Handshakes. We’ve all done them. Whether it’s meeting someone new, greeting a friend, or sealing a business deal, handshakes are a part of our everyday lives.
They’re a simple gesture, yet they carry a lot of meaning.
But have you ever held out your hand to greet someone and have them do something different?
They’ve not just shaken your hand with theirs, but they’ve actually used both of their hands to shake your single hand. You might be left wondering, “What was that all about?”
Well, this article is here to help decode that mystery. This type of handshake is called a two-handed handshake, and believe it or not, it’s full of meanings and messages.
1. A Display of Trust and Honesty
Trust and honesty are at the core of a two-handed handshake. When one hand is placed over the other while shaking hands, it demonstrates an extra layer of warmth and openness.
It’s a way of signaling that you’re trustworthy, genuine, and comfortable in the other person’s presence.
On the flip side, a two-handed handshake can be interpreted as an overt display of honesty.
The action of covering the other person’s hand might imply that you’re trying to express sincerity in a very upfront manner.
It’s a powerful non-verbal signal that can often break barriers in a formal setting, making the atmosphere more relaxed and friendly.
However, not everyone may interpret this gesture as genuine. Some people might see it as a manipulative trick used in diplomatic circles or a sales pitch to establish trust.
Hence, a two-handed handshake can be a double-edged sword – a token of trust for some, but perceived as an overly showy act by others.
2. Dominance and Control
The act of a two-handed handshake could also signify dominance and control. When the handshaker encompasses the other person’s hand, it might be seen as an attempt to establish superiority.
By covering the other person’s hand, one could be trying to subtly convey a sense of control or power.
In a professional environment, this could be a tactical move, signaling that the individual is assertive and authoritative.
They’re letting others know that they’re not just a passive participant in the conversation, but someone who wants to take the reins.
However, this gesture can sometimes be received negatively. If the handshake is not expected or wanted, it can come across as an invasion of personal space, causing discomfort.
3. Empathy and Comfort
Sometimes, a two-handed handshake is just a way of offering empathy and comfort.
If the setting is emotionally charged, such as at a funeral or when meeting someone going through a difficult time, a two-handed handshake can be a way of providing support and expressing condolences.
In such situations, the two-handed handshake is less about power or dominance, and more about demonstrating solidarity and empathy.
[Also read: What Does It Mean When A Guy Scratches Your Palm?]
4. Affection and Closeness
If you’re meeting a loved one or a dear friend after a long time, you might engage in a two-handed handshake as a way to express your joy and warmth towards them.
The additional hand isn’t just an act of physical contact, but an expression of your fondness for the person. It’s a way of expressing that the other person is valued.
However, as with other forms of non-verbal communication, this gesture could be misinterpreted if the relationship isn’t close enough or if the other person is uncomfortable with such overt displays of affection.
5. A Sign of Gratitude
Most times, a two-handed handshake is a strong gesture of gratitude.
When someone has done you a great favor, or when you want to express your appreciation in a grand manner, a two-handed handshake can be a non-verbal way to say ‘thank you.’
The extra hand in the handshake can add an emotional intensity to your expression of gratitude, making it more meaningful and heartfelt.
It’s like presenting a warm smile, but through your hands.
6. Signaling Importance
This gesture can also be a way to signal the importance of the other person or the interaction.
By adding an extra layer of touch, you’re essentially saying that this interaction holds significance for you, and that you value the person you’re interacting with.
It might be a way to emphasize that the person is important to you, their presence matters, and the interaction is not just a regular one.
It’s a way of enhancing the quality of communication without uttering a single word.
7. Networking Tool
In a networking scenario, a two-handed handshake can be a tool to stand out and make a lasting impression.
It’s not just a regular handshake, so it grabs attention and leaves a more impactful memory in the minds of the people you interact with.
A two-handed handshake can convey your enthusiasm and interest in the conversation, making you seem more approachable and engaging.
It’s a way of saying that you’re interested and involved in the interaction.
But while it can make you memorable, if done inappropriately, it could also potentially taint your professional image.
8. A Symbol of Congratulation
Be it a sports event, a graduation ceremony, or a promotion party, when you offer a two-handed handshake, you’re communicating your heartfelt happiness for the other person’s achievement.
This gesture adds depth to your congratulatory message, making it feel more sincere and joyful. It’s like clapping in joy, but with a more personal touch.
When is it most appropriate to use the two-hand handshake?
The use of the two-handed handshake should generally be reserved for moments of high emotion or situations where there is a pre-existing close relationship between the parties involved.
For instance, it might be appropriate at a graduation ceremony, a family reunion, or when offering condolences at a funeral.
It’s a gesture that signals a high level of intimacy, trust, or empathy, so it should be used when the situation calls for a more profound connection. Remember, context is key.
In professional settings, using a two-handed handshake should be done sparingly and mindfully.
It’s often seen as too personal or assertive, which could create a negative impression, especially if the other person prefers to keep things formal.
So, in professional or formal situations, it’s typically better to stick to the traditional one-handed handshake unless the two-handed version feels genuinely appropriate and well-received.
How to do a two-hand handshake?
A two-handed handshake, also known as a “double-hander,” is executed by extending your right hand for the standard handshake while placing your left hand either on top of the clasped hands or on the forearm of the other person.
The idea is to sandwich the other person’s hand between yours. It’s important to maintain eye contact and offer a warm, sincere smile when you do this to signal your positive intentions.
Remember to keep the grip firm but comfortable, and don’t hold on for too long. The handshake should feel warm, not overpowering.
Not everyone may feel comfortable with a two-handed handshake, so if you sense any discomfort, it’s best to let go.
Can the two-hand handshake be flirting?
The two-handed handshake can sometimes be perceived as a form of flirting, primarily when it’s used in a casual or social setting between people who may be attracted to each other.
The additional hand contact can suggest a desire for closeness or intimacy.
However, this is highly dependent on the context, the relationship between the people involved, and other non-verbal cues such as eye contact, body language, and facial expressions.
On the flip side, it’s also essential to remember that a two-handed handshake doesn’t always signal romantic or sexual interest. It can be a gesture of friendship, comfort, trust, or dominance.
What is the best type of handshake?
The best type of handshake is usually a firm, one-handed handshake where the hands meet in a web-to-web grip (the web is the part between your thumb and forefinger).
It should be accompanied by eye contact and a sincere smile. This type of handshake conveys confidence, professionalism, and openness, making it suitable for most situations, particularly in professional settings.
However, the “best” handshake can vary based on the situation, cultural norms, and personal preferences.
For example, in more intimate or emotional scenarios, a two-handed handshake might be more appropriate.
Similarly, in some cultures, softer handshakes are the norm.
It is best to adapt your handshake style to the context, always being respectful and considerate of the other person’s comfort.
- All photos from freepik.com