Last week I experienced a situation that seems to occur about once every month. I still have yet to come up with a solution for it, so I thought I would use my post today to talk about it, share my points, and hope to open a discussion and hear your points/experiences that may solve this issue. I’m sure it happens to all of us out there at one point in our lives.

I’ll paint you the picture that occurred last week.

I went to visit a friend at his home for a small gathering he had put on to celebrate the purchase of his new condo. I entered, armed with my brand new KitchenAid stainless steel toaster I had purchased as a gift, only to later find out that some other individual had also bought the exact same toaster and gave it to them first. I don’t even want to tell you how I came up with an alternate solution on the spot. Let’s just say I’m MacGyver. Also, anyone need a toaster? (Crazy how easy it is to lose a receipt) It’s up on Kijiji and amazing. VIEW KIJIJI TOASTER AD HERE..

After getting a quick tour of the condo, I entered the living room and saw four of my friends/acquaintances standing in what looked like a firing squad line up. Three male friends and one female friend on the far left. I started on the right, and said hi to my male friends using a customary “hey dude” and handshake greeting. Not even too sure how the male to male handshake thing started in social situations. I already know these guys, why am I basically introducing myself again to them. I guess its more of a dude, or bro thing and guys are very comfortable doing it. But I knew I was three handshakes away from a potentially awkward situation. What do I do when I get to my female friend? I only kinda know this girl through other people. Sure I say hello when I see her from across the bar, but now this is one on one. Do I shake her hand? Do I give her a hug? or do I do what I always do………. meet in the middle and give a high five. A high five? What am I, nine years old?

I was onto my last male friend. I could tell my palm was starting to sweat as the awkward situation was only seconds away. So now I don’t know what to do AND have a sweaty palm. Great. So I figured I would just be confident, avoid the sweaty palm and go for the hug. It almost seemed like it was in slow motion. It was time for our greeting. In my head played the theme song from Chariots of Fire. I raised both arms up and went in for the hug and at that very exact moment, she raised her right hand for the handshake. The potentially awkward situation got even worse. My arms stuck in mid air like a poorly posed manikin at JC Penny and her right hand frozen in a position that only makes sense when consistently pushing the floor number in an elevator. My inner monologue was racing back and forth saying: “Uh oh.. what now.. do I continue with the hug and hope she doesn’t jab those long nails into my stomach… or do I accept defeat and go for the shake….” When I noticed her go for the shake, I called an audible and lowered my arms and went to meet her handshake. Just as that happened, she apparently also called an audible and went for the hug. We looked we were sizing each other up and about to get involved in a serious wrestling match. So I did the next best thing….. I went back to what I know, and held up good ol’ right hand for a high five. She said: “Oh, a high five”, and slapped that hand as awkwardly as possible.

So what exactly is the proper etiquette when greeting a female you already know in a social situation. Ladies, do guys give you a handshake? Does that make you feel awkward?

I think it’s very acceptable to give a female a hand shake in a professional situation or if you have never met them before but social situations can get a little weird. If it becomes socially acceptable, do I know have to start looking at how many rings a female may be wearing on their hand? I don’t want to get injured over a simple handshake. Do I give a firm shake? This may be more on a personal level, but I do find it weird giving female friends a handshake greeting or goodbye. This barbaric ritual should only be maintained with males. [insert Tim Allen grunt here].

Off topic for a second, but as awkward as this situation can be, thankfully I live in Canada and can avoid the double kiss greeting. Now we’re getting into… is it one cheek? or both cheeks? I can honestly say that I’ve been in a situation where I thought they were going to give two cheeks, only wanted one, and made me look like an idiot when I went for the second. Isn’t kissing someones cheek that you don’t really know getting a little personal?

I think someone should write a Handshakes For Dummies book. At least I would know the type of handshake to give.

Possible Types

1. The Professional

The Professional is when both parties have a very similar swoop into the shake. They meet at the middle and its very flawless. The strength meter is equal on both sides as neither wants to outdo the other, but also wants to let them know they are there. The dismount occurs after a minimum of two three inch pumps and no more than four pumps. This type of shake is usually suited for first time introductions or professional situations.

2. The Single Sly

The term ‘Sly’ refers to your sly salesman. You know… the guy who is always smiling and saying things like ‘allllriggggght’ or ‘oh yeahhhhhh’ followed by a double gun point with his hands at you. It’s an aggressive, firm, single pump shake. You get in and get out because you have other business to attend to.

3. The Double Cover

This is when the shakee reaches with their right hand and you extend your right to give a Professional and its quickly followed by your left hand covering the shake. You are basically now shaking their one hand with both of yours. The left hand should come in exactly as the first pump is ending. The Double Cover usually lasts around three pumps and is followed by a two to three second period where you are just holding their hand with no movement. This is usually accompanied with you looking them in their eyes, either consoling them or saying something really creepy.

So I would love to know what everyone thinks about this. Have you experienced anything similar? How did it turn out? Should I shake a females hand when greeting them or saying goodbye? Tell me your stories. Maybe we can make a Handshake Etiquette guide out of this so we can avoid that awkward indecision again.

Let me know in the comments below.