Photo Credit: Jewish Press

What’s in a handshake? We often hear that you can tell a lot about a person’s confidence (or lack thereof) from their handshake. The firm grip, the dead fish, the clammy palm, etc. All are supposed to give you information into the emotional psyche of the person you are shaking hands with.

There are many rules about the etiquette of handshakes and even preferred ways to stand, which hand to extend and how many “shakes” you should do. There are countless articles and studies dedicated to analyzing handshaking styles and guiding people on how to get it right in order to “make the right impression.”


All this being said, the conclusion of the handshake conversation is always about practicing and “fake it to make it.” So as much as the handshake is supposed to be a good source of information about someone, it’s actually… not? This is a good reminder that first impressions are just that, first impressions.

Remember when meeting people that humans are complex and you can’t whittle them down to surface things like handshakes, their clothing, certainly not their physical bodies, etc. Think about a time you misjudged a person based on your first impression and remember to be open minded about people. You’ll find your relationships far more fulfilling and authentic.

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Rachel Tuchman is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Cedarhurst, NY with over 10 years of experience. She is a HAES (Health At Every Size) aligned clinician and is dedicated to promoting education on body respect and behaviors that honor our health. Rachel also does speaking engagements for schools, synagogues, and various community organizations.