questionswould you shake hands with someone who just…

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Nope.

If you feel awkward explaining your actual reason, I'd suggest saying something like, "Excuse me for not shaking hands. I haven't been feeling well and wouldn't want to risk making you sick."

Proper etiquette would dictate that you deliver this line with neither sarcasm nor a knowing glare.

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@anotherhiggins: Yup. The only downside is that the other guy may say: "Oh, that's okay! I already have a cold." while grabbing your hand.

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If it's a personal interaction, I wouldn't. I've run into something similar at work. I've seen a customer come out of the bathroom without washing his hands and then when he left he put his hand out to shake. I didn't have much choice but to shake it, but immediately went to wash up when he left. For work, I would normally try to be cordial, but place myself so it's not convenient to shake hands, but as I wrote above, it's not always an option.

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@adadavis: But you haven't offered your hand for him to grab.

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I may do the same as @jeffrjohn .... Just shake and run for the sink.

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OCD: sanitizer in pocket most of cold season

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nope! you can do something else, like an asian style bow and an enthusiastic "great to meet you!". or place your hands together in a Namaste pose and say "peace be to you" or something. hold your hand up like Forrest Gump in a sortof air wave

i guess it's different for men and women. i don't necessarily have to shake everyone's hands, but do guys feel obligated more? even away from work?

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@w00tgurl: Yes.

OK, I'm gonna go all Raleigh Junior Cotillion on your a$&.

A gentleman should never offer his hand to a lady. Instead, he should wait to see if she offers her hand to him. And if she does, in what manner. If she offers her hand for shaking, he should shake it. If she offers it in a fashion such as women used to when it was common for men to kiss a lady's hand, then he can either take her hand over his and hold it for a moment, or go all-in and kiss her hand.

Now stepping out of traditional-etiquette-mode and returning to how most people actually do things today....

Shaking hands is still very much an honored tradition among men. And many men still judge each other - to varying degrees - by how well the other man can shake hands.

I've been "left hanging" when I've offered my hand for shaking. It feels awkward and incredibly dismissive. I wouldn't want to do that to anyone else.

But you /can/ politely refuse with a technique such as the one in my first post.