The offer of the social right hand of fellowship is a tacit recognition of equality. Hand-shaking is said to be an American habit. Certainly the social conditions in a republic are favorable to such a custom. It is a pity that a mode so adapted to express the warmth and loyalty of friendship should be indiscriminately employed in casual greetings. The pressure of the hand should mean more than it can mean, when, as now, it is bestowed with equal alacrity on life-long friend and recent acquaintance.
Fastidious and sensitive people are rather conservative in hand-shaking. Etiquette allows considerable latitude. It is proper and graceful, but not required, for two men to shake hands when introduced. A lady does not usually shake hands with a new acquaintance, unless the circumstances of the introduction make her responsible for showing special cordiality, as when a person is introduced to her in her own house. A host and hostess shake hands with a guest; they may omit to shake hands with the same person when they meet him elsewhere.
Whatever one’s personal impulse, it is polite to defer to the evident preference of another; and to shake hands heartily if a hand is cordially extended, or to refrain from proffering the hand when reserve is evident in the manner of the other person.— By Agnes Morton, 1899
🍽️Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J. Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia
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