I think it’s creepy if someone has a loose, floppy handshake. To me, that type of icky handshake says I’m not worth your full attention or that you are untrustworthy. If you can’t show confidence and respect in your handshake, then I really would prefer not to shake your hand at all. That being said, if you are about to by my waiter at a restaurant, why in the world would you walk up to my table, introduce yourself, and shake my hand? That is strange, even if your handshake is good (it happened to me today). And please understand that no matter how attentive or skilled you are as a waiter, I do not EVER need you to touch my shoulder as you walk up or walk away. That is creepy. We are not friends and sitting in your section of the restaurant has not given you automatic consent to touch me in any way.
In group therapy this week we discussed relationships and one of the exercises involved identifying photos of hands that represented relationships with other people. Interesting exercise and so fascinating to me to hear how different people can see a picture. There were 2 options in part of the exercise, one was two hands in a handshake and the other was an outstretched forearm with another person’s hand reaching to touch the first. It was immediately creepy touch to me and one other person. Another saw it representing more of one person grabbing another person’s wrist, and yet another person saw it as completely comforting, gentle touch.
After an exercise like that in group, it is clear to me that people need to think more about touching other people. What you may think is comforting to someone could be completely uncomfortable, creepy, or even traumatic.
I think touching another person is something that requires consent, period.