal, bcs that's what the word means) as rude or standoffish.


I am not acting as if anyone has a problem..but I have had my personal boundaries called abnormal and borderline mentally ill.  I have never been rude about it, I am actually beyond polite and make it my issue.  I have never had anyone get mad at me for it.  If you want to shake hands, that's fine, you want to hug that's fine, you want to kiss, that's fine because that is your norm.  My norm is not to do those things and I do not consider what one personally feels about being touched abnormal.  It only seems abnormal because these types of greetings have been around for a very long time and many people do them.  But I have met others, that for a variety of reasons do not shake hands, and it just seems weird that non hand shakers are seen as rude or abnormal.  It is rude to just stare at an outstretched hand, I completely agree, but it is also rude to get mad at someone who graciously declines a handshake no matter what.  My older DD has touching issues (that are not mental health related) so she just smiles and waves and if someone called her out on it, they would be the rude one not her.

cass2591

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Re: Germophobia vs Etiquette
« Reply #297 on: September 17, 2013, 07:14:56 PM »
I think we're done here. Way too much hyperbole and rudeness.
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