First impressions are far from reliable.
But most of the time, they can still help us get a general idea of what someone is like.
Take handshakes, for example.
A firm handshake gives us the impression that someone is smart and confident.
It would make sense to imagine that a limp handshake would be the exact opposite—that someone’s weak and insecure.
But surprisingly, there’s more to it than that.
In this article, I’ll list down the most likely character traits that people with a weak handshake have.
1) They’re socially awkward
If you think about it, it makes sense that people who are awkward with handshakes are also awkward in…everything else!
They may be clueless on what they should say or do around others.
And they especially have no idea on how to present themselves without coming off as either arrogant or weak.
So they might try to start off a handshake strong, only to end up wiggling their hands like a wet noodle.
Don’t hold it against them!
There are many perfectly valid reasons why people would be socially awkward, like anxiety or simply lack of practice.
2) They’re introverted
They’re the kind of person who’d rather be at home cuddling with their cat or reading a book instead of mingling with a crowd.
They do love hanging out with people, but only on their own terms and with people that they already know.
They’re simply not interested in touching shoulders and rubbing elbows with strangers and acquaintances—especially if they feel like they have to.
And this disinterest is often reflected in their handshake.
To make it worse, it might be their 50th handshake of the day…which is already a lot in itself, but is especially taxing for introverts who’d rather just hide away and recharge.
3) They’re down-to-earth
Everyone has a slightly different idea for what is “too tight” or “too loose” when it comes to handshakes.
But some of the cockiest people I know make it a point to have a firm grip. It’s almost like they wanted to intimidate people by crushing their fingers!
Down-to-earth people, on the other hand, tend to be quite conscious about this and will try to do the opposite—they keep their handshakes loose and casual.
Some purposely do this to make the other person feel like they’re on the same level.
To make the people they meet feel even more at ease, they make sure to have an open body language, like having a warm smile and a fixed gaze.
4) They’re not bossy
Sometimes you get sloppy handshakes not from your subordinates or your equals, but your superiors.
And it’s easy to assume that it’s because they don’t care about you enough to bless you with a proper handshake.
But on the other hand, it’s quite likely that they simply don’t like being bossy—even if they ARE your boss.
They’re the kind of person who listens to their subordinates and treats them respectfully instead of bossing them around like mere servants.
Their “limp” handshake is because they honestly would rather be seen as a casual and friendly person.
5) They’re a bit of a nonconformist
“Polite society” has turned the simple handshake into an elaborate ritual in its own right, with a load of unspoken rules.
How long should you hold someone else’s hand?
How hard should you shake their hand?
What expression should you have on your face?
Do you offer your hand first, or wait for them to offer?
So many rules!
Most of us are more than happy to play along, as silly as those rules might be at times.
But a non-conformist will take a glance at all that, go “what’s even the point?” and refuse to play along.
They might know how important a “proper” handshake can be for some people, but couldn’t be bothered to care anyways.
A handshake is just a handshake as far as they’re concerned, and they wouldn’t want to bother with someone who’d judge them over something as minor as that in the first place.
6) They’re more genuine than most people
This often goes hand in hand with the above, and the reason is simple: nonconformists are often the most unabashedly genuine people around.
They’re genuine because they don’t believe that they should do things just because society wants them to.
They simply want to be their genuine selves— to do what they want to do in their way!
So they’re not going to shake your hand firmly and act like they’re thrilled to meet you if they don’t genuinely feel that way.
But don’t take it too personally either. It’s probably just because they simply don’t know you yet. Once you click, you’ll be surprised that they’d even hug you the next time you meet.
7) They’re not maximizers
That is to say, they’re not the kind of person who tracks their every interaction and values people based on what they can “gain” from the people they talk to.
They’re not going to act all professional and charming with a firm handshake only to start selling you food supplements months down the line.
And neither are they going to attempt to get in your good graces so that you can have you introduce them to someone important.
When they shake your hand, it’s simply because they’re introducing themselves to you and nothing more.
8) They’re laid back
People with a limp handshake are likely going to be the happy-go-lucky type.
People who may or may not have big grand goals to chase after, but are nonetheless more concerned with enjoying the present.
This lack of pressure to move forward is reflected in how similarly laid-back and “limp” their handshakes are.
And that’s also because they don’t have goals to impress you or leave an impression on you.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, mind.
It’s easy to look down on people who are content with being laid back if you’re someone who’s ambitious and driven… but if they’re happy as they are, let them be.
9) They don’t have a need to prove themselves
Sometimes people simply don’t bother being firm with their handshakes because they just don’t feel like they need to prove anything.
Sure, giving people a firm handshake says things like “I’m confident!”, “I’m good at what I do!”, and “I’m a professional!”
But for them, all of that is pointless.
They already know they’re confident, that they’re good, and that they’re a professional among many other things.
The people around them also know all of that—and if they don’t know yet, then they will by other means other than a handshake.
And as far as they’re concerned, if they’re bad at what they do then not even the world’s most exquisitely delivered professional handshake will save them.
10) They don’t have a big ego
People who aren’t self-important don’t usually care about giving people the firmest of handshakes.
They might not be so limp that their handshakes feel like a wet noodle—that usually indicates someone who’s insecure instead—but you can definitely tell that it’s not as firm or “confident” as it could be.
The reason for this is simple: they don’t feel the need to always impress people or take charge.
In fact, they’re more than happy to sit back and let other people shine and take the lead.
There are many different reasons why someone might have a limp handshake.
And that’s why it’s ideal to avoid judging people right away for not doing handshakes “right”.
In fact, I’d say that all of us should take a closer look at handshake culture as a whole and laugh at just how silly it is.
Think about it.
It’s basically about pretending you can present who you are as a person through an interaction that lasts barely a second most of the time.
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