What is it with a limp handshake? When someone greets you with a wet fish for a handshake, it’s sometimes hard to shake off the first impression that someone is weak, diffident or not interested in you.

A firm handshake costs you nothing and sets off that first-time greeting or regular hello on an equal footing, no pun intended.

Notice that I’ve titled this post ‘a firm handshake’, not ‘the firm handshake’. I’ve written before about my love for the definite article, but here its sister the indefinite article is better. There is no single firm handshake, unless, I guess, you’re a practising member of a quasi-secret society.

Any kind of firm handshake will do. It doesn’t have to be a bone-crusher. Go into the greeting with something in the mid-rage of grip solidity and adjust according to the grip you’re given.

Incidentally, if you do come across one of those people – male or female – who has to grab you like a vice every time, or you simply have smaller hands, then I find that slightly pointing the index finger takes the knuckles on your hand out of alignment and alleviates the pressure. Then you can eyeball them with your favourite ‘I’m onto you matey’ look.