Handshakes. People do it all the time, in many different countries and for almost every occasion. But what exactly does a handshake do, other than being a polite habit whenever you meet someone?
Personally, I used to be pretty conscious about giving handshakes. I don’t know why; maybe because I was shy. But now I’ve progressed to initiating them. The reason for this sudden change? Getting to know the person right away.
Most people don’t know this, but the way you shake hands tells a lot about you… or in other cases creates a lot of impressions about you. There are several factors involved: who shakes first, the way you shake hands, and the strength with which you shake (mostly for guys). According to proper etiquette, the younger person waits for the older one to inititate the greeting. If you are meeting someone’s parents or gaurdians, you also wait for their initiation. However, if that person is a peer, within a reasonable age range, or younger than you, it’s up to you to shake their hands first. It’s all out of respect, and respect is key when giving first impressions.
Confidence is key when you are meeting someone new. Let’s admit it: it can be intimidating sometimes to be introduced by a mutual friend, only to have that friend say “I’ll leave you two to get yourselves introduced” and head off somewhere else and leavint the two of you standing there awkwardly. I know for many teens this sis a pretty tough situation. You don’t know the other person, if they like you or not (as a person), their hobbies, interests, what to talk about… the questions just drag on and on. Therefore it is imperative to exhibit confidence to help the other person relax. People are more likely to talk freely if the other person seems to know how to keep the conversation going. And in that case, YOU’RE the person with the confidence. And it starts with that handshake. Make it firm. Strong. Especially if you’re a guy. A weak handshake won’t get you anywhere. A strong one will likely get you some comments (‘Strong handshake!’, ‘You work out?’, ‘Any athletics?’). Then that only serves to ignite a conversation. For girls, make it firm but don’t overdo it. The girls I shake hands with are usually pretty sensitive to a strong handshake… I get my fair share of “ow’s!” from time to time. D:
You might be thinking: this is fine and all, but what does this have to do with a Christian blog? Easy: the evangelistic mandate for all believers. To the people we don’t know very well, it’s important to put them at ease. You’ve got an important message for them that you wish to deliver in all its power. A weak handshake, a sign of lack of confidence, won’t exactly power up your message. In other words, be confident about your message. You will meet and greet people, and most of these encounters involves a polite handshake, so make the most of it and make it one that they will remember.
I believe Jesus Himself would give a sinner a nice, firm handshake and a loving gaze… instantly drawing them to Him. We can do the same, except that we point them to our confidence from our God.