Dear Blake,

What’s the best way to decline handshakes? In social settings, I often find myself ready to dine, hands washed and sanitized, only for someone to thrust their hand toward me expecting a handshake. The last thing I want before handling my food is to shake anyone’s hand.

In one instance, a man who was hosting the gathering with his wife returned belatedly from a bike ride as we were approaching the dinner table and offered me his sweaty hand. Refusing elicited a dirty look from my partner and an expression of bewilderment on the face of the bicyclist. Please advise.

Signed, Martin
From Frankfurt, Kentucky

*                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *                    *

Dear Martin,

You not wanting to shake hands makes perfectly since during this period in the world. However, if someone wants you to do it anyway, there are somethings you can do that will make them be extremely reluctant to extend a hand in your direction, even if they were drowning and you could pull them out of the water. Here are some ideas. The next time they want to shake hands, as they extend their hand, let them see you tending to a very embarrassing itch. Or, spit into your hands and rub them together, and then aggressively shake their hand until yours is dry. Or this idea. Always have jagged fingernails that makes you feel like you’re trying to slit their wrists. And lastly, this suggestion. Do exercises that increases the power of your grip. They’ll stop asking you to shake hands if consistently crush their knuckles and they lose the use of that hand for days at a time, if not weeks. I hope this helps.