By Alexandria Hoff


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Have you ever been approached with a two-cheek kiss? Well, if you didn’t expect it, it’s totally awkward, made worse if the timing is mismatched.

It’s those kinds of greetings that has made companies think twice about physical contact in the workplace. So where does that leave handshakes?

A survey by TotalJobs found that three out of four people want all physical contact banned at work. The idea is to remove confusion over what kind of touch is appropriate.

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Some companies are now considering whether they should prohibit handshakes.

“I think that’s going a little too far. I’ve never had a problem with it,” one woman said.

“I think it’s a show of mutual respect,” said one man.

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So is a handshake ban realistic?

“We would really have to rewrite all of the etiquette books, because that really is a priority,” etiquette expert Dorlisa Goodrich Young said.

Young says a systematic ban on handshakes doesn’t seem likely, but in order to keep it professional, there are some things you need to know.

“It is a medium grip and we meet the web of the other person, so when we do this, we are really locking the web and we are not doing the fingertips,” Young said.

There are a few other big no-nos when trying to earn respect with the standard U.S. greeting. Anything longer than two shakes is a shake too many.

Awkward is what you don’t want. You also don’t want to position your hand flat on top of a coworker’s during a shake, as that can be seen as a sign of dominance.

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“Especially in business, you want to keep it even,” Young said. “You don’t want to hurt anyone.”

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Trying to out-tough a coworker, not a good idea. Nor is going, as it’s called, “limp-fish.”

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And that’s because a limp handshake equates to a lack of confidence, according to Young.

“When we are in professional environments, we just want to stick with the level playing field,” Young said.

Since it seems handshakes are here to stay, what if you’re not feeling well?

Young said you simply should offer an explanation of not wanting to spread germs before denying the shake.

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And if you don’t want to get sick from someone else, Young advises to be polite, shake their hand and discretely use some hand sanitizer afterwards.

Alexandria Hoff