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How Can You Avoid A Handshake Without Being Offensive?

people shaking hands
(flickr.com user Cocoabiscuit)

It’s wintertime.  People get colds.  I have had one since Thursday.  I thought I was doing people a favor over the weekend by refusing to shake hands for fear of getting them sick too.  But you should have seen the looks I got!

I’m lucky that I get to meet a lot of new people thanks to my job.  I’m constantly shaking hands with people I don’t know.  But have you ever turned down a handshake?  People look at you like you have two heads!  Evidently, it’s really disrespectful.  Although, the reason that I was turning them down was to keep them from getting sick.

Some people were cool with it and actually thanked me.  But initially, they were all looking at me like, “what is wrong with this snob?”

So here’s my question to you.  How do you avoid a handshake without offending people?  Do you show them the Kleenex that you’ve been blowing your nose with?  Do you offer the fist bump?  I tried them both over the weekend , by the way.   If you have a better suggestion, I’d LOVE to hear it!

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