The fourth in a series of snippets about what makes us Brits a bit special.  Here we talk about our favourite way of greeting each other – the handshake:

  1. The handshake

As in other countries, in Britain a firm handshake is the common form of face-to-face greeting for all business situations.  It is also common for social situations too – British males don’t tend to kiss other males to say hello – unless they are either very friendly or gay.

The perfect handshake should last a few seconds, always use your right hand, and shake the hand two or three times before you let it go. Ensure that your fingers grip the side of the other person’s palm, not their fingers, otherwise it will be uncomfortable for them. It is important that the handshake is firm –  be careful not to squeeze too tight, or offer a limp hand. Crucially, check that your palms are not sweaty or clammy before shaking hands – there’s nothing worse than a soggy handshake!

Handshakes are brief, and should preferably be accompanied by direct eye contact. You can enhance the greeting with other forms of touching – hands on the back, double-handed etc. but don’t forget that Britain is still a comparatively non-tactile society so this might not be completely appreciated!