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I may be socially awkward/ignorant here, but is it normal for coworkers, who work with one another every single day, to shake hands to say hi/bye at company events?

To give one instance, a group of coworkers and I went to a gathering and about five minutes later, another group came, and they shook hands saying "hi" (even though we'd JUST MET like 10 minutes before at office).

I didn't offer my hand because I didn't think it was expected until I saw everyone else was doing it, which I found a bit weird. It's not like we shake hands to say hi/bye in the office everyday.

What do you think?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jan Doggen, gnat, Chris E, mxyzplk, Roger Dec 17 '14 at 21:11

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    "Normal" isn't the question. This is culture-specific, and subculture-specific, and context-specific... and your company can have its own culture and subcultures. I'm in one group that's very formal, and another that's very informal; both are "normal". When in Rome, be a roman candle. Unless it actively makes you uncomfortable, in which case say so and hopefully folks will respect that. ("... 'There are nine and sixty ways / of constructing tribal lays, / And every single one of them is right!'") – keshlam Dec 17 '14 at 5:04
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    This question is off-topic unless you add a country. – Alexander Dec 17 '14 at 10:11
  • Alex, that doesn't make it off topic, that makes it too broad. But anyway, it could probably be reworked into how to handle deviation from social norms at office events. – corsiKa Dec 17 '14 at 14:35
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I go with the flow and with the moment. If a co-worker offers to shake hands, why not? There is a warmth in that handshake that doesn't necessarily get duplicated when you shake a stranger's hand.

I have interacted on a business basis with total strangers who were pleased enough with the experience of interacting with me that they offered their hand near the end of the conversation. If you listen to the feelings involved, you won't be surprised at what's happening.

Never turn down someone who offers their hand as a gesture of appreciation either for what you've done or who you are to them.

  • Oh, I"m not saying I turned down a hand shake. It was just I was a bit shocked/unsure as to what to do ... but I hear you. – Jack Dec 17 '14 at 5:01
  • @Jack why were you shocked/unsure? most anytime someone offers you their hand, you shake it. Immediately. doing anything else - including looking stunned - makes them look stupid, which doesn't engender you to them. – bharal Dec 17 '14 at 13:16
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Within some circles, I've seen this a fair bit. If the co-workers have more than a little familiarity with each other, e.g. if they have worked together for a year or more, then it isn't hard to expect hugs or handshakes as a way to noting the camaraderie that a team may have. I've had some bosses that said "Good morning" and "Good night" nearly every single day as his way of making an entrance or exit.

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