The Queen is thought to have shaken hands with more than 500,000 people

The Queen is thought to have shaken hands with more than 500,000 people

The quintessentially British handshake is in decline with nearly half of Brits choosing an alternative form of greeting, with 16 per cent preferring a continental approach with a kiss and nearly a third a hug rather than shaking hands.

Thought to have been introduced by Sir Walter Raleigh in British Court during the late 16th century, the handshake has survived through the decades until now, as the new study by Radox handwash shows that the British public are rejecting the traditional form of salutation for a more European twist. 

Nearly a quarter felt the firm handshake was an outdated display of machismo, whilst 52 per cent of men admitted to hugging their male friends as a greeting and 15 percent a kiss.

Jane McCartney, Psychologist comments: "Traditionally, we Brits shake hands with our arm stretched out and stood in a stiff upright position, instantly creating a formal atmosphere. Therefore, it's not surprising that some of us just want to appear more friendly and greet each other in a more affectionate manner similar to our friends overseas. Often we start with a handshake but this turns into an uneasy hug and gives of a whole host of mixed messages. A simple hug or kiss on the cheek is becoming the easy, and less awkward option."

However, with the Diamond Jubilee approaching it is predicted that the "Jubilee effect" will take hold and the traditional stiff upper lip style handshake will rise from the ashes, with a fifth of people admitting they are more likely to shake hands throughout the Queen's Jubilee celebrations. 

The British public estimate the Queen has shaken on average over 500,000 hands in her lifetime, compared to men guessing they shake 670 hands in an average a year and women 304 times. 

The research revealed that one in five, admitted that shaking hands felt too formal, whilst 42 per cent said they would only shake hands in a business context, and the same number that they would never shake hands when greeting a friend. Nearly one in ten said they preferred not to shake hands as they are worried about germs being passed on, and with a typical hand having roughly 150 different species of bacteria living on it is clear to see why.

However, the research also shows over a third of Brits agree that at large events such as weddings, parties and family reunions, handshakes are the best form of greeting, with the average man shaking hands over 30 times at such occasions and women 16 times. A huge 87 percent believe a handshake is more appropriate in business than a kiss, and 73 per cent agree they would rather offer a handshake than a kiss when meeting new people.

Marketing Manager at Radox Nick Wilcher comments: "It is interesting to see how the British public are falling out of favour with the handshake. However, shaking hands is a British institution and in this year's summer of celebration with the Queen's Jubilee we are encouraging Brits to get out and resume their handshaking habits by greeting their neighbours, friends and family, in a manner fitting for the Queen. Each Radox Handwash and hand gel has been specially formulated to removes 99.9% of bacteria, and with the extra benefit of added moisturisers and great fragrances, there is no excuse for not shaking hands this Jubilee. "

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