A limp handshake is widely seen as a sign of insecurity, just as a firm handclasp is assumed to express confidence. But there are numerous other types of handshakes, all with very distinct meanings. These include:
- The Palm-Down: In this scenario, an individual either offers his hand with the palm facing down or initiates a handshake normally before twisting his hand so he is on top. This is an aggressive gesture is intended to convey that they will be in control of the forthcoming discussion/negotiation.
- The Glove: The meaning behind clasping someone’s hand with both of your hands varies significantly based on the connection between the two individuals. If the two parties already had an existing relationship, “The Glove,” done sincerely, is an expression of kindness or sympathy. However, if no prior connection existed, this gesture is a power play masquerading as empathy.
- The Double Glove: In this forceful response to “The Glove,” the original victim uses his free hand to envelop the offending party’s outside hand. It is a very clear message that you are one to be reckoned with.
- The Catch-And-Release: A quick grasp and release is a dismissive gesture. This individual has no interest in you or your needs. Protect yourself by allowing this person to say what he/she feels they must say, thank them for their input, and then excuse yourself to attend to an unspecified urgent matter.
- The Arm Grab: This is a more refined form of “The Glove” wherein one party takes their free hand and touches or takes hold of the other person’s forearm, elbow, bicep, or shoulder. In an existing relationship – especially paternal ones — this can be a very genuine display of compassion and support. However, this gesture is often “hijacked” by unconnected others so they may appear caring and sincere when they are actually conveying their control over the other party. The higher they place their free hand on your arm, the more aggressive and controlling the intent. Additionally, politicians further distort this gesture by using the “bicep/shoulder grab” as a blocking gesture to ensure they are not caught in an unexpected or embarrassing hug.