Friday, January 12, 2007

The Handshake Turnover

At our thanksgiving conference this past November, Dave Patty and Mel Ellenwood were talking a lot about a body language book that they were reading. They shared all about the different things that you can learn by reading someone's body language and about all these techniques for how to interview well, how to engage with people in conversation and most importantly (for me) how to tell if a chick is digging you!

One of the things that was facinating was the art of the handshake. Apparently, we can tell a lot from the handshake.

The handshake is a way to show dominance. When a man wants to show dominance, he will turn the hand of his handshaking companion so that his hand is on top and the other man's hand is turned palm up. By turning your hand over and placing his shaking hand on top, he claims the dominate position and makes the other man the submissive one.

The author said that it is always best to try to keep the handshake vertical. He suggested that if you get turned over to "fight back" and try to get the handshake back to the verticle position therefore showing equality between the two men and not allowing one to have dominance over the other. He said that in extreme cases you may need to use your left hand to rotate the handshake into the neutral position.

Fast forward to today.

I am in San Diego hanging out with a youth pastor friend of mine and we went to his church to meet with some pastors to talk about doing ministry in Czech. Before the meeting he toured me around the youth offices. I met a few people (verticle handshakes only) and we were having good conversation. Then the Junior High pastor showed up. We were introduced and that's when it happened...

He turned me over!

(Insert Gargamel's music from the Smurf intro song here)

At first I was shocked. This dude is trying to dominate me! No way! A youth pastor? Turning me over?

The handshake was nearing its end. I felt it. We were almost finished. What should I do? Is it too late to turn it back to verticle. CRAP! I can't believe I'm getting dominated right now.

So I did what any logical man would do. I held on longer. I didn't let go...and I turned it back to verticle.

(Cheers ring out from the crowd)

I'm sure he sensed that the handshake went longer than it should have. I'm also certain that he knew that I brought the handshake back to verticle.

Regardless, I was pleased that I didn't let him dominate me and that I was able to save face by holding on and turning him back to verticle.


Anonymous said...

I am glad to here that you are not letting a youthpastor from San Diego dominate you. Way to fight for the vertical handshake, you are an inspiration to us all.

Your faithful student in understanding body languages
Landen Llamas

Anonymous said...


No joke, I got turned over! This past Sunday night at church I saw “him” and we chit chatted and then I told him I was going to bail, so he stuck his hand out to shake it and he flippin’ turned me over. Usually he does the other handshake (you know the one, the one that guys sometimes do, the motions.. you know) but he shook my hand normally and turned me over. I had to tell you…unreal! I hate being turned over and because he caught me off guard I didn’t take him to proper position. That WILL NEVER happen again! Thanks for the lesson!

“The youth pastor in San Diego”

Enriqueta said...


the filter must be on to read this for women..usually when I read your post i can hear your voice...instead all i can hear is grunting and cave man sounds;)even in the the posts.......LOL..

Nate Hughes said...

"Youth Pastor in SD"

I can't believe that you got turned over! He totally caught me off guard too, but I managed to recover at the last minute. Please don't let it happen again.

I bet you never thought you'd wish you did the "other" handshake! :)

APETH said...

Nate! Three things!

1. Thanks for your info on the schools...I'm slowly becoming bias with some more than others...

2. This whole talk of handshake business makes me nervous to handshake other people...At least now I can see who subconciously wants to dominate me and I will prove them wrong by giving them a high five, hug, punch in the arm...or I'll do that vertical thing.

3. just to let you know, when you are back in az, you me and kyle will have to hang ...and I'll probably shake your hand... and I PROMISE I won't "turn you over". ;)

Anonymous said...

I never knew that handshaking was such a big deal, especially to men. It's like a pride thing I guess. Well, I know that now I am going to analyze handshakes more, thanks to your e-mail. You are a great and funny guy Nate! When are you back in AZ? Sarah Maurer