I feel bad, literally and figuratively, about shaking hands. I like greetings. I like the joy of meeting people new and old. I like giggling over whether we are in France with two cheek kisses, actually air kisses as you touch cheeks, or Switzerland where three is common. But I am done with shaking hands.
I will bow, namaste, curtsey, look you in the eye, say hello, fist bump, or hug. But I will not let you hurt me. I will not be shaking hands any more. I know you probably don’t intend to hurt me or anyone else. I couldn’t tell you which enthusiastic handshake in the last couple of months caused the injury. In fact, I don’t even know what exactly it is that causes a shooting pain down my index finger, but I do know that it began right after a knuckle crunching handshake below a beaming smile. At first I decided to just grit my teeth and endure subsequent handshakes, such an important part of greetings.
But then I thought no, why should I? Why should I fear every new person I meet? At first I put a brace on my hand which was irrelevant to the injury but gave a visual signal of the problem. But that is inconvenient. So I’ll protect my hand and I hope you think about who you might be inadvertently hurting with your handshake. Just keep your hand flat and firm and touch but don’t squeeze. Don’t forget to make eye contact. Then enjoy your new friend!