The Hand Shake or the Hug

I think George was just looking for handshake buddy.

So I was at a social function last week where I spotted an old acquaintance that I hadn’t seen for a couple years. As I was walking across the room to greet them I realized I wasn’t sure what my greeting execution was going to be. Should I give a hug or a handshake?

We were good friends at one time, so I was leaning towards a hug, but then I thought it had been over 10 years, and I haven’t talked to them since college, so maybe a handshake was more appropriate.

But then I started to freak out because I wasn’t sure what mode of greeting I was going to use, and I was walking towards them. My head was screaming “Abort! Abort!”, but they had already seen me coming, so I couldn’t pivot and run out the door.

So I firmly decided I was going for the handshake because it was the safest approach. So I smiled and extended my hand, which they grabbed and pulled me in for…that’s right, a hug.

Unfortunately, because my feet were set for a hand shake, the little pull forward made me lose my balance and I fell right into their head and got a big ol’ mouth full of hair. Because I was trying frantically get the hair out of my mouth, I think I might have bite them on the top of their head.

We very slowly pulled away, as their hand reached to their head to apply pressure to stop, what I can only assume was a tooth induce injury to the skull.

Oh friends, what is the proper protocol for these types of situations? It begs the question, what is appropriate the handshake or the hug?

I would love to know, and I am sure my friends would feel a greater sense of safety around me if I figured this out.


Carrot Jello said…
First of all, since he was and "old acquaintance", you should have raised your glass and sang, "Auld lang syne". Even if you didn't have a glass, you should have scanned the room and found something quickly to raise. A water bottle...a pencil cup...can of soup, what have you.
It's respectful.
Then you should have followed up with a knuckle bump.

That's why.
I would suggest you check your city's park and recreation website for the next available "Social Skills 101" class and sign yourself up.
Maybe bring that woman that hangs out in your office.
Who knows, you might just get a discount for bringing friends.
Carrot Jello said…
I meant to type "Secondly" before I suggested the class.
I'm reading it, and it's bothering me now.
Miss Molly said…
Was this at my concert?

Do tell.

I'm so glad you came! What did you think? I need your expert feedback.

And please stop making me laugh so hard when Pedro is sleeping.
Nathan said…
I always find a nice ficus or end table to stand behind so they have no choice but to keep their distance.

That way I don't have to go all the way to DEFCON 1 whenever there is a dinner party or reunion.
Missy said…
Gender of said "acquaintance" has been purposely left ambiguous. But I always go for the hug.
Carrot Jello said…
I suggest you bring Nathan along to your social skills class too.
-RSM said…
I think biting someone's head is a completely legit greeting after 10 years. So, you were right on with that one. Also acceptable: zurberts.
Jess said…
Oh my goodness, you had me laughing out loud as I read this post.
This is an interesting conundrum (that word is really fun to type)
I would likely use the previously mentioned ficus to observe how they are greeting others and follow suit BUT you have your own set of special circumstances with your height.
I would go for the swoop and swing. That is, swoop them up, so they are at your level to avoid any moist pit awkwardness, and then swing them about playfully.
I suppose that begs the question, how many rotations?
This is complicated and I need a nap.

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