Shaking Hands with the Blind


Message: Are there any guidelines for handshaking etiquette between sighted and blind and/or blind and blind persons?
Location: Texas

This is a great question, thanks for asking.

According to an article by the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind called How do I interview someone who is blind, "If you would like to shake their hand, just say, "I'd like to shake your hand," and they can extend theirs out to you."

I have found this to be accurate when shaking hands with a blind or sighted person. I have said, "How about a handshake" right after being introduced to someone. I have also had a third person say "Mike, he's holding out his hand to you," but this can cause some discomfort for the person standing with their hand out.

Bottom line, if you want to shake the hand of someone who is blind, simply say so. If they want to shake your hand, they will either extend their hand or they may say something to you. Now, what's really fun to watch is when two blind people want to shake hands and they both miss. We call this "the blind handshake" and we usually get a lot of laughs from it.

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