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Some I've seen that has I've been pretty put off by - sanitizing one's hands after shaking hands. I'm not sure that this is a common place thing to do, but I've encountered it once and apparently our current President practices it.

Let me say that I get not spreading germs. I'm for staying healthy. But before you shake and sanitize, please stop to consider what kind of message you're sending. Whatever good you did with a great handshake, you just nullified and them some by washing up afterwards.

There are appropriate times to wash your hands. After using the facilities and before eating come to mind. Washing after shaking hands with someone falls into the category of the galactic faux pax.

Brian

fchalif's picture

Brian,

Since he\she is the president, and likely your boss, I would let it go. There may be a "medical" reason where exposure to germs, however minuscule, is a risk for him. He\she just has not chosen to share his reason for doing it.

In the case of a Direct or a peer, I would casually ask why they do this. It may reveal something about them. Based on their response, you can elect to provide the relevant feedback.

lazerus's picture

I respectfully disagree with fchalif. It's totally offensive for a boss or anyone else to sanitize their hand(s) after the handshake. Galactic and inexcusable.

bug_girl's picture

There actually [i]are[/i] some circumstances when this might be appropriate--for example:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7758147.stm
Cholera is very dangerous, and while it rarely spreads via contact, it can happen.

Having said that, in a first world situation, yes, it would be seen as quite rude.

adragnes's picture

Sanitising your hands after having shaked hands with someone is a powerful demotivating technique not to be sniffed at:

http://www.despair.com/disconfirmation.html

:lol:

--
Aleksander

ashdenver's picture

I'm somewhat of a germ-o-phobe myself however when it comes to shaking hands, so long as you're not promptly sticking your fingers in your mouth, eyes or ears before you've had a chance to wash up, you're taking it to the extreme and being quite rude. If someone did that to me, I'd tilt my head and say something smart-ass like "I promise I don't have tuberculosis" or "I really did shower this morning." But that's just me and probably not recommended in most settings. Heh.

thaGUma's picture

So sanitising is not the problem - it's sanitising in front of people that causes the problem.

Considering the amount of unwanted bactia on our hands, and given the high level of unwashed hands containing even greater bio-diversity!, handwashing should happen before you do anything that may spread germs. I can fully understand why some people feel inclined to scrub.

Alcohol hand rub is ideal as it can be done discretely.

ashdenver's picture

As the link "adragnes" shared shows, using that alcohol-based hand-wash in front of someone directly after shaking their hand sends the message that contact with the person is vile and to be avoided.

It's pretty offensive and there's no real reason to do it unless one is about to handle food or pick their nose/teeth or rub their eyes - ways to transmit those germs.

I have yet to see someone effectively cleanse their hands in a completely discrete way - without the other person noticing.

fchalif's picture

[quote]Some I've seen that has I've been pretty put off by - sanitizing one's hands after shaking hands. I'm not sure that this is a common place thing to do, but I've encountered it once and apparently our current President practices it. [/quote]

The issue I am discussing is the fact that the that [b]may be[/b] person doing the "sanitizing" is The Boss!!!!!

I understand the comments about that the act described in the quote above is "inappropriate". I happen to agree. It definitely is a faux pas.

But it is the Boss, so be careful how you approach the discussion. I definitely would not go there. There is nothing to gain. Blame it on eccentricity or whatever works for you. There could be worse things that the President does. What if he\she recognizes your work and contributions, do you let the fact that they sanitize their hands after shaking yours as a game ender?
Consider only extending your hand to him or her in the future only if he\she does it first. Now the faux pas is on your foot, but maybe the President feels better?[u][/u]
Or consider asking through the grapevine if:
a) is it true
b) if true, any idea why it may be that the President does this?

bflynn's picture

With respect, there could be something to be gained. If my boss shakes hands with my customer and then insults them by using hand sanatizer immediately, it creates a relathionship problem for my company and by extension, for me. Now my boss is making my job harder and if he's my boss, he wants to know. If he doesn't want to know, then I need to find that out so I can find a new boss.

If you really feel that you must - wait 5 minutes until you can slip away discretely.

Brian

stephenbooth_uk's picture

This reminds me of the film "[url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0144640/]Three To Tango[/url]". Matthew Perry and Oliver Platt are a couple of architects bidding for the contract to restore an iconic building and build facilities on the rest of the site it sits on. The customer is a very sleazy and arrogant executive played by Dylan McDermott. Whenever he shakes hands with anyone his first act afterwards is to spray his hands with a cleanser and wipe them clean.

I think that's pretty much how anyone who cleaned their hand after shaking would come across. Certainly anyone who did that to me would make me think they're arrogant and very rude, unless I had other evidence to the contrary.

I remember, many years ago, reading a book on job seeking and the first paragraph of the chapter on being interviewed said to shake hands with everyone and "resist the temptation to wipe your hand, even surreptitiously in your trouser pocket, after shaking hands."

Stephen

lazerus's picture

I've always thought it was an occupational hazard of management, you shake people's hands, you may get something.

jhack's picture

Folks,

If there's a cholera epidemic, then no one will be offended if you simply decline to shake hands - explaining if need be. The situation in Zimbabwe right now goes far beyond handshake etiquette.

It's outright rude to sanitize after shaking hands. No two ways about it.

It's not wise to correct your boss's behavior.

It's also rude, btw, to mock any public figure. On the MT forums everyone should be treated with respect by our members. We may or may not think Bush has been an effective leader. There is more than enough snark on the internet, so let's make M-T different.

The despair.com video was great. Thanks for the link.

John

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="jhack"]Folks,

If there's a cholera epidemic, then no one will be offended if you simply decline to shake hands - explaining if need be. The situation in Zimbabwe right now goes far beyond handshake etiquette. [/quote]

Hence my comment about evidence to the contrary. If there's an epidemic going on, or even if the person is a doctor on rounds in a hospital, I'm not going to be offended if they don't want to shake hands. I'm going to figure it's as much for my protection as theirs.

I'm also not going to be bothered if they don't shake hands because they're in the middle of their lunch and have crumbs on their fingers, or wipe their hands before and after.

I'm also probably not going to be offended if I know the person has an OCD condition that means they have a compulsion to wipe their hands after shaking. So long as I know.

[quote="jhack"]It's outright rude to sanitize after shaking hands. No two ways about it. [/quote]

Barring the above situations, yes, agree.

Every rule has exceptions, the trick is to recognise them when you see them. Like that prayer/saying says "Give me the knowledge to change what I can, the serenity to accept what I cannot and the wisdom to know the difference", or one of my personal favourite sayings "Rules are for the obedience of fools and the guidance of the wise".

Stephen

TomW's picture

[quote="lazerus"]If you're so afraid of catching something that you HAVE to sanitize your hand immediately after shaking someone else's, you need to get your head checked. Which is nothing new for President Bush :P

Maybe he could be polite, and offer a hand sanitizer to everyone he shakes with...

I've always thought it was an occupational hazard of management, you shake people's hands, you may get something.[/quote]

You might try a little consideration. You don't know what medical conditions the other person may have. They might have a very serious concern about what they could catch.

If you're offended by their behavior (sanitizing your hands), that's really your problem, not theirs. To quote Mark: How you feel is your fault.

bflynn's picture

Tom, I think you're missing an aspect of this, which is why I originally posted it.

If I have a problem with someone sanatizing their hands after shaking and that problem affects my relationship with that person...then we both have a problem. Its not a "hurt feelings" problem, it is a relationship problem.

Regardless of whether someone wants to justify their behavior by saying that someone else just has to accept it, the fact remains that their behavior has an affect on others. Some (many?) people will be highly offended by the implication that their hands are dirty and not to be touched.

Brian

jhack's picture

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"]I'm also probably not going to be offended if I know the person has an OCD condition ...[/quote]

Yes, I agree that a medical condition would change my interpretation of their behavior. I should have qualified my statement.

Tom, we should not (generally) behave in ways that could offend others. So don't whip out the alcohol rub after shaking their hand. How you feel is your fault, yes, so don't sigh and roll your eyes if someone else does it.

But if you sanitize after you shake my hand, I will think of you differently even if I don't get upset.

John