Body language expert explains why we are so creeped out by bad handshakes, people who clear their throat, and staring

Originally published at: Body language expert explains why we are so creeped out by bad handshakes, people who clear their throat, and staring | Boing Boing


Really fascinating topic. I read the transcript (gotta let my wife hear her Foo Fighters) and it’s really interesting all the different things we do to calm and soothe our brains, often unconsciously. But yeah, this advice about standing too close is excellent.


Is’t it obvious why we are creeped out by handshakes, good or bad, this last year?


bad handshakes, people who clear their throat, and staring

Oh shit, that was my ex-boss, and to add insult to the injury, he was a rabid trumper bigot racist nazi.


Body language experts are high on my list of pseudo scientific bullshitters.
Same league as the people who can tell someone’s personality from a few handwritten words. Oh and everything to do with Myers-Briggs.


Fascinating video, but he didn’t address the obvious elephant in the room: Why is Gates wearing half a jacket during his testimony to congress???


I agree body language and handwriting “experts” always show way too much confidence in their diagnoses, but there are invariably some nuggets of truth.

I just wish they’d explain psychologically why a “bad” handshake feels so bad. And why there is agreement on what constitutes a “good” handshake. I had a co-worker would could not give a good handshake. He’d extend his hand and that’s it: there would be no grip pressure at all. I even tried to teach him how to do it. He really didn’t seem to understand the concept, and after 5-6 trials, he didn’t show much improvement. His job was to meet many different people a day, so a firm, confident handshake (or lack) would have certainly impacted his job performance.


Combined with his law enforcement background and their love for “I can just tell he’s guilty” woo, yeah, bullshit.


These body language experts never seem to get around to the one obvious practical application of their field of study. That is, don’t do things that annoy @DreamboatSkanky.


He talks about bad handshakes but then demonstrates one himself.
The hand should come up from below, as the arm is hanging at your side.
If both people bring their hands up from hanging at their side, then the hands naturally come together.

His hand comes down from above and his elbow is lifted and a long way from his body.

There’s a guy on UK TV who does this all the time. It is painful to watch. His elbow is lifted and comes out to the side and his hand comes down like it is diving into water at 45 degrees. How anyone is supposed to properly grip his had for a shake beats me.

(Jay Blades, The Repair Shop, I’m looking at you.)

ETA And he seems ti think there is a word ‘hierarchal’ (it’s hierarchical) and when he talks about throat clearing there are some shots of Theresa May - that was a famous episode when she clearly had a cough, or frog in her throat or a little choke, that went on for a new minutes. It was NOT an example of throat-clearing prefacing something unpleasant having to be said or some discomfort (even if she was very uncomfortable at the time).

It all seems a bit hit and miss. Some of it is fine, some of it is badly illustrated or too simplistically explained or too general.


If best practice is to allow the other person space and see if they take it, it’s no surprise that Trump follows worst practices.


A friend once told me I stare so much, it’s like I’m French.

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.