Author Topic: Regional differences: how common is handshaking where you live? (S/o thread)  (Read 2955 times)

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EllenS

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Several commenters on the germophobia thread mentioned that they are rarely in a position where a handshake is expected, or that it is not part of their culture - so I thought it would be interesting to get an idea of how common this greeting is, and in what contexts.

I live in the Southern US, and shaking hands is the expected standard greeting on being introduced in most social and all professional settings.

Professionally - in every line of work this is expected upon meeting employers/co-workers, whether in an office, a shop or on an industrial/construction site.  Not between retail workers and customers, but definitely in any sort of b2b sales, car sales, professional clients, etc.  Also when meeting a new doctor (though not nurses/front desk).  After first meeting, it is not expected unless you have not seen each other for a while. 

Socially - receiving lines for weddings are very common though not universal.  In any all-male or mixed-gender social group, a handshake would be the expected greeting on introduction.  Not necessarily in a all-female, purely social group. 

For example, if I were out shopping with a girlfriend and we ran into a female acquaintance, we would not expect to shake hands on being introduced.  However, if I were meeting other parents at the school Parent Night, or welcoming a visitor at church, handshakes automatically go with exchanging names.

What's it like where you live?

MariaE

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I'm in Denmark and here it's pretty much exactly the same as what EllenS described.
 
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Thipu1

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NYC here.

A handshake is expected when meeting someone new in a social or business setting.

Meeting friends on the street doesn't merit a handshake unless there's something unusual.  'So, you got that new job.  congratulations' (handshake)

Handshakes may also be exchanged with holiday greetings.

Customers don't usually exchange handshakes with retail personnel unless the transaction is complicated or expensive and the employee provided a considerable amount of time.  Closing the deal on a new car or a new kitchen range will probably include a handshake.  Buying a bottle of perfume probably won't.

An odd handshake situation is one in which a tip is presented.  This won't happen after an ordinary restaurant meal.  It will happen at the end of a cruise or at a resort when the tipper has been in contact with the same employee for at least several days.

The tipper folds the bills in his palm and folds in the thumb to secure them.  Then, the handshake is offered.  Personnel in resorts know that the handshake is more than a simple handshake.  It's seen as a more polite way of giving a tip than simply handing the person money.   

Library Dragon

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Southern US here and it is in the norm as EllenS described.  An interesting twist is that the major city 20 miles to my east is 80% transplants from other parts of the US. This conduct is the norm there.  This is either their experience or slid into the local expectation.

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Psychopoesie

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I live in Australia and it's pretty much the same.

Most recent social examples I can think of are meeting new neighbours and a friend's adult son for the first time.

Also a very common as part of professional introductions - at job interviews, in the workplace, at conferences. I worked in different areas of the public service for decades. But it's not just there - when tradespeople come to my home to give a quote, they'll offer to shake hands when they introduce themselves, for example.

Used to be a big thing at church where I grew up. Pastor and the elders used to shake everyone's hand as they left.

There are exceptions - more casual occasions or environments. I didn't do much handshaking at highschool or later when I went out to nightclubs. It wasn't common in uni classrooms either. Everyone shook hands with the University Chancellor when we picked up our degrees at graduation though.


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I'm in the Mid Atlantic area of the US.  Handshaking is expected when meeting someone for the first time professionally.  There are no handshakes for social or personal introductions.
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nolechica

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Southern US here and most of my handshakes are professional.  However, for the germaphobes, my life might be worse, LOTS of hugs.

menley

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I'm from Texas originally and am used to the environment that EllenS described.

Now I live in Budapest and there is a lot of cheek kissing (or air kisses near the cheek) instead of handshakes. It takes some getting used to because people from different sections of Europe seem to have a different standard. For example, most of the Hungarians I know only do one cheek kiss, but I know a lot of people from Spain, France, Belgium originally that do two. It caused some funny situations when I first met them and was only expecting one... including an almost-mouth kiss  :-[ After almost two years, though, I'm finally getting the hang of it...

Layla Miller

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I'm in the midwestern US and that sounds about right to describe my experience, too, EllenS.  In general, it seems like a handshake is used here whenever you aren't close enough to the person for a hug.  :D
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blue2000

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Southern US here and most of my handshakes are professional.  However, for the germaphobes, my life might be worse, LOTS of hugs.

LOL! Southern Ontario, Canada, and I was just about to say the same thing. Professionally, it is a handshake. Socially, in this area it may or may not have a handshake. But culturally it is a hug, even for total strangers. Your Great-Aunt Millie's neighbour Sue (that you've never met and might never see again) came over? Give her a big ol' hug and a kiss on the cheek! Too bad for you if she has germs. :P

This practice looks like it is dying out, as the under-30 set seem to be awfully squeamish about hugging a roomful of strangers. ;)
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Sharnita

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Re: Regional differences: how common is handshaking where you live? (S/o thread)
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 12:50:34 PM »
In Michigan, pretty common.

m2kbug

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Re: Regional differences: how common is handshaking where you live? (S/o thread)
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2013, 01:01:51 PM »
Pretty much what you describe her in Arizona.  You don't really shake in a casual type of setting but always professional setting and more formal settings.  If you run into a professional relationship, a client or boss or something or your accountant, in a casual type of environment you would probably shake, but probably not if bumping into a friend. 

WillyNilly

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Re: Regional differences: how common is handshaking where you live? (S/o thread)
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2013, 01:09:56 PM »
NYC here.

A handshake is expected when meeting someone new in a social or business setting.

Meeting friends on the street doesn't merit a handshake unless there's something unusual.  'So, you got that new job.  congratulations' (handshake)

Handshakes may also be exchanged with holiday greetings.

Customers don't usually exchange handshakes with retail personnel unless the transaction is complicated or expensive and the employee provided a considerable amount of time.  Closing the deal on a new car or a new kitchen range will probably include a handshake.  Buying a bottle of perfume probably won't.

An odd handshake situation is one in which a tip is presented.  This won't happen after an ordinary restaurant meal.  It will happen at the end of a cruise or at a resort when the tipper has been in contact with the same employee for at least several days.

The tipper folds the bills in his palm and folds in the thumb to secure them.  Then, the handshake is offered.  Personnel in resorts know that the handshake is more than a simple handshake.  It's seen as a more polite way of giving a tip than simply handing the person money.   

This. And its for women and men. When DH and I bought our car, we each shook the dealers hand, and when I signed the contract for my renovated bathroom I shook the guys hand. heck when I met my OB/GYN I shook his hand and when I got back good genetic test results he shook my hand. Its social too - last week I did a 5k with some friends, I was introduced to a friend of a friend - we are both women and we greeted each other with a handshake (by the end of the day we hugged, but we met with a handshake).

Handshakes happen within families too. All the men in my family and my husbands family greet each other with handshakes while women get hugs and or cheek kisses.

And often if a small child is shy and doesn't want to hug or kiss a grown-up, a handshake is offered to the kid as an easier to deal with option.

Perfect Circle

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Re: Regional differences: how common is handshaking where you live? (S/o thread)
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2013, 01:11:20 PM »
Very common in the UK too, at least my areas. Same for Northern Europe.
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Allyson

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Re: Regional differences: how common is handshaking where you live? (S/o thread)
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2013, 01:13:40 PM »
I live in Western Canada, and not that common here. I probably went ages without handshaking when I worked a restaurant-type job. I very recently got hired for a more professional job, but haven't started yet (!!) and have had a few handshakes with people in those situations, but even then not all the time.

Honestly most of my handshakes are with members of my hobby group. They are all big huggers and I am not, so I will sometimes do a handshake to avoid hugging.