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Old 06-15-2005, 11:13 AM
Join Date: May 1999
Location: Bangkok/52/Male
Posts: 8,869
Interpretation of a two-handed handshake

The two-handed handshake is when somebody shakes your right hand with his, while holding the back of your right hand with his left hand, or alternately holding onto your wrist or forearm while shaking hands.

What message do you get if:

1. Somebody you've just met for the first time greets you with a two-handed handshake?

2. Somebody you met once before who gave you a standard vanilla handshake and you've had no real interaction with him since then, now gives you a hearty two-handed handshake on the second meeting?

3. Somebody you met once before who you've since been working with off and on via e-mail or other interoffice communications, on the second meeting gives you a warm hearty two-handed handshake?

Assume 100% business situations for all above meetings; IOW none of the initial or subsequent contact was after work or in any sort of relaxed social setting. Also assume the two-handed handshaker and you work for the same company (he's not a client or customer).
Join Date: May 20, 1999
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 8,861
Old 06-15-2005, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Charm City, Hon
Posts: 3,380
Generally it indicates some form of intimacy (in the "closeness" sense) or trust. It may indicate that he values his relationship with you, or has missed working closely with you, or-or-or. Let me address your scenarios:

1) This person has already heard of you, understands that you are important to them in some way, and probably wants something from you. That "something" may just be a close working relationship, or it may be that he/she expects to sell you something or get your concurrence on an important question.

2) This person did not understand how important you were to his/her success previously (on the first meeting), and now wants to assure you that he/she understands how important it is to him/her that the two of you have a close working relationship. Again, this could also imply an agenda where he/she wants something from you.

3) This person wants to thank you for how helpful you've been, and reinforce how much he or she is looking forward to working with you face-to-face. Again, you cannot discount the two-handed handshake meaning that you are being set up for a sale.

If this person prefers to date people of your gender, and is single, then the two-handed handshake may imply physical attraction: "I think you are attractive and I enjoy physical contact with you. Please share this more-intimate handshake with me, on the chance that you will also enjoy physical contact with me."

I also read the two-hander as a "business hug" -- if the person you are working with is a very physical person, they may use the two-hander as a substitute for hugging in the workplace, where hugging would be unprofessional.
Old 06-15-2005, 11:36 AM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Southern Pennsylvania
Posts: 21,599
I'm not sure it means anything. I was taught to use both hands to shake a woman's hand. I dunno why and never thought about it. That is just was I was told was proper.
Old 06-15-2005, 11:42 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Baltobama, YesWeCanyland
Posts: 9,764
In all situations, I consider it phony sincerity.
Old 06-15-2005, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Montgomery AL
Posts: 4,383
Originally Posted by Trunk
In all situations, I consider it phony sincerity.
Yep. You're hand is being shook by a preacher or a politician.
Old 06-15-2005, 11:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Montgomery AL
Posts: 4,383
And typos are fre'ee.
Old 06-15-2005, 01:07 PM
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Frisco, TX
Posts: 1,084
I never use the 2 handed hand shake in a business environment. I was taught (at a very young age) that when you shake hands with someone you do it firmly and with only one hand....unless you are shaking the hand of an old person. With an old person you may not be able to use the same kind of squeeze you would normally use. In this case you use the two hands. It basically is a sign or respect towards older people. The thing that does not change between the two types of hand shakes is the look in the eyes. You have to look someone in the eyes when you shake hands with them.

At least that's how I was raised. May be a southern thing. May be a family thing. Don't really know, but that's how I was raised so now I do it out of habit.
Old 06-15-2005, 01:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Chili-con-valley
Posts: 8,506
I use the two handed shake when I want to acknowledge that someone who is a buisness acquaintance is also a friend. It would be rare, but I might use it when meeting an old boss that I liked for instance.
I also might use a two handed shake when I don't trust the other person not to try to attack me, as it is easy to change a two handed shake into a strong armlock, for instance when an unknown psycho insists on shaking hands in a bar.
Old 06-16-2005, 12:15 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Anderson, IN,USA
Posts: 14,583
I never saw it as a sexual thing. The only time I ever used it was at the memorial service for my Mom. I somehow got the role of running the service, and I wanted to express a shared feeling with folks who missed Mom almost as much as I did.
Old 06-16-2005, 03:23 AM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 17,348
Originally Posted by DeVena
Yep. You're hand is being shook by a preacher or a politician.
I agree. In a business situation, you're being manipulated.

A two-handed shake is one step away from an arm-hug, which is one step away from full hug. What you wanna be hugging me for?
Old 06-16-2005, 03:27 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
Posts: 11,386
Originally Posted by Trunk
In all situations, I consider it phony sincerity.
I couldn't agree more. Phoney, and creepy/sleazy too.
Old 06-16-2005, 03:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: In my foreign homeland
Posts: 1,664
I suspect that the temptation to overanalyze handshakes is rampant throughout this thread.

More seriously, I would hesitate to assume anything about a person based solely off of a handshake; maybe no-one taught this acquaintance proper handshaking etiquette, or perhaps he/she simply has bad handshaking habits.

Suspending judgement of each individual case will often come in handy.
Old 06-16-2005, 06:15 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 21,797
To me it sends out an over-eager, "I'm not too experienced at this handshaking thing" vibe.
Old 06-16-2005, 06:19 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 56,633
Originally Posted by Trunk
In all situations, I consider it phony sincerity.
You don't think it could ever be a genuine expression? How odd.

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