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Handshake Refusal

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Bob: Hello, Lex. [puts out his hand for a handshake, but Lex refuses] Oh, c'mon, Lex, this Art of War stuff is for amateurs.
Lex: It's not that. I just don't like you.
Smallville, "Hug"

Bob is introduced to Charlie for the first time. Charlie extends his hand for a handshake, but Bob flatly refuses the offer.

Can be done in a variety of situations for a variety of reasons. Bob may be an Ineffectual Loner or Anti-Hero who is merely displaying his badass demeanor or desire to work alone. Charlie may be some sort of villain or corrupt figure, and Bob is merely expressing his distrust or disrespect towards Charlie by refusing his handshake. Or Bob might be a foreigner from a place where body contact is taboo (or, in sci-fi works, an alien who doesn't get the concept of a handshake). Or Bob is Terrified of Germs. Or, Bob Hates Being Touched. Or Bob's possibly just a Jerkass.

A comedy version of this trope has Bob refusing the handshake for a humorous reason, such as Charlie having just sneezed into his hand.

As an alternative, people who refuse handshakes may instead go for Handshake Substitutes.

Can complement Rejected Apology if the handshake is meant to make amends.

Compare High-Five Left Hanging.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Densetsu: Played for laughs when Ikuno's father, a martial artist hired in a teacher's role to discipline/expel the good-natured but thug-faced Kitano offers a handshake in the men's bathroom (intending to actually start his attack once he has a grip on the student's hand, and choosing the bathroom for being semi-private), but Kitano rejects it because he just used the urinal and it would be gross/inappropriate to shake hands without at least washing their hands and drying it off.
  • Subverted in Code Geass: upon her introduction, Rakshata Chawla radiates a rather arrogant Insufferable Genius aura and, when Zero offers her a handshake, it looks like she will refuse it for a moment. She decides to accept, however, in a symbolic move of acknowledging a fellow genius in the rebel leader. It is later shown that Rakshata is not actually that arrogant or smug, but she certainly acted the part when joining the rebellion.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z:
      • After Vegeta suggests a way to bring Goku Back from the Dead after his supposed death, following his fight against Freeza, Gohan thanks him and offers him a handshake. Vegeta slaps the little boy's hand away, since he only wants Goku back to see the legendary Super Saiyan.
      • During the Cell Games, Goku greets Android 16 and offers a handshake, but 16 refuses and reminds Goku that he was created to kill him.
    • Dragon Ball Super:
      • After the intense fight between Goku and Toppo is interrupted, Goku tries to offer a handshake only for the latter to refuse as he sees Goku as an evil being and he will not shake hands with evil.
      • When Goku offered Caulifla a handshake, she slapped his hand away and sternly said she's here to compete in the tournament and prove she's the strongest, not to make friends.
    • In the prologue of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, King Vegeta extends his hand towards King Cold, but Cold ignores it, apparently considering it beneath him.
  • In Fate/stay night [Unlimited Blade Works], Shirou, Rin, and Lancer agree to team up. Lancer offers his hand to Shirou, who ignores it and keeps talking (or didn't notice the hand because he was looking at Lancer's face). After a few seconds, Lancer pulls his hand back.
  • Both Utsutsu and Joe refuse to shake Hajime's hand when they first meet her, as a newly joining member of the Gatchaman team, in Gatchaman Crowds. In both cases, however, Hajime takes the refusal in stride by either hugging Utsutsu anyway or by happily shaking her own hand.
  • Ginga Teikoku Kouboushi: Volume 1: Foundation: When the ambassador from Anacreon arrives, instead of trading weapons with Anselm haut Rodric, Mayor Hardin tries to shake his hand. Haut Rodric, however, strolls right past him.
  • In Girls und Panzer, when Anzu Kadotani offers to shake hands with Katyusha, Oarai's opponent in the semifinals of the tankery tournament, Katyusha then asks Nonna to lift her up on her shoulders, and gloats about how everyone is beneath her. After Oarai wins, though, Katyusha has Nonna lower her to the ground and shakes hands with Miho, the commander who defeated her, acknowledging her as a Worthy Opponent.
  • Gundam:
    • Inverted in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: When future rivals Heero and Zechs meet face-to-face for the first time, Zechs offers his hand. After a pause, Heero accepts the gesture while remarking that he's never shaken hands with anybody before. This could be because Zechs has shown himself to be very honest and honorable, especially for a member of OZ.
    • Subverted in Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny, where at the very end Shinn is introduced to Kira, whom he has spent a fair amount of the plot trying very hard to kill. Kira offers his hand, but Shinn is reluctant to accept, prompting Kira to say "I guess not, huh?" But Shinn eventually does take the hand, while crying over the fact that he's being forgiven so easily for what he's done.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, this trope is used to demonstrate Kudelia's Character Development from a sheltered rich girl to a wise and experienced young woman. When she first meets Mikazuki she asks to shake his hand, since that's how "the common folk" say hello; he declines and she gets offended until he shows that his palm is covered with grease. Later in the series, after they've been through many hardships together, she asks him again; once again his hand is dirty, but she says that she doesn't mind and they shake.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood: when Jonathan meets Will Zeppeli's mentor Tonpetty, he offers to shake the latter's hand, but Tonpetty refuses, explaining that in his country, Tibet, they bow, rather than shake hands.
  • My Hero Academia: When Midoriya meets Kota, he happily greets the boy and offers a handshake. Instead of taking his hand, Kota punches him in the groin and walks away ranting that he hates heroes.
  • Naruto: Tobi/Obito pulls this twice.
  • In One-Punch Man, when Saitama meets S-Rank hero Atomic Samurai, he offers his hand. However, Samurai refuses, saying that he'll acknowledge Saitama as an equal after he's proven himself. That, and he seems a little put off at Saitama calling him "old guy" despite him being in his 30s.
  • Pokémon:
    • Ash's first Indigo League opponent refuses to shake Ash's hand in a manner that establishes him as a Smug Snake. Ash responds with a Curb-Stomp Battle.
      "My hands are for Pokéballs, not people."
    • When Ash and Paul are forced to team up during a tag-battle tournament, Pikachu makes an attempt at détente by offering to shake hands with Paul's Elekid. In response, Elekid moves to reciprocate — and then sucker-punches Pikachu.
  • So, I Can't Play H!: Meshiyori Muneo refuses to shake Lisara's hand, saying Lisara has small boobs and she only respects girls with big boobs. This of course pisses Lisara off.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Yusuke is fighting Sensui, who has multiple personalities. When his original personality takes over, he gives Yusuke a friendly greeting and offers a handshake. Yusuke asks if he is out of his mind and tries to attack him, only for Sensui to beat him into the ground, then shake his hand while he's lying stunned.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman likes doing this. A lot. Even as Bruce Wayne.
  • Irredeemable: Qubit does this on his first meeting with the Plutonian, but apologizes and explains that he gets a "burning feeling" from human contact.
  • Superman:
    • In All-Star Superman, Kal-El offers a handshake to the Kryptonians Bar-El and Lilo, who ignore it and start lecturing him on falling in with the primitive humans instead of taking over.
    • Death & the Family: After being rescued from the Insect Queen's lair, Supergirl is introduced to Dr. Light. The latter extends her hand for a handshake, but Supergirl is still too confused by her situation, so she declines the handshake and asks to what is happening.
    • World of Krypton: When Zod tries to talk Jor-El into using the army to reinforce the latter's plan to save Krypton, he offers his hand. However, Jor-El states he cannot condone the use of violence and turns around.
  • Tintin:
    • Reclusive millionaire Lazlo Carreidas refuses to shake hands with the Captain, claiming it's unhygienic.
    • Also Professor Calculus to a soldier of a repressive dictatorship. "I refuse to shake the hand that grinds underfoot the imprescriptible rights of the individual!"

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert: Dogbert's Rules of Etiquette has a page on how to handle handshakes. Dilbert denying a handshake because he just sneezed is labeled "polite"; another character snarking after shaking with a sneezed hand is "rude"; Dogbert lying and saying it's wet because he just washed it is labeled "playful".

    Fan Works 
  • Fates Collide:
    • Glynda Goodwitch refuses to shake Nikola Tesla's hand because she dislikes his arrogant attitude.
    • In the sequel Lost to Dust, Scathach refuses to shake Qrow's hand. At first, he assumes she's being rude, but he looks down and sees that his hand is sweaty, cursing his luck.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Toy Story 3, Woody refused to shake hands with Buzz as he was leaving Sunnyside.
  • Jim Hawkins does this to Long John Silver in Treasure Planet. At first, it's because he's a cyborg and happens to be offering a collection of knives instead of his hand in hand mode. Then it's just a sign of distrust.
  • In Trolls, Cloud Guy offers to guide Poppy and Branch to Bergentown, if Branch gives him a high-five first. The pessimistic, untrusting Branch refuses, and after some negotiation, he agrees to a fist bump. But then Cloud Guy keeps switching to bizarre greetings to annoy him until Branch snaps and chases after him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective: When Ace feigns admitting that he was wrong about Roger's death to Einhorn, and offers his hand to her. Subverted since they both dodge the handshake, and Ace is able to prove he was right all along moments later.
  • In The Air Up There, a warthog charges Jimmy while he's going to the bathroom in the bushes. Saleh shoots it with a spear. Jimmy holds out his hand in gratitude, but Saleh doesn't take it because he just used the hand to wipe his butt with leaves.
  • The Assignment (1997). When CIA agent Jack Shaw goes to accept the extended hand of Carlos the Jackal, his superior in the CIA abruptly puts a stop to it, as he doesn't want Jack appearing in the newspapers shaking the hand of an infamous terrorist. What he didn't realize was that Jack had been about to shoot Carlos with a gun hidden up his sleeve.
  • In Avatar, Jake offers his hand to Grace who rudely rebuffs him. Later, he offers his hand to Neytiri's father, but her people are unfamiliar with the gesture and the guards point their weapons at Jake in response.
  • Back to School. Snooty professor Dr. Barbay looks down at Thornton Melon's outstretched hand for a moment, then turns to chew out the Dean for allowing Melon to enroll at the college. Thorn spends the rest of the movie finding new ways to both deliberately and unintentionally break the professor's balls. Earlier in the film, a snooty guest at his wife's party declines a handshake from Thorn, but mainly because he'd made a show of removing a mouthful of food with that hand before greeting her.
  • Bicentennial Man: The first indication that NorthAm CEO sees Andrew as Just a Machine is that he refuses to shake Andrew's hand when offered. This contrasts with Andrew's meeting with Bill Feingold later on, who offers his hand to Andrew before Andrew can even offer his own.
  • In Blue Streak, Martin Lawrence's character, while posing as a cop, is introduced to a high ranking police officer who extends his hand to shake. He had previously spied the man applying lotion to his private parts, so instead hugs him.
  • Casablanca: When Renault meets Strausser at the airport, an Italian officer is snubbed as part of the Passive-Aggressive Kombat.
  • Deliverance: Visiting an area of rural Georgia with hostile locals, Drew appears to be Duet Bonding with a local boy with a performance of Dueling Banjos, but when he goes for a handshake, the boy stonily looks away. It foreshadows just how much more hostile the locals are going to get.
  • Django Unchained. Just when everything seems to be wrapped up, bloodlessly if not ideally, Schultz's inability to bring himself to shake Candie's hand ruins everything. Candie claims their signed contract will be effectively null and void without one, but more likely he just wants to antagonize him. Schultz shoots him instead.
  • Duck Soup: Rufus T. Firefly imagines Ambassador Tretino won't shake his hand and builds up resentment towards him so much that as soon as Tretino enters, Firefly Glove Slaps him for the refusal which hadn't actually happened.
    Firefly: I'd be unworthy of the high trust that's been placed in me if I didn't do everything in my power to keep our beloved Freedonia in peace with the world. I'd be only too happy to meet with Ambassador Trentino, and offer him on behalf of my country the right hand of good fellowship. And I feel sure he will accept this gesture in the spirit of which it is offered. But suppose he doesn't. A fine thing that'll be. I hold out my hand and he refuses to accept. That'll add a lot to my prestige, won't it? Me, the head of a country, snubbed by a foreign ambassador. Who does he think he is, that he can come here, and make a sap of me in front of all my people? Think of it - I hold out my hand and that hyena refuses to accept. Why, the cheap four-flushing swine, he'll never get away with it I tell you, he'll never get away with it.
    [Trentino enters]
    Firefly: So, you refuse to shake hands with me, eh? [Firefly slaps Trentino with his glove]
  • In the 1998 film Godzilla, Matthew Broderick refuses to shake a nerdy scientist's hand after he just sneezed into it. And it happens again in the first episode of Godzilla: The Series.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): When they first meet, Dr. Sam Coleman offers a handshake to Mark Russell. Mark ignores him, so Sam puts his hand down.
  • Happy-Go-Lucky: Poppy's uptight driving instructor Scott does not shake Poppy's hand when she offers it with her huge smile; he briskly turns away and heads towards the car, leaving her cheerfully saying that she washed her hands for the occasion. He also refuses to shake Tim's hand; Poppy cheerfully quips "you can't win 'em all".
  • Here Comes the Boom: When Scott Voss has his UFC debut against The Executioner, the latter refuses the opening fist bump. When the final round begins though, the Executioner respectfully extends his hand for a bumb before beginning the fight.
  • In Howard Stern's Private Parts, his new employer - Moti, refuses to shake Howard's hand.
  • James Bond
    • In The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond is told before meeting Stromberg that he won't shake hands. Bond holds out his hand to Stromberg anyway and is predictably rebuffed. The reason is that Stromberg has webbed fingers.
    • In No Time to Die, Bond runs into his estranged girlfriend Madeleine Swann, whom he hadn't seen in five years, and offers a handshake, but she doesn't take it. He is saddened but takes it in stride. The real reason why she didn't take it was because she had been infected with killer nanobots that spread by touch.
  • Jimmie (2008): When Kathy introduces Jan to Jimmie, Jan holds his hand out, but Jimmie keeps holding his right arm against his chest.
  • Liar Liar: Averted at first, and then played straight. When Mr. Allan offers to make Fletcher partner at his law firm, a stunned Fletcher shakes his hand for a second but then has a Heel Realization and jerks his hand back.
  • Max Manus. After the war is over, Max Manus finally meets face-to-face with the Gestapo officer who's been hunting him the entire movie. At first, Max refuses to shake his hand, but when it's offered again at the end of their conversation, Max removes the cigarette from his hand to accept his handshake.
  • In the third installment of The Mighty Ducks, Dwayne offers to shake hands when meeting the varsity team—and gets a handful of chewing gum instead.
  • In the film Mr. Brooks, Kevin Costner's character does this to Dane Cook's character.
  • In Now You See Me, when Merritt meets Daniel and Henley for the first time. Daniel offers his hand to Merritt, who starts to accept then suddenly flips him a middle finger instead.
  • At the end of the OOO, Den-O, All Riders: Let's Go Kamen Riders, Eiji/OOO and Kotaro/New Den-O shake hands. Momotaros offers Ankh a handshake...denied.
  • Pacific Rim: Uprising: In Liwen Shao's introduction, she is offered a handshake, but just stands there scowling, as Newt explains she is not into shaking hands.
  • Papillon (1973). Papillon takes shelter in a leper colony after his escape and is invited to share a cigar by their leader. Despite his fear of catching the disease, Papillon does so. There's a moment of silence from the leader (who clearly expected him to refuse) before he asks how Papillon knew he had dry leprosy, which isn't contagious. When Papillon replies that he didn't know, it breaks the ice between the two men. However the following day when Papillon is about to depart he holds out his hand, but the leader shies away from his touch.
  • Polly of the Circus: When Rev. Hartley introduces his girlfriend Polly the trapeze artist to his uncle Bishop Northcott, the bishop refuses her outstretched hand. This is confirmation that the snooty bishop will be a jerkass about his nephew marrying a circus performer.
  • In Resident Evil: Afterlife, when the Los Angeles survivors meet Alice and Claire, Luther greets them and offers the two handshakes. Claire scowls and walks past him, though Alice accepts.
  • The Revengers: When Benedict encounters his old friend Whit, who is now a Deputy U.S. Marshal, Whit is disgusted by what Benedict has become. When Benedict goes to shake Whit's hand, Whit refuses and rides off, saying that he doesn't shake hands with strangers. This rebuke triggers Benedict's Heel Realization.
  • Rocky III: Apollo Creed offers Clubber Lang a handshake, only for Lang to slap his hand away and angrily yell at Creed to get out of his face and that Creed is nothing but a has-been.
  • In Sense and Sensibility, Marianne tries to shake hands with Willoughby when she sees him at a London party, after his abrupt departure from the country and several weeks of total silence in spite of their enthusiastic romance. He stands there in shock, bows awkwardly, and hurries off to join his party—that of his new fiancee, Miss Grey. Marianne is left shocked and horrified on the dance floor.note 
  • Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows refuses to shake hands with Dr Watson the first time they meet, possibly because he's a Neat Freak and has issues with personal hygiene. Fully used to his brother's eccentricities, Watson isn't insulted.
  • In Tombstone, Doc Holliday refuses to shake the hand of the corrupt fop of a sheriff who is in league with the cowboy gangs. Though this is because he's a Lawman, and has nothing to do with his corrupt foppery.
  • When Father Was Away on Business: In 1950 communist Yugoslavia, Zijo, a State Sec apparatchik, has his brother-in-law Mesa chucked into a work camp. When Mesa's wife Sena is leaving town to go to the work camp to be with him, she pointedly refuses to take Zijo's outstretched hand.
  • Subverted at the end of Wildcats (1986). After coach Goldie Hawn's high school football team wins the city championship, the opposing coach — enraged at losing to a woman — refuses to shake her hand. But one of her players will have none of it; he picks him up, holds him kicking and screaming over his head, and forces him to shake.
  • In The Wizard of Speed and Time, Mike refuses to shake hands with people in the movie, to the point that in one scene he implies that it's people who insist on shaking hands as a sign of respect and trust who are the neurotic ones, not him. This is also a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as Mike Jittlov, who's essentially playing himself in the film, doesn't like to shake hands in real life.
  • In X-Men, when they first meet, Cyclops offers Logan a handshake and Logan leaves him hanging.
  • In Zig Zag (2002), Hawke extends his hand to ZigZag, who ignores it.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: The Professor Aronnax gets this treatment with Captain Nemo. Nemo doesn't distrust Wide-Eyed Idealist Aronnax, it's just one of the first of many signs to show how far Nemo has been Maddened Into Misanthropy:
    I thought the commander would offer me his hand, to seal our agreement. He did nothing of the sort. I regretted that.
  • Animorphs: At the end of the episode where Tom and Jake are taken to the country for their grandfather's funeral longer than the Yeerk can survive, the Animorphs save the day by breaking Tom's leg so he gets sent back into town. Marco, who came up with the idea, offers his hand to Jake as a sign of all being forgiven (Jake had been dealing with the possibility that his brother might be finally freed), but Jake just lets it sit there.
  • The Boy Who Drew Monsters:
    • A police officer tries to shake Jack Peter's hand, but he stays a safe distance away.
    • When Miss Tiramaku visits the Keenans, Tim tries to shake her hand, but she bows slightly instead, confusing him.
  • The Caves of Steel. During an interrogation, R. Daneel Olivaw extends his hand to a suspected member of an anti-robot conspiracy. The man refuses to shake his hand, indicating that he knows Daneel is actually a robot even though Daneel appears identical to a human.
  • The Dresden Files: In Death Masks, Martin does this to Harry in his first appearance.
    Martin: I don't shake hands.
  • The Eagle Tree: When a woman extends her hand to March in the forest, he doesn't take it because he dislikes the feeling, and his mother isn't around to make him do things.
  • The Easy Part of Impossible: When Cotton and Benny meet, Benny extends his hand and says, "Nice to meet you, Cotton." Cotton, who knows about Benny's abuse of Ria, scowls, tucks his hand behind his back, and says, "We've met before." (Benny caught Cotton and Ria breaking into the dry gym.)
  • The Evolution of Emily: When Miles visits Emily's house, he tries to shake hands with her autistic sister Olivia, who Hates Being Touched. She shoves both her hands in her pockets and backs away. Miles says, "Good call, Olivia. I definitely have cooties. Boys are gross. Emily, I advise you to take a lesson from your sister here and steer clear."
  • Fate/strange fake: Saber tells his new Master Ayaka Sajyou that they are partners now and he will protect her. He offers a handshake to seal their deal, but she slaps his hand away because she does not want to be involved in the Holy Grail War.
  • In the Fractured Stars novella Junkyard, McCall and the man who hired her work out a deal for her payment. Once they reach an agreement, he sticks out his hand, but McCall only nods firmly, hoping that'll be enough, since she Hates Being Touched.
  • The Goldfish Boy: When Mr. Charles and one-year-old Teddy first meet, Mr. Charles extends his hand and says, "Pleased to meet you, Teddy. I'm your granddad." Teddy just stares at the hand until Mr. Charles gives up.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry refuses Malfoy's handshake when they first meet on the Hogwarts Express, rejecting him in favor of his future best friend Ron.
  • In The Light Jar, Kitty extends her hand when she introduces herself to Nate. Nate has never shaken hands with another kid, so instead he folds his arms and nods.
  • Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World: For most of her life, Karen refuses to shake hands because she Hates Being Touched. When she does shake a man's hand, she immediately runs into the bathroom to vomit. Eventually she discovers that if she counts a person's finger bones with her thumb, she can tolerate a handshake for several seconds.
  • Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures: In Another Fine Myth, Aahz offers to take protagonist Skeeve on as his apprentice, since Skeeve's teacher has just been murdered. Pleased, Skeeve offers his hand to seal the deal... and Aahz refuses because he doesn't shake hands with apprentices. Skeeve wonders if he should have thought this arrangement through a little more.
    • Much later, while searching for a missing Aahz in his home dimension, Skeeve flinches at shaking hands with an apprentice. When he explains where he picked up the habit, Aahz's old magic teacher remembers him ("It was one of his less objectionable traits") and is able to help Skeeve look for him.
    • And then, when Aahz finally takes him on as a full partner, he willingly shakes Skeeve's hand to acknowledge Skeeve as an equal. Skeeve, specifically remembering the earlier refusal, is touched by the display of newfound respect.
  • In Rogue, Mr. Elliott reaches his hand out to Kiara, but she keeps her hands at her sides because something about his hands makes her not want to touch them.
  • The Roosevelt: In Carry the Ocean, David's aide Jimmy extends his hand to Stuart, one of the autistic residents of The Roosevelt. Stuart Hates Being Touched, so he hums and turns to face the wall.
  • The Secret Life of Kitty Granger: Faith, the Orchestra's inventor, reaches out to shake Kitty's hand. Kitty, who Hates Being Touched, is caught off guard and can't bring herself to move before Faith can retract her hand.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "A Scandal in Bohemia", Holmes disregards the King of Bohemia's offered hand, deeming the latter's conduct in the case to have been dishonorable.
  • Snuff: One of the magistrates is mentioned as hearing about a man's dishonorable conduct with a girl. Knowing that in this day and age it would take quite a lot for a girl to consider herself dishonored, he makes further inquiries... and after he finds out (hinted to be child molesting), he makes sure never to shake the bastard's hand again.
  • In The Speed of Sound, Detective McHenry extends his hand towards Eddie, who stares awkwardly at it. Skylar explains, "Eddie doesn't shake hands. He's not comfortable with most forms of physical contact."
  • Referenced in Spinning Silver. Miryem doesn't offer a handshake to Wanda, assuming that Wanda (like the rest of the townspeople) would either refuse to shake hands with a Jew or be insincere about it. Wanda, who is now indentured as Miryem's servant due to her father's debt, doesn't consider that Miryem might even do so since (in Wanda's view) Miryem is very far above her. Later, Miryem and Wanda work out a way to keep Wanda employed long enough that she'll have the cash to escape her abusive father. Miryem puts her hand out without thinking, and Wanda is moved enough by this sign of respect that she thinks about it much later when trying to save Miryem from a terrifying fae king.
  • Star Wars Legends: In the X-Wing Series novel Iron Fist, Wraith agent Shalla Nelprin is introduced in disguise to Captain Netbers, the villain's hand-to-hand expert (who she has been told is going to "evaluate her skills"). Rather than shake his hand, she instantly attacks him — because she could see from his stance that he intended to use the handshake to grab and throw her. (He admits later that she was absolutely correct.)
  • In Settling Accounts: In at the Death, the last book of the Timeline-191 series, Irving Morrell refuses to shake the hand of the surrendering CSA president. He has explicit orders not to shake the man's hand.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24:
    • On Day 5, Jack Bauer reacts this way to his daughter's new boyfriend.
    • On Day 6, Bill Buchanan does this to Hamri Al-Assad. Assad is a new ally for America, but he's also a former terrorist who led a decades-long campaign against the U.S. so it's no surprise Buchanan, a counter-terrorist agent, doesn't exactly like or respect him.
    • Also on Day 6, Aaron Pierce refuses to shake hands with disgraced ex-President Charles Logan. Considering Logan had Pierce tortured and was going to have a corrupt Secret Service agent kill him, it's no wonder.
  • On Angel, Cordelia introduces herself to the friendly but corrupt lawyer Eve. When Eve begins to introduce herself in turn, Cordelia interrupts her, saying, "I didn't ask."
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Passing Through Gethsemane", Sheridan hesitates to shake the hand of a recent murderer who had since been "mindwiped" (had his personality and memories removed and replaced as punishment for the capital crime) and joined Brother Theo's monastic order, until Brother Theo reminds him of the value of forgiveness.
  • Barney Miller: In "The Radical" Wojo arrests a shoplifter who turns out to be a Vietnam-era radical, which Wojo as a Shell-Shocked Veteran has issues with. But the squad, Wojo included, is even more annoyed by the man's old friend, a fellow protester turned yuppie, who tries shilling an insurance policy on Harris.
    Moraz (extending hand): I'm sorry, I didn't get your name.
    Harris: I didn't give it. (coolly walks away)
  • Baywatch, a returning lifeguard refuses Mitch's handshake. However, subverted as he didn't notice the gesture due to having an eye disease destroying his peripheral vision.
  • In the Broad City episode "Twaining Day," Abbi reaches out her hand to Shania Twain, who is too absorbed in her phone to notice.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Mayor is portrayed as a neat-freak and refuses to shake anyone's hand.
    • When Giles is replaced as Watcher by Wesley, Buffy refuses to shake his hand and pointedly sits down next to Giles.
  • This was done in an episode of Coach set in a sperm bank. Hayden Fox ran into one of his fans coming out of one of the private rooms, who promptly recognized him and held out his hand for a shake.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Love & Monsters": Victor Kennedy, allegedly because of his "eczeema"; it turns out he's an "absorbaloff" (or at least, likes the title) and bodily absorbs anyone he touches.
    • "Army of Ghosts": The Doctor, distracted by the presence of the Void Ship, fails to shake hands with Rajesh Singh when offered.
    • "The Fires of Pompeii": Lucius Petrus Dextrus refuses to shake hands with anyone, because, as anyone who knows Latin might have already figured from his name, his right arm is made of stone.
    • "Kerblam!": Undercover at the titular Mega-Corp as a janitor, Graham offers to shake hands with the other janitor, Charlie, on meeting him, but settles for a wave when Charlie informs him he's just finished in the gents'.
    • "Resolution": When Ryan's estranged father Aaron meets the Doctor, he goes in for a handshake but withdraws it when she calls him out for missing his mother's funeral.
  • In the original Ellen DeGeneres sitcom Ellen, one episode involved the filming of a talk show, which ended with the host shaking hands with the guests — once the cameras and music stopped, so did he.
  • The Escape Artist: Will refuses to shake Foyle's hand when he gets him released. This inspires Foyle to stalk and eventually murder Will's wife, Kate. Later on, Maggie does shake his hand, but it doesn't help her with him.
  • In an episode of Frasier, the artist Frasier invites over always wears a smock so she doesn't have to shake hands.
  • House is not fond of physical contact and often will refuse handshakes, regardless of who they're from.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • Barney offers a fist bump for a lewd joke, but Ted and Marshall refuse. Barney then vows not to lower his hand until the fist bump is reciprocated, a vow that he soon regrets as his arm starts to tire.
    • Also happens when Barney announces his 200th sexual conquest.
      Barney: I request the highest of fives.
      Ted: Not even if I was wearing a hazmat suit.
  • In the iCarly episode "iDon't Want To Fight", Sam trades a shirt Carly made for her in honor of their friendship anniversary for tickets to a concert she wants to see. She holds her hand out for a fist-bump, but Carly coldly rejects it.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has one in season 3, episode 15 "Execution": Det. Stabler and Doctor Huang want to interrogate a sentenced murderer. As they visit him in prison, Stabler amicably shakes his hand for greeting; the killer turns to Huang, seemingly expecting the same, and Doctor Huang presents him with his finest bitch-face (though it's not entirely clear whether he refuses to shake his hand out of personal distaste or because it's part of his interrogation method to make himself as unlikable to the killer as possible while Stabler does the Nice Cop).
  • Loki: In "Glorious Purpose", when Mobius introduces himself to Loki in the elevator and extends his hand Loki just looks at it until Mobius withdraws his hand again.
  • Mad Men:
    • Don does this to Pete Campbell in the pilot; it's fairly awesome.
    • Pete gets the same treatment from Joan after years of their working together. Rather justified by the fact that he's just suggested that she sleep with a Jaguar distributor to help land the account.
  • There was an episode of M*A*S*H whose B-plot involved Winchester's dental woes coupled with his fear of dentists. At the end of the episode, Winchester is about to shake the hand of the man who Hawkeye and BJ brought on to handle the episode's A-plot only for them to reveal he's a dentist; Winchester immediately retracts his hand. To be fair, this was more due to his fear of dentists than any attempt at being insulting.
  • Monk is a germophobe and refuses to shake hands with just about anyone. If he's forced to, he will immediately turn to his assistant for a wipe.
    • In one episode he voluntarily shakes hands as a sign of friendship with an ex-colleague of his, who was accused (even by Monk) of being in the drug-business (which he wasn't, which was proven of course).
    • In another episode he shakes hands with a succession of people; after the last one, he immediately turns to his assistant for a wipe. The problem being, the last handshakee is black, leading to much accusations of racism.
  • NCIS:
    • Agent Nikki Jardine was temporarily assigned to Gibbs' team but didn't shake hands with anyone. As with Monk (mentioned above), she's a germophobe.
    • In another episode, a superhero wannabe helps take down one of the bad guys. Gibbs goes to shake his hand — and the guy instead performs a martial arts-style bow, which Gibbs returns.
    • Gibbs himself refuses a handshake from the attorney of his second ex-wife... who is also her fiancé... who is also the man that she cheated on Gibbs with.
  • Quiller. In "The Price of Violence", the Israeli Rogue Agent who tried to kill Quiller forgoes his grudge after Quiller puts him on a plane out of the country instead of handing him over to the authorities (who were planning to hand him over to an Arab faction in exchange for oil concessions).
    Colonel Zadok: We are all square, you and I. (Quiller offers his hand) No. Good people have died because of you.
    Quiller: And none because of you?
  • In a Seinfeld episode, Elaine's boss has a cold. Having left his handkerchief in Elaine's office, he sneezes into his hand and is unable to shake the hand of a Japanese businessman when he sneezes, explaining that he can't because of the germs. The Japanese men assume he is implying that they might be diseased and cancel their business dealings.
  • Played for Laughs in the pilot of Something Is Out There. Ta'Ra is a Human Alien from a species that makes love by touching their palms. She's ends up making love this way to Jack Breslin, the human cop she teams up with. Later on Jack tries to shake hands with her and she says, "Is that all you ever think about?"
  • On Sports Night, Christian Patrick, the football player who roughs Natalie up mistakes Jeremy for a fan and offers to shake his hand. Jeremy not only refuses it but calmly threatens to have him killed.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, Todd the Wraith offers a handshake... with the feeding hand his people use to drain the lifeforce from humans. Every Marine draws a gun on him. Todd thinks it is funny as hell.
    Todd: Just a little Wraith humor.
  • Sub-commander T'pol does this to Trip Tucker in the pilot episode of Star Trek: Enterprise. Justified in that T'pol is a Vulcan, Vulcans being touch telepathic aliens who don't like touching members of their own species, let alone emotional humans. It pretty obviously doubled as a snub, however.
  • Another sci-fi version is in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Odo encounters a fellow shapeshifter and they form a Mind Meld by taking the other's hand and melding their bodies together. The shapeshifter wants them to go off and explore the galaxy together, but Odo refuses to abandon his 'solid' friends. When Odo offers his hand to link one last time, the other shapeshifter pointedly refuses.
  • On The West Wing President Bartlet refused to shake the hand of a foreign minister that he recently learned was a terrorist (and who he was planning to have assassinated). He told the translator to say he had a rash to keep the minister from suspecting anything wrong.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon on at least one occasion said "I don't shake hands with lawyers" on WWE.
  • In Ring of Honor's early days, the Code of Honor included handshakes before and after the match, and some major feuds started with one wrestler refusing to shake another's hand.
  • Referenced in CM Punk's Wrestlerave promo about Raven: "I'd shake your hand like a normal man, but the truth is I don't respect you!"
  • Claudio Castagnoli and Delirious had a lot of fun not shaking Jason Strife's hand during their Tag Team match on the under card of IWA Mid-South Volcano Girls 2.
  • One time in 2004, Triple H offered Eddie Guerrero a pre-match handshake. Eddie pulled his hand away at the last second, then mocked him by turning around and slapping his own ass.
  • Naruki Doi and Masato Yoshino continually refused post-match handshakes with Dragon Kid in Dragon Gate USA and dedicated much of their time to mocking him over it.
  • Refusing a handshake is a common feature of a Face–Heel Turn, especially favoured in the tag team break up angle.
  • A guest-starring Machine Gun Kelly offered Kevin Owens a handshake. Owens attacked him and powerbombed him off the stage.
  • Kenny Omega faced a little girl named Haruka, as her "Summer Vacation" opponent of World Wonder Ring STARDOM's Kid's Fight series (and she put up a pretty good fight). He offered her a pre-match handshake but she kicked him. After the match, he offered her another handshake but she slapped him across the face.
  • Dramatic Dream Team: HARASHIMA refused to shake Kota Ibushi's hand after losing the Open Weight title to him, leading to Ibushi following HARASHIMA trying to get a handshake and HARASHIMA punching Ibushi's palm.
  • At Wrestlemania 30, Triple H offered Daniel Bryan a pre-match handshake, only for Bryan to kick him.
  • On World Wonder Ring STARDOM's first USA tour, Nicole Savoy offered her hand to Act Yasukawa, who spat in and kicked her face in response. She was also attacked for offering Kimber Lee the same on SHIMMER Volume 80, which in turn lead to her refusing the offer from both Heidi Lovelace and Candice LeRae who teamed up to force Savoy to shake Lovelace's hand.
  • Hana Kimura and DASH Chisako began their challenge for the Tag Team title belts held by Hanako Nakamori and Kyoko Kimura at JWP by shaking their respective hands but when Hana tried to shake Kyoko's she got blown off. Hanako, not knowing Kyoko's problem was, quickly shook DASH's hand as well before hurrying to her corner.
  • At Royal Rumble 2018, Ronda Rousey congratulated Asuka on her victory and offered her a handshake. Asuka slapped her hand away.
  • Later that year, Stephanie McMahon offered Ronda Rousey a handshake, only for Rousey to stand there scowling. Stephanie angrily threatened her, then it ended with Stephanie throwing her through a table.
  • Eugene often offers his opponents a pre-match handshake. His opponents often just attack him.
  • Defied at Midwest Championship Wrestling's 2018 Awakening when Citywide Champion Marion Fontaine got his hand slapped away but proceeded to grab control of Brian Carson's arm during a clothesline attempt, put him in a hammerlock, step over and spin Carson before gently shaking his hand. Then continue to find ways to force Carson into a standing handshake in grappling exchanges until Carson grabbed his hair.
  • On January 1, 2019, Becky Lynch and John Cena teamed up for a mixed tag team match. After Becky got the win for their team, Cena congratulated her and offered her a handshake. She instead did his "You Can't See Me" taunt and walked away.
  • Starting in June 2019, Samoa Joe ambushed and attacked Kofi Kingston several times in order to set up a title match between them at Extreme Rules 2019. At one point, Joe promised to leave Kofi alone until the title match if Kofi would shake his hand. Instead, Kofi flipped him the bird and then knocked him out.
  • On July 26, 2021, after Charlotte Flair defeated Nikki A.S.H., Nikki congratulated her and offered a handshake. Charlotte knocked her down, kicked her in the face, and walked away while calling her a loser.


  • At the beginning of Nouvelle Experience (a Cirque du Soleil show), The Everyman tries to offer a handshake to the strangers he's suddenly surrounded by. But he's in a Cloudcuckooland, and they are confused and even frightened by the gesture whenever he attempts it. A few acts later, having come to understand that he is friendly, one of them returns his handshake.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed III:
    • Haytham refuses to shake the hand of Louie Mills the first time they meet. No explanation is given, but it's implied to be a class issue; Haytham is a British aristocrat and Mills is a working-class sailor, so Haytham probably regards a handshake as beneath him.
    • Connor is a more justified example; he was raised among Native Americans, who consider it taboo to touch someone you don't know, so he Hates Being Touched. He turns down an offer of a handshake with John Adams, though he does grow to accept a handshake as an acceptable greeting once he's spent some time living amongst the colonists.
  • In Breath of Fire IV, Fou-lu will offer his hand to Ryu after making his case as to why Humans Are the Real Monsters; saying "Maybe..." and taking it means you signed on for the bad ending. If, on the other hand, you choose "You're wrong!" when given the option, Ryu will slap his hand away instead, to which Fou-lu laments his refusal before summoning the Tyrant to deal with him and his companions.
  • Dead Rising: Frank West does this to Brad Garrison, being a rather aloof reporter and all.
  • In Epic Mickey, Oswald suggests that he and Mickey shake and start over. But Mickey holds back and confesses to causing the Thinner Disaster.
  • Final Fantasy VIII:
    • Squall does this quite a bit, most notably to Zell and to the leader of La Résistance.
    • Everyone does this to Zell. It's one of the game's Running Gags.
  • Final Fantasy VII Remake: After Barret and Red XIII work together to move some debris blocking the party's path, Barret says they are awesome and extends his hand to Red. Red, who is likely still angry that Barret had insulted him earlier, slaps his hand away.
  • In L.A. Noire, during the first investigation with the Arson desk, a patrolman shows a reluctance to shake Cole's hand since Cole was recently involved in a scandal after having an affair with a nightclub singer. Cole's partner Herschel rebukes him, telling him 'Cole's name might be dogshit, but his hand isn't covered in it.
  • In the Mass Effect 2 DLC, Stolen Memories, you can offer to shake the hand of mercenary group owner Donovan Hock. He will refuse because he's an all-around asshole.
    • Happens a few times in Mass Effect 3. Lieutenant Tolan (a dead Kirrahe's jerkass stand-in) does this to Shepard on Sur'Kesh. In "From Ashes", Shepard offers Last of His Kind Javik a handshake during their first scene together, but he turns it down. In your last scene together before the final battle, he holds out his hand, and you can either take the Paragon Interrupt or turn him down. Then there's Dr Archer from 2's Overlord DLC...
      Archer: Dr Gavin Archer. We...met...on Project Overlord.
      Shepard: [not taking his hand] That's one way of putting it.
  • In Mega Man Zero 2, Elpizo introduces himself to Zero as the new commander of the resistance and offers his hand after announcing his plans to destroy Neo Arcadia. Zero refuses both the plans and the handshake.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Peter Stillman reacts this way upon being introduced to Iroquois Pliskin, who is actually Solid Snake.
  • At the end of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the U.S. President awards the Distinguished Service Cross to Naked Snake. Snake shakes President Lyndon B. Johnson's hand, but refuses to shake hands with the Director of the CIA, because the director had him kill his mentor to both prevent an international incident and recover a massive sum of money from the Big Bad.
    • Parodied in the Secret Theater skit, "Payback", where the Director of the CIA tracks down Naked Snake and bests him in a fight just to get that handshake.
  • You have the option of doing this in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, making Commander Gore comment on the oddity and moving your karma meter slightly towards chaos (accepting it will move it to Law instead). Later, if you offer a handshake to resident Jerkass Jimenez, he will refuse, citing he prefers not to relate to anyone, feeling it ain't worth developing a friendship during a war if all the sap is gonna do is get himself killed. (Conversely, he will react more positively if you don't offer a handshake in the first place. Functions as a minor Establishing Character Moment for everyone in the room.)

    Visual Novels 
  • In Heart of the Woods, Evelyn Fisher, Morgan's mother and the mayor of Eysenfeld, refuses to shake Tara's hand when introducing herself, since she's not happy about Tara and Madison visiting her town.
  • In Case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies, Hugh O'Connor refuses to shake Apollo Justice's hand, leading Athena Cykes to mentally question if his hand is glued to the inside of his pocket. It's actually because he's hiding that his hand is wrapped in bandages.

  • Bicycle Boy: Poet does not understand how to do a handshake, so he leaves Stonehenge hanging when she tries to introduce herself.
  • Clockwork: Arcadia's ambassador Alexander de Leveque, of all people, wordlessly refuses the Mercian Emperor's offered handshake. The Emperor laughs it off, apparently used to it from him, but his son Boris looks far less pleased that Alexander thinks he's too good to touch them. As it turns out, Alexander has refused to touch anyone for the past nine years, as a result of the life-threatening curse he's been afflicted with since then.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Marty is relatively polite, asking Spork, "Mind if we don't shake?" Spork understands, because he's been working among dung beetles.
  • Eugene declines to shake hands when sealing a deal with Lord Shojo in The Order of the Stick. It's not rudeness, however; as a ghost, he is incapable of holding anything corporeal.
  • Questionable Content: On being introduced to Dave, Steve refuses to shake his hand because immediately preceding the introduction, he heard Dave watching porn. Yeaaah.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Lalli, being one of the No Social Skills characters, just plain ignores handshakes offered by two of his new crewmates upon meeting them. While one quickly got his hand grabbed by his much more social cousin, the other gently forced Lalli into the handshake. Emil later tried to offer Lalli a fist bump, which was ignored as well.
  • Undead Friend: When Orrick introduces himself to Wylie he offers a handshake. Wylie just glares at it and then mocks his name.
  • Unsounded: When Duane meets a small-time gangster, he refuses to answer both a handshake in the gangster's custom and a bow in his own.
    Stockyard: [Beat Panel] Ahh, that's right. Your people bow! [Bows]
    Duane: When called for.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: In "The Eggpire Strikes Back'' Jimmy refused to shake hands with King Goobot out of disbelief that he had truly reformed.
  • Parodied in The Amazing World of Gumball with "The Slap", when Gumball is looking for a new greeting and Darwin mentions that Tobias is giving high-fives and butt slaps to everyone except Gumball, who only gets high-fived. Gumball goes on a relentless quest to get the elusive butt slap from Tobias and even resorts to trapping the two of them on the roof. By the time Tobias finally decides to give Gumball a high-five and a butt slap, Gumball shows hypocritical indignation when he starts ranting at Tobias after receiving his long-awaited high five and butt slap combo:
    Gumball: How dare you?! You've got some nerve, young man! There are rules in this society and casually slapping people's butts is not one of them!
  • A variant occurs in American Dad! episode "Tears of a Clooney" after Stan befriends George Clooney, he later refuses to fistbump him because has to inform George he is "leaving" him to move back to his old home.
  • Avengers Assemble: Tony Stark offers Odin a handshake, but Odin refuses and berates the mortal for his audacity. When Hulk manages to impress Odin, Odin offers him a handshake, but Hulk leaves him hanging.
  • In The Boondocks, Huey tries to apologize to his former friend Cairo after they had a fight and offers a handshake. Cairo takes his that he can pull him in and headbutt him.
  • In Code Lyoko, Herve refuses to shake hands with Jeremie after losing to him in a robot contest.
  • DC Super Hero Girls: In "#MotherKnowsBest" Supergirl offers a handshake to Queen Hippolyta when she meets her, but Hippolyta stands there and Diana explains she is not into shaking hands. Hippolyta instead challenges Supergirl to an arm wrestling match, which becomes a draw.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Wonderbolts Academy", Rainbow Dash is offered a hoof-bump from Lightning Dust, a fellow Wonderbolt cadet, in celebration of the "awesome" tornado they created that almost killed Rainbow's friends. Her response: "A hoof-bump? Seriously?"
    • In "Gauntlet of Fire", when Spike and Ember agree to help each other, Spike says they have a deal and thrusts his claw for her to shake. Ember is visibly uncomfortable with the gesture, which is likely unknown among dragons, so she just grabs a finger between her index and thumb and wiggles it.
    • "To Where And Back Again" has the now ex-Queen Chrysalis do this in retaliation for Starlight leading to her dethroning. Even better is that Starlight offered Chrysalis to be a good queen, but she refused.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: In "Robo Busters," Janine returns to work after lunch with her new boyfriend. Paul Smart shakes hands with each of the Ghostbusters in turn, but when he gets to Egon, all he gets is a Death Glare.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Family BBQ", Mordecai learns that Margaret's dad never shakes hands with any of her boyfriends, and becomes obsessed with getting that handshake, even taking part in a cannonball contest that, typical of the show, gets dangerously out of hand.
  • In Road Rovers, Hunter offers a fist bump to a young boy, only to discover the boy is blind.
  • In Samurai Jack, Extor offers Jack a high-five, but since Jack is from Ancient Japan, he says he doesn't understand what he is doing and Extor slinks away. At the end of the episode, Jack finally returns his high-five.
  • The Simpsons: In "The Mansion Family", Mr. Burns goes to the Mayo Clinic for a check-up. After completing his examinations, Burns offers to shake his doctor's hand, but the doctor recoils, and explains that Burns has every ailment known to man, and a few that were just discovered in Burns' body. The only reason Burns is still alive is because the diseases are in a medical Enemy Civil War and thus cancelling each other out.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants, "Pressure": SpongeBob offers Squidward a high-five. Squidward's response: "Not on your life, sport."
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The Platform Classic", Marcus, Yeager's estranged brother, holds out his hand to him in his first scene, but Yeager ignores it. In the last scene, Yeager finally accepts Marcus' handshake.

    Real Life 
  • Specifically banned in fencing. Refusing to shake hands with your opponent after a bout can result in disqualification.
  • Former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was famously at the wrong end of such a refusal at the Salon de l'Agriculture, but his reaction to it was even more (in)famous: he answered the offender "Casse-toi alors, pauvre con!" ("Get lost then, dumbass!"). Such a direct insult to a citizen was deemed unbecoming of the President and veered into sheer hypocrisy when someone was later arrested for "insult to the president" for holding a sign with that very sentence during an anti-Sarkozy protest.
  • Chess Grandmaster Ivan Cheparinov once refused a game-starting handshake with fellow GM Nigel Short.
  • At the conclusion of a series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it is tradition for the players to line up at center ice to shake hands with each other, whatever bad blood may exist between them. In a competition steeped in tradition a refusal to do so is especially notable.note 
    • Downplayed example in the 1996 Western Conference Finals between the Colorado Avalanche and the Detroit Red Wings. In the first period of Game 6 with the Avalanche up 3 games to 2, Avs forward Claude Lemieux checked Red Wings forward Kris Draper from behind and into the boards - Draper had to go to the hospital with a broken jaw and a shattered cheek and orbital bone, requiring surgery and stitches. Lemieux got a five-minute major penalty plus a game misconduct (meaning he got ejected from the game entirely) but the Avalanche won the game 4-1 to clinch the series. While the teams did shake hands after the game (the Red Wings players didn't learn how bad Draper's injuries were until they got back to their locker room) Red Wings forward Dino Ciccarelli was quoted in the press saying, "I can't believe I shook this guy's friggin' hand after the game. That pisses me right off." The hit was the biggest catalyst for the brutal, bloody, and vicious rivalry between the two teams in the late '90s, including an (in)famous slugfest of a meeting on March 27 of the following year that totaled 144 penalty minutes.
    • Straightforward example in 2008 in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers. During a five-on-three power play for the Rangers in Game 3, Sean Avery of the Rangers turned to face Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur and did pretty much everything short of physical contact to block Brodeur's view including waving his stick around in the air (screening the goaltender is a fairly standard tactic for the offense, but those players usually have their back to the goalie so that they're at least trying to look like they're looking at where the puck is); no penalty was called, though, as nothing Avery did was expressly prohibited in the rules, and Avery ended up scoring the goal.note  When the Rangers eventually won the best-of-7 series in five games a few days later, Brodeur explicitly refused to shake hands with Avery.
  • Happens at certain boxing or UFC/MMA events when one or both fighters (think Liddel vs Ortiz or Rousy vs Corria) if there is particularly bad blood between them. Addressed in the UFC games, when the ref gets them to touch gloves one or both fighters may refuse to do so.
  • Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine had the most famous Sibling Rivalry in Hollywood history, caused in part by Joan beating Olivia head-to-head for the Oscar for Best Actress of 1941 (Fontaine winning for Suspicion over de Havilland for Hold Back the Dawn). When de Havilland finally won her Oscar five years later for To Each His Own, Fontaine tried to greet her backstage, only for this to happen.
  • In the Rio Olympics, 2016, Egyptian judoka Islam el-Shehaby lost to and refused to shake the hand of Israeli bronze medal winner Or Sasson.
  • The US and German media had a ball when, in March of 2017, chancellor Angela Merkel offered president Donald Trump a handshake, only for the president to completely ignore her with an awkward silence.
  • Orthodox Jews have strict rules about men and women touching, basically restricting it to married couples and family members. Some make exceptions for handshakes, especially since it could embarrass the person offering it (which is Serious Business in Jewish law), but others will politely refuse.
  • At the funeral of Maryland Senator Elijah Cummings, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell attempted to shake the hand of pallbearer Bobby Rankin, only for him to refuse, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer observed with a smirk.
  • A bereaved father refused to shake the hand of Tony Blair, telling him that he had blood on his hands, at a memorial service for those killed in Iraq.
  • At a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony honoring Capitol Police officers for defending Congress during the January 6, 2021 riots, several officers and surviving family members refused to shake the hands of Senator Mitch McConnell and Representative Kevin McCarthy, angered that they had quickly backed off their criticisms of President Trump for stoking the mob and gone back to supporting him.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hand Off


Ken rejects Davis

Feeling unworthy of his friendship, Ken refuses to shake hands with Davis or join his team.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / HandshakeRefusal

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