Saturday, May 9, 2009

On the importance of hand shakes

This blog is in response to this post:

Wow. Michael Arrington. My first response, dude, is that you seriously need to deal with that little OCD problem you've got going on there.

(Most normal people don't freak out when touching others to this degree.)

But I want to address this from another perspective. While it is true that all sorts of touch can spread all sorts of disease, so do public toilets and whatnot. DEAL.

The more relevant point to me is that most people live large parts of their lives today where they never even get away from their computer, or leave their homes. And when in public, they are hypersensitive to touch. I say this living in Los Angeles, where the whole celebrity "don't touch me" thing just compounds the problem. People just flat out don't touch here.

And that is as big a problem as the OCD discussed previously.

Touching IS a part of socialization. Touching, handshaking as he describes, may have its origins in wanting to show you have no weapon, but there are other, more spiritual things that are also exchanged in a simple handshake.

You look in the person's eyes. You assess what type of person you have in front of you. And just this act of initiating trust (whether socially motivated or not) increases intimacy between two people. I don't know about anyone else, but someone who fist pumps me, or bumps my elbow, instead of shaking hands, I'd be highly suspicious of.

Course, I'm German, and handshaking is HUGE over there. (In fact, Mr. Arrington, maybe you should avoid going there. They are all about the handshake, even in casual meetings.)

I am a hugging type of person, and once I become friends with someone, I HUG them. People in our culture don't get nearly enough hugs. When was the last time you got one?

People need/desire/crave touch. The handshake is one of the few types of touch that is totally socially acceptable. To take that away would provoke even more serious consequences for our society than the "disease" craziness that you talk about.

So get over your damn self. Be a man, shake that hand.

1 comment:

  1. His post got a lot of attention all over the web. I think you need to give him a break though. He runs one of the top business blogs in the world, a mention on TC could make or break your company, you can imagine a lot of people (too many) want to shake his hand because of what he can do for them.


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