Complex Made Simple

More like Trump or Macron? What does your handshake reveal?

Handshaking – also known as dexiosis – has been practised for many, many years.

The first known depictions can be found in ancient Greece, as far back as the 5th century BC. The 5th-century BC funerary stele shows two soldiers shaking hands to signify a deal has been made.

On April 26 this year, such a handshake took place when Kim Jung-un took those few historical steps ahead of a major summit with South Korean president Moon Jae-in. Kim and Moon both crossed over into the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which separates the North and South, for a handshake — broadcast live — before their official meeting at the Peace House in the South Korean border village of Panmunjom.

The ceremonial handshake presages a much more monumental announcement that could come out of the summit: a formal peace agreement in the conflict between North and South Korea, decades after combat was halted in 1953 with an armistice.

Related: Sweaty palms? 5 social and business handshakes that can ruin your career

Meaning of Trump’s recent handshake

Recently Trump has been shaking hands left, right and center, but what does the most recent handshake between the US and French leaders reveal about the two presidents?

According to UK’s Daily Mail, people with a firm handshake are better at problem-solving, memory tests and reasoning.

Quoting research led by the University of Manchester, the daily reported that whoever said “healthy body, healthy mind,” was likely right.

People with a stronger hand grip are better at problem-solving, memory tests and reasoning, and have faster reaction times, the study found.

“A database of more than 475,000 people showed those with more muscle strength in their hands appeared to have better brains, reported the UK daily on the research results.

“Previous findings showed that people with a less impressive hand grip also have more degradation of white matter – the cells which act like cables to link up brain regions.”

The latest study found people with a stronger grip could solve more logic problems in two minutes and remember more numbers from a list, as well as reacting more quickly to visual stimuli.

Tweeting on the matter user Jimjv says it was Trump who turned the simple handshake into ‘a macho act’ and added that “Macron showed him two can play this game.”

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thumb print trump macron

But what does that mean?

Most observers are ready to project their own emotions about Mr. Trump’s presidency onto each episode of botched social protocol, but Jacqueline Whitmore, an author and etiquette instructor, and Chris Ulrich, who teaches body language and presentation skills at the Body Language Institute, analyze interactions like these for a living, reported the New York Times.

“President Macron is showing his dominance by putting his hand on top of Trump’s hand. But President Trump instantly counteracts that handshake by patting — very patronizing — Macron’s hand and pulling him inward toward his body,” said Whitmore

“Macron does not let go, and even pats Trump — touch is a power play — and Trump returns the touch. Because of Trump’s approach, which is one of dominance, others prepare so that they are not dominated. When Trump shakes hands, he offers an open palm, sometimes called the beggar’s pose. Then he will pull that person — in this case, Macron — into him, knocking him off balance.” said Ulrich

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Famous handshakes that made history:

1- Obama-Castro, 2013

At a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama made headlines when he shook hands with Cuba’s Raul Castro, two leaders whose relations were marked with long years of conflict and reprisals.

2- Queen Elizabeth-McGuinness, 2012

It was a landmark moment in the Northern Ireland peace process when Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II met Martin McGuinness, a former top commander in the paramilitary Irish Republican Army.

3- Ronald Reagan – Mikhail Gorbachev 1985

A handshake, between President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, signified the first meeting between US and USSR heads of state in six years. The summit ended in the signing of an agreement stipulating that each side would reduce their nuclear arsenals by 50%.

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4- Harry Truman – Joseph Stalin – Winston Churchill, 1945

Soviet Communist Party General Secretary Joseph Stalin, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and U.S. President Harry Truman shook hands in a post-WWII meeting to decide how to proceed in the wake of Nazi Germany’s collapse.

5-Trump Kim Jung-un 2018

The most famous in history yet? We will find out soon enough