How to gracefully avoid handshakes?

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    This was a non-playing event, but it’s happened to me a few times before. I just wasn’t in defensive mode and wasn’t thinking. A guy stuck his hand out, and I did the reflex thing and SHOOK HIS HAND. I thought for a minute I had suffered a career-ending injury, but after a while, life returned to the wounded paw. I explained to him that it hurt terribly, and he shouldn’t squeeze. Then later when everyone was leaving, he HE TRIED TO SHAKE MY HAND AGAIN. This time I was ready, and I said ….I don’t shake. He looked a little confused, so I reminded him of his previous faux pas, and he went away. I think it is OK to tell people I don’t shake, but I am not a people pleaser, and I don’t care if they like me or not. I just wondered what others did in this situation. Pockets are a good option, if available, but they aren’t always available…I have at times kept my hands in my pockets, hoping no one will make an attempt.

    Angela Biggs

    This happens in church during the sign of peace. I tend to fold my hands loosely in front of me and bow slightly at the waist. Accompanied by a smile, it doesn’t give offense. I also do this in company, since I usually don’t have pockets and keep my hands folded the same way.


    Too many men learned some terrible idea that if a “firm handshake” is a good thing, then a really manly man will break at least two knuckles, and dislocating the victim’s elbow or shoulder during the handshake a signed of truly exceptional character.

    D W

    Any proper gentleman would know it is bad etiquette to extend one’s hand to a lady, you are supposed to wait for her to lead the gesture if she chooses. I’m sure he said ”nice to meet you” rather than ”how do you do”!


    I don’t remember what he said…the pain was so intense.


    If I’m little further a way from the person, I just give a short wave, and whisper”peace be with you.” at church. I do shake hands. I’m a firm hand shaker (but not to the point of hurting someone! Yikes! I shake hands, but I’m sensitive to the person’s grip. Some people give a very stiff hand shake, of which I respond with a light hand shake. 😉


    This REALLY isn’t funny, but must of the comments have certainly made me laugh. Anyway, maybe you should try what I used to do when I took my boys for their “Well baby checks”. I ALWAYS had my kids sit on my lap in the Dr.s office sick OR well and it NEVER failed that some REALLY sick, snotty nosed, puking kid was left to run amuck and come over to me to check out my baby. Well, I got so I would just say in a loud enough voice “Honey, better not get too close, the BABY is REALLY sick”. You never saw kids get pulled in SO quickly in you life. SO . . . try the old “I’d love to shake your hand, but I’m not really well and been coughing in mine throughout the whole event” Watch them run!

    😉 Kay


    I thought it was only me; I have no time for extra pain and what I do when someone reaches out their hand to shake mine is I reach past their hand and shake/touch above their wrist usually saying “it hurts my hands to shake!”


    Though I have always avoided playing basketball and volleyball for fear of hand injury, it never occurred to me to avoid handshakes. I guess I’ve never been on the receiving end of a painful one. It seems an unlikely way to be injured….though you might catch a cold or the flu from it.


    I like the dodge….above-the-wrist thing. Seems like you’d have to be fast, or they might catch you in mid-air.
    Seated at the harp, it’s pretty easy. They seem to approach from the left, so instead of reaching behind the harp with my right, I stick out my left. They don’t know what to do with it, so they kind of half-heartedly close their pincers on it and give up.
    It might work with a regular shake…extending the left paw and saying something like…I have a sore finger or whatever…while indicating the right hand.

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