Is It Rude To Shake Hands With Your Left Hand? The Etiquette You Need to Know

Shaking hands is a common custom, but have you ever wondered if there are any rules to follow? It may surprise you that the answer is yes! Learn more about the protocol of shaking hands with your left hand and other etiquette tips.

Is it rude to shake hands with your left hand?

The short answer is yes. In many cultures, it is considered impolite and even offensive to shake hands with your left hand. This stems from centuries of tradition that viewed the right as a “clean” or “pure” side while the left was seen as unclean or impure.

Due to this long-standing belief, shaking hands with one’s left hand has come to be seen by many as disrespectful and improper etiquette. It can also signify a lack of interest in meeting someone or an attempt to distance oneself from them – both of which are surefire ways to make a poor first impression!

So if you’re ever unsure what hand you should use when shaking someone else’s, always opt for the right: it will convey respect for their culture and avoid any potential misunderstandings.

    • Do: Shake hands with your right hand.
    • Don’t: Shake hands with your left hand.

Other Perspectives to Consider

Shaking hands is a common way to greet someone and show respect, but when it comes to using your left hand some people may have different perspectives. To some, it might be seen as being rude while others could see it as an accepted custom.

The Perspective of Respect:

      • In many cultures around the world, shaking with your left hand is viewed as being impolite or disrespectful.
      • It can signify that you are not taking the other person seriously or showing them the level of respect they deserve.

The Perspective of Custom:

      • In certain communities, shaking with your left hand may actually be seen as a sign of respect and acceptance.
      • For example, in Hindu culture, members use their left hands for religious ceremonies because their right hands are considered too sacred for everyday tasks.

At the end of the day, how one views this activity depends on where they come from and what customs they grew up following. Ultimately though its best to stay aware and respectful when greeting someone so you don’t cause any unintended offense.

Possible Alternatives

When faced with a situation where shaking hands would be considered rude, there are many alternatives that still demonstrate respect. Here are some of the most popular options:

      • Bow: This is an ancient tradition used to show honor and respect. Depending on the culture, bowing can be done in different ways from a slight nod of the head to a full bow from the waist.
      • Namaste: Derived from Hinduism, Namaste is when two people place their palms together at heart level and say “namaste” which means “I bow to you” as it signals mutual respect.
      • Wai: In Thailand, it is customary to greet each other by pressing your hands together at chest-level while slightly bowing your head.
      • Hand Heart : By placing one hand over your heart you can demonstrate care and appreciation for someone without touching them physically.

Possible Consequences of This Controversial Action

Shaking hands with your left hand can be a touchy subject. It may offend some people since the right hand is traditionally associated with politeness, respect and greeting. If someone was to take offense to this gesture, they may react in several ways. They could feel insulted or disrespected by the person who used their left hand to shake theirs.

Alternatively, they might become very uncomfortable and shy away from any further interaction with them. Some people may even become angry and confrontational towards the offender if they were particularly offended by it.

As such it’s important for everyone to be mindful of cultural norms when engaging in social interactions like shaking hands as certain gestures are not universally accepted in all cultures or societies.