What do you do when you get it handed to you and you don’t want it?

Scenario: Interview

You’re finally at the interview. You’ve spent months scrolling Bayt.com. And you’ve made too many uncomfortable follow-up calls (“we’re not hiring until next year”).

You’re finally at that company you’ve been dying to work for. They have bean bags, walls you can write on, no dress code. And it’s going well so far!

“What’s your biggest weakness?” the interviewer asks, still looking at his notepad.

“Oh, that’s a tough one. I’d have to say I spend too much time on work.”

He looks up at you with a raised eyebrow, clicks his pen and puts it away.

“That might sound like humblebrag, but I understand the value of being social. I want to bring not only my own value to this company, but the value of my network. In fact, check my CV, I recently completed a course on networking. I take my weaknesses seriously and will do everything I can to drop them.”

Nailed it.

He stands up and thanks you for coming. You can’t help but side-smile when he says your interview and qualifications are impressive.

At the door, you’re about to part ways when he puts his hand out to you.

You look at it for a second too long before he retracts it, hooking his right hand to his left arm.

“I’m sorry,” you both say at the same time.

“I don’t shake hands,” you add.

His hands are now grasped together behind his back and he’s looking down at the ground. Great. He’s ashamed.

Chances are, if you live in this region, you’ve been in this type of situation. And you might have a greeting protocol that you follow yourself. The problem is when you and the other person are not on the same page.

If you prefer not to shake hands with men, find out how to be smooth in these embarrassing situations.


The Five Most Common Greeters

Being around people with different personalities and backgrounds is a good thing. But it also means you’re more likely to face embarrassing situations when greeting people. Like this:

American Idol

American Idol

You and the people you come across likely follow one of these protocols:

1.    You shake hands with men and women

2.    You don’t shake hands with men

3.    Why stop at a handshake when you can get a hug?

4.    You give kisses on the cheek (Let’s leave the how-many-per-side question for another day.)

5.    You go with the flow


How to Avoid the Handshake Successfully

A sensible person puts their hand to their heart and apologizes – a sensible person. But let’s face it, some people are social butterflies and others are social moths.

So, you’re a number 2 – you don’t shake hands with men. How can you bring down the level of awkward for both yourself and the other person?

It’s simple. The answer is to show respect in other ways.

Before it’s too late, make extra effort to show kindness and gratitude to that person. They most likely feel embarrassed too. It’s like holding your hand up for a high five and getting rejected.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

Some things you can do instead of shaking their hand:

1.    Putting your hand to your heart

This is what sensible people do. Learn it. Practice in the mirror.

2.    Bowing

I don’t mean from the hip as is custom in parts of East Asia. Bow your head, like you’re nodding. But not vigorously. Just relax and give one firm nod.

3.    Extra smiling

Not in a creepy way. A warm smile with eye contact says a lot.



Historically, people used handshakes to show the other person that they had no weapon. The key to successfully avoiding a handshake is to show good intentions in other ways. Be confident and earnest and the other person will not feel let down.