questionshow do you approach a handshake that you know isn…

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Sorry, I don't know if there is any foolproof way to figure this out, you just need to have the feel for it. One thing I would suggest is that you never, ever want to be the old dude shaking a fist bump. If you go for a handshake and it turns into a fist bump, you need to fist bump. Do not grab and a shake a fist bump.

/end public service announcement

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Rocket ship fist bump always, then bring it back for another fist bump, never will you be wrong, ever!

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Shaking the fist bump is hilarious. Maybe you could do it ironically.

You could go with the classic Tommy Boy line (said in Chris Farley funny guy fashion), "Brothers don't shake hands. Brothers gotta hug."

What's this locking fingers? Who does that? The only time this is acceptable is in the midst of excitement following some major achievement... like winning an Olympic Medal, or the Tour de France. Otherwise, I would avoid those people.

Honestly, the only people who don't feel awkward some of the time are the ones who make everybody else feel awkward and unsure what to do because they've sold out on some weird way of greeting people. Firm handshake. Closed fists for fist bumps are obvious. Nobody cares if you mess anything else up.

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I think this is the most hilarious question I have seen on this site. The responses are equally hilarious. Being female I am fascinated by the incredibly complex set of social norms guys are burdened with

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I've noticed the bro-hug is accompanied by a closed-fist back tap with the top of the thumb and side of the index finger making contact, as opposed to the open-hand back-slap that occurs with other handshakes.

Beyond the general rule of never breaking eye-contact with the other person during the handshake, I have only three handshakes in my repertoire, all of which are based on the foundation of a right-hand to right-hand handshake:

1. The "Professional": Initiated simultaneously, met equally between both parties (50%), only one hand is used with 2-3 medium-speed pumps max.
2. The "Politician": Initiated by myself, right hand extends 60+%, accompanied with a slight forward lean. Left hand comes up and lightly grips the back of the other person's right hand with 2 slow-speed pumps along with kind words in between each pump.
3. The "Pal": Initiation and distance don't matter, grip R hand, lean in up to shoulders, open left hand slaps other person's back 3 times at slow speed, no pump.

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(cont.)

As for shaking anything else, like a left-hand or a fist bump, I refuse to do it. I will say, "Oh wait, I have a cold, I'm sorry." and withdraw my hand before it makes contact. This is done only with my peripheral vision, as I do not ever break eye contact during a shake. I used to bump forearms with a group of friends, but they are long gone.

Yes, I've thought about this before. It is what I do.

@moondrake: Yes, it is a very weird societal more that heterosexual men cannot show too much affection toward one another during a handshake/hug, even in the privacy of a home, let alone in public. Our pelvises have to stay apart and any lean-in must be done solely with the upper-body with both feet firmly planted on the ground for both handshakes and hugs. I hug my guy friends when I know we will not see each other/have not seen each other for a long time. I don't know if they mind, since they reciprocate the hug and I don't care, since it's my way of showing platonic affection.

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A liplock pretty much guarantees that everyone else will just wave at you from a safe distance. So I heard.

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If it's in a professional/business setting, the bro-fist/bump/hug/weird little whatever is the thing out of place. Keep it simple, shake hands, then remove your poor hand from this awkward situation.

(If you're having this issue with friends... well, decide on a shake, I guess?)

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professional setting- the old one-two handshake

anywhere else- try to read how the handshake goes and when i fail miserably just blame it on the secret handshake club