The age-old custom of greeting with a handshake could be on its way out as many of us prefer to meet with a hug or even a kiss, a survey suggests.
Almost 50 per cent are using alternative ways to greet, with 16 per cent preferring a continental-style peck on the cheek and nearly a third opting for a hug.
One in five feel shaking hands is ‘too formal’, while 42 per cent said they would only do it in a business context. A further 42 per cent of those surveyed said they would never shake hands when greeting friends.
One in 12 said they prefer not to do it in case germs are passed on. The typical hand has about 150 different bacteria living on it.
Nearly a quarter claimed that the firm handshake is an outdated display of masculinity.
However, the study of 1,003 participants, commissioned by soap firm Radox, found some 87 per cent still believe it is more appropriate in business, while 73 per cent agree they would rather offer one when meeting someone new.
The research estimated that the Queen has shaken half a million hands, compared with an average of 670 for men and 304 for women.
An expert today said it’s unlikely reserved Brits will ever be able to completely let go of the handshake. Psychologist Dr Jane McCartney said: 'I think the handshake is dependent on age.
'The older you are the more likely you are to prefer the handshake. It’s quite a formal introduction. Keeping the arm stiff and at a distance. It's like saying you’re there, you’re available but only in certain circumstances.’
'Another form of greeting - a kiss or a hug, is a little bit friendlier. There’s been a lot of influence from all media - particularly on the television when you see celebrities greeting each other with a double kiss.’
'But I don’t think we’ve quite got it in Britain yet and I think it’s because we’re more reserved. Often we start with a handshake but this turns into an uneasy hug and gives of a whole host of mixed messages.’
Research also showed that traditional events like the Diamond Jubilee encourages us to be more formal. Findings showed a fifth of us will resort to the quintessentially British handshake during the June bank holiday.en]
[en]The handshake is thought to have been introduced by Sir Walter Raleigh in British Court during the late 16th century.