A Handshake Broke My Wrist

Our hands were locked in a firm grip that even a group of caffeine-crazed middle schoolers couldn’t break in an intense game of Red Rover. He looked me dead in the eyes as if he was waiting for me to crack and spill a classified, top secret. Sweat was forming at the brim of my forehead as others gazed on in dead silence, like they were witnessing a heavyweight boxing championship. I might have been the challenger, but there was no way I was backing down. This wasn’t an ordinary handshake, this was the first time I met my girlfriend’s father.

It’s weird to think that the first impression people have of you is when you shake their hands. Growing up, I was taught to give a strong handshake and always look the person in the eyes. It not only showed respect but conveyed a sign of confidence to others. But greeting people has changed so much that it’s hard to tell what is the right way to approach someone.

While a handshake was the only proper form of personally introducing yourself, greetings have now evolved into an art form that can turn out to be awkward and uncomfortable. If I see someone I know, I usually don’t give them a firm grip and death stare. They would probably think I am crazy. Instead, I’ll most likely give them a bro fist-pound or combination of bro-hug/pat with a quick hand-shake. It’s unnerving to think that people I rarely see feel comfortable enough with me to get that close for hug or pat. What’s even more bizarre is that for a few job interview, the a couple managers went in for a fist-pump instead of a firm handshake. You’re supposed to be my boss, not my friend that I go out and hang with.

What’s even more uncomfortable is greeting someone of the other sex. I’m sure many people have went in to fist-pump one of their guy friends, but encounter that awkward moment when the other person goes in for a handshake at the same time. Imagine you run into a girl you haven’t seen in some time. You go in for a high five or other quick greeting, and she is offended because you didn’t give her a hug right away. It’s not like you two meet up every Sunday for drinks and talk. I just feel more comfortable having close contact such as a hug with people I have real, actual relationships with; not someone I had Algebra with in the tenth grade.

All of this leads me back to tug of war I was having with my girlfriend’s father. I knew I had to give him the strongest handshake I could to have the best, first impression. No one was backing down and I could tell that he was surprised a young guy like me didn’t go in with a weak grip and let go after a second. Too make matters worse, he even started maneuvering his hand to grind my knuckles. He could play dirty, but I was going to win this battle fair and square.

my hand in a cast

The aftermath from the epic handshake. (Photo credit: clango)

Finally, he let go on his grip and it was all over. I’m pretty sure everyone there even let out a sigh of relief. I put on a smile, but held my hand in pain once he turned his back. This may seem strange to some people, but I knew I had to make a good, first impression. I am going to be dating his daughter, the love of his life. If I gave a weak shake, how is that going to show him that I am strong enough to take care of his baby girl. Well, I think I earned his respect from that day on and we have had no issues with trust. I recommend everyone gives a nice, firm handshake when they meet new people. It could be anything form a job interview to meeting a new guy-friend at a bar. You’ll see that a strong shake of the hands will be a great start to a first impression.

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30 Responses to A Handshake Broke My Wrist

  1. What’s even worse is the hug/hand shake combo when you stick out your hand and they move in for a hug. Ugh.

  2. Marissa says:

    This post is so relatable!! I laughed the entire time 🙂 thankfully most girls don’t greet each other with handshakes and we don’t have to shake the girlfriend’s dad’s hand! Great post

  3. This story is hilarious! Thanks for the laugh. I laughed so hard when you said, “Too make matters worse, he even started maneuvering his hand to grind my knuckles.” Glad you stood your ground.

  4. gwennonr says:

    This was a well-written and well-thought-out article. However, you will not want to post this comment as the grammarian in me has risen to the surface to hopefully helpfully point out a couple of items you may want to correct: in the paragraph the starts out “greetings have evolved” you wrote an awkward phrase “the a couple”. I know you will want to change that. Also, in the second to last line you wrote “form” when I think you may have meant “from”.

    I hereby give you license to point out grammatically errors and typos in my own writings whenever you see them (because who can see his own mistakes?) and I’ll correct them as soon as I can.

    Best Regards, GwennonR

  5. Hi, Joe, and I must say – I like your style. I won’t point out grammar errors (I make a few myself) but you should proof your work before you publish it. Believe it or not, one misspelled word can turnoff a reader, especially on the internet. Don’t rely solely on the program you are using, whether it be Microsoft Word, Wordperfect or any other. And always manually proof your work and never click the Publish button because you want to go running to the gym (like I do, lol) and then be embarrassed later. It has happened to me…to all of us…we’re only human, right? There’s lots of good proofreading programs online that are free to use.

    Good article, though. I have my own thoughts on whether a firm handshake makes a strong man and that’s why I found your article so interesting. I’ve known men with strong handshakes that weren’t very loyal or good at anything else and vice-versa.

    I like your layout too. I noticed you put your email subscription link up top…good move. I have the Columnist theme so mine gets stuck in the bottom widget sidebars. Another thing I liked is that most of your page is content; that’s good because content is king and is what sells you as a writer and attracts a higher search engine ranking – not all the fancy bells and whistles. You now have me as a Follower.

    Keep on blogging!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and great feedback. It really does mean so much to me all the support this community has for each blogger. Best of luck with everything and I will definitely put off the gym for a couple more minutes to proof read thoroughly.

  6. Ha 🙂 And that’s why I love being French. We avoid all these “awkward and uncomfortable” greetings by doing “La bise”, a kiss on both cheeks, which applies for everyone. Your introduction doesn’t always carry all this meaning about your relationship with that person, which can be misinterpreted and might offend them.

  7. happycitizen2 says:

    from “The Handshake That Broke My Wrist”…”It could be anything form a job interview to meeting a new guy-friend at a bar”…. find the misspelling in a cup of joe’s statement
    that aside…i don’t always captialize or use punctuation when i blog or reply andddddd
    i enjoyed reading The Handshake That Broke [Your] Wrist, Joe

    • Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate all the support and comments from this community. It is great and helps me become a better writer/blogger. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you come again for another Regular Cup of Joe.

  8. It is a good story, but I wanted to hear more! You were in pain and then what happened? What were your feelings? You went to the doctor?

    • No, the pain eventually went away after a few minutes and we all sat down to eat. It was actually really funny how it all turned out. Now every time I see my girlfriend’s dad, we have this firm, hand shake. But that is it. We then just talk and have a good time. Thanks for reading and I am really happy you enjoyed it so much 🙂

  9. Afef says:

    Moving! Thumbs up!

  10. misskzebra says:

    Pfft. My dad doesn’t bother with handshakes. I think he’s just generally impressed when someone is brave enough to date me. He knows I can look after myself.

    • This comment made me laugh after I read it 🙂 Your dad knows he has done something right that he doesn’t have to worry about looking after his children. Thanks for reading and hope you come back for another refill for your Cup of Joe.

  11. I think you handled the situation well, with integrity. Well written.

    • Thank you. I think it went well since I am still dating his daughter, I get along great with the dad. The handshakes still continue, but not as intensely as the first one. I’m glad you enjoyed your Cup of Joe and I hope you come back for a refill 🙂

  12. lucylingphotography says:

    Haha I really enjoyed your post ! Thanks for stopping by my blog x

  13. Pingback: A Handshake Broke My Wrist | Sheila Says...

  14. What's Beef? says:

    I met my girlfriend’s father for the first time recently. He didn’t give me the Vulcan death grip, but the fear was there – “if I blow this, he’ll immediately think my manhood suspect.” The handshake of greeting came and went without incident, but I tempted fate by going back to the well a second time (unnecessarily, since we only met briefly). I totally short-armed it and he got about two-thirds of my hand. Ransomed damsels have a stronger grip. Every couple of days this incident crosses my mind and I try to sweep it away and force my sub-conscience to forget what a schmuck I was for that one dreadful moment! Anyways, really enjoyed the post. Glad to hear you held your own, even at the point of injury.

    • I laughed at the Vulcan death grip part 🙂 I’m glad to see someone else still respects a handshake and does’t introduce themselves like everybody is their friend. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed.

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