Author Topic: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?  (Read 8532 times)

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Starchasm

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2010, 08:17:53 PM »
We were taught in Cotillion that a man should NEVER extend his hand to a lady.  He should wait for the lady to initiate a handshake.  The reasoning I was given was that if a man extended his hand it put pressure on the woman to accept physical contact that she may not be comfortable with.

So I vote etiquettely not rude!  ;D  In fact, he was rude for extending his hand to a woman first.

That said, I think it was probably the 'recoiling' that threw him off. 

Nurvingiel

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2010, 09:43:36 PM »
Personally I don't feel that a man is rude if he extends his hand to a lady. However man or woman, no one is required to shake the offered hand. I've been thinking about this thread and the meaning of handshakes.

I feel that offering your hand to shake is like saying "Hi, I'd like to get to know you" in a friendly way. If you don't want to get to know that person (as with the OP's experience) then it makes sense not to shake the hand.
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Suze

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #17 on: October 19, 2010, 10:11:39 PM »
if you don't want to have your hand squished when you shake hands - lay your first two fingers along the other persons wrist.

that way when they do the firm (bonecrushing) handshake your hand will sort of fold up and it wont hurt.  and most people do not notice your fingers.
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Jolie_kitten

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2010, 01:49:11 AM »
It may be a cultural thing, but I always thought that the only time it's OK not to shake someone's hand (excepting, of course, physical pain, the risk of spreading a bad flu or religious constraints) is when that someone has deeply, deeply offended you.
If, however, for whatever reasons you do not wish to shake the salesman's hand, you definitely need at least to say something along the lines of "sorry, I don't shake hands." Putting your hand behind your back like this would be rude in my culture (as it would imply you're very offended by his presence)- but I'm not sure about other places.
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Curly Wurly Doggie Breath

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2010, 02:20:30 AM »
It may be a cultural thing, but I always thought that the only time it's OK not to shake someone's hand (excepting, of course, physical pain, the risk of spreading a bad flu or religious constraints) is when that someone has deeply, deeply offended you.
If, however, for whatever reasons you do not wish to shake the salesman's hand, you definitely need at least to say something along the lines of "sorry, I don't shake hands." Putting your hand behind your back like this would be rude in my culture (as it would imply you're very offended by his presence)- but I'm not sure about other places.
I don't know... In this case, a stranger came to the OP's door, he wasn't welcome, he wasn't a friend dropping by, or family

To me, shaking this saleperson's hand would imply he is then a welcome presence in my company.

I wouldn't shake his hand either.

And I'm a compulsive handshaker [except for the people I know that are from countries that don't encourage touch between non family or non married peoples]

And then on the other hand, not all cultures shake hands anyway  8)

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Granny Takes a Trip

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2010, 03:05:01 AM »
I always give a firm handshake, because if the other person squeezes too hard squeezing back prevents your bones from grating together. Trust me, it works. I also really hate how it feels when someone gives a limp handshake. I don't want a contest on who can squeeze harder, but please give a little pressure!

In this situation I don't think it was rude, although you could have been less abrupt.

She could have been less abrupt, but I think it was good that she wasn't. I have no patience with solicitors. They are IMO owed whatsoever beyond 'not rude'. So, cursing and slamming the door in their face, not good. But I personally think it is fine to say 'No, thank you' while closing (not slamming) the door. Social nicetites like handshakes are certainly not required. Personally, I do not open the door to strangers until I know their business, so it's moot.
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Shoo

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2010, 10:08:40 AM »
Putting your hand behind your back like this would be rude in my culture (as it would imply you're very offended by his presence)- but I'm not sure about other places.

I was offended by his presence.  He was an uninvited stranger at my door, interrupting my dinner making, and then expecting me to soil my clean hand on his possibly really germy hand.

gwennan

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2010, 12:42:13 PM »
I'm with a few previous posters - I was taught that 1: the women in a mixed-gender meeting should be the one to offer a handshake. 2: an uninvited solicitor at my door should be accorded basic courtesy, but that doesn't include physical contact.

The reason a salesman offers to shake is to change the dynamic of the relationship from sales/customer to friendship, IMO. I find it a bit pushy to assume that, just because you knocked on my door, I want to be your friend.

I don't shake hands with salespeople unless I've initiated the contact. :)

hobish

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2010, 01:19:38 PM »
I will point out that many Orthodox Jewish people do not touch members of the opposite sex (except for their spouse, children, parents, siblings, etc.), and avoid shaking hands with someone of the opposite sex.  Some will shake hands with members of the opposite sex to avoid causing embarrassment, while others will just stand there looking uncomfortable.  In this case, the proper etiquette is not to initiate a handshake.

Why is it proper etiquette to not initiate a handshake? I would think it would be the other way around - incumbent on the person with the anti-handshaking beliefs to not accept the hand. If you have no way of knowing what a person's beliefs are offering one's hand is the more polite thing to do, i would think.

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Dragonflymom

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2010, 07:39:58 PM »
Putting your hand behind your back like this would be rude in my culture (as it would imply you're very offended by his presence)- but I'm not sure about other places.

I was offended by his presence.  He was an uninvited stranger at my door, interrupting my dinner making, and then expecting me to soil my clean hand on his possibly really germy hand.

So very much this.  He is not a friend or potential future friend, he is someone knocking on your door and interrupting your time for his own personal gain trying to earn a commission and make a sale.  The only thing he is owed is the basic courtesy of remaining civil while telling him you are not interested.  Just because someone knocks on the door selling something does not require you to treat him as a friend, even though he may try to get you to do so in order to make a sale.
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baglady

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2010, 08:02:11 PM »
I personally think the salesman in the OP was presumptuous. I think of handshakes as something to be reserved for social introductions and for greeting someone you have already decided to have a professional relationship with -- e.g., the real estate agent, doctor or job interviewer with whom you set up an appointment by phone and are now meeting for the first time. It's something that happens when there's already a comfort level established. Extending the hand to a perfect stranger in the situation the OP described strikes me as weird. But that's just me.

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Shoo

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2010, 09:14:17 PM »
I personally think the salesman in the OP was presumptuous. I think of handshakes as something to be reserved for social introductions and for greeting someone you have already decided to have a professional rel@tionship with -- e.g., the real estate agent, doctor or job interviewer with whom you set up an appointment by phone and are now meeting for the first time. It's something that happens when there's already a comfort level established. Extending the hand to a perfect stranger in the situation the OP described strikes me as weird. But that's just me.



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AuntyEm

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2010, 06:50:55 AM »
Yes-I'll have to vote slightly rude though I can understand why you didn't want to do it.  I too was taught that it is the woman who initiates the handshake--never the man.  However, I don't think you can refuse to shake an offered hand unless you have a good reason--hands dirty, hands full, you are sick or the person is of such low character that it justifies the snub.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2010, 09:54:10 AM »
I personally think the salesman in the OP was presumptuous. I think of handshakes as something to be reserved for social introductions and for greeting someone you have already decided to have a professional rel@tionship with -- e.g., the real estate agent, doctor or job interviewer with whom you set up an appointment by phone and are now meeting for the first time. It's something that happens when there's already a comfort level established. Extending the hand to a perfect stranger in the situation the OP described strikes me as weird. But that's just me.



No, it's not just you!  It's me, too!

It's me three.  Just because a salesperson is on my doorstep, doesn't mean I have to socially interact with them.  I can ignore the knock on the door or open the door on the safety chain and say 'no thank you'.  In a social situation, I think it'd be pretty rude to refuse to shake someone's hand (unless you have a good reason - religious or health reasons, or a phobia about touching people for instance), but this wasn't a social situation at all.  This man was a total stranger to Shoo, on her property without an invitation.

Also, and maybe I'm being paranoid, but it seems to me there's a bit of a safety issue too.  If I open my door to someone, I'm standing a few feet from them, and if they make a move I don't like, I can shut the door quickly or back away.  If that person has hold of one of my hands, I can't.  I really wouldn't be comfortable with that.

celtic_lady

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Re: Is it rude to refuse to shake someone's hand?
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2010, 10:13:39 AM »
I'm not big on shaking hands either, so I understand your feelings. Probably saying something like, "I'm in the middle of cooking dinner right now so I'd prefer not to shake" would have been a good way to handle it. It not only offers an explanation for not shaking, but also tells the person that they've interrupted you at an inconvenient time. My church has a ritual during the service where people shake the hands of those sitting around them as a sign of goodwill. I've never felt comfortable with this especially when someone nearby has been coughing or sneezing. In recent years I've noticed more and more people (including myself) simply giving a friendly wave or a nod and smile when someone extends their hand. It appears that many of the clergy people are catching on as there have been more announcements encouraging people not to shake hands if they have been sick.