What do your hands say about you?

From the first glimpse of someone’s hand you can begin to understand his or her disposition. Do they think with their head or their heart? Are they open or closed with their engagement? Without even needing to study the lines or fingers, you can tell a lot about a person from the shape, texture, and proportions of their hand. What would a first impression of your hands say about you? 

Watercolor Handprint

The hands can be seen as an opening for the energy of the mind and body. The relative proportion of the hand doesn’t describe the quality or quantity of our energy; it does describe how easy it is for us to pour that energy into the world. The muscle tone of the hand describes the muscularity of our engagement with the world. Do we engage with our heart and mind, or do we engage with actions, or both?

Size + Tone

Large hands in proportion to the body show energetic physical engagement with the world. The owner tends to be an extrovert who has a can-do attitude. Friendliness from large-handed people may just be their way; it may not be personal. When they are angry, they may want to get physical and chop wood, hit a wall, or throw a plate. If a person with large hands has strong muscle tone, don’t ask him to sit still, give him a job to do instead. Large soft hands may indicate a more passive affability. These people care but may be less active in response.

Small Hands

ABOVE: Smallish hands with muscular fi ngers and slightly pointed endings suggest a friendly, creative person who can handle detailed work. She has a sociable personality, seen in her rounded fi ngernails. The short but strong top section of the thumb indicates that she does not like to be pushed around, nor to push others around, while the long, thick bottom section of the thumb means she has strong common sense and steady habits. She appreciates tradition but can also be stubborn.

Small hands in relation to the body tend to show a more introverted personality, someone who has condensed, internal energy. These people are thinkers who need time to consider their actions. They can be as competent as large-handed people, but with more focus and less energy expenditure. Small soft hands indicate someone who keeps a lot within, for better or worse. Those with small muscular hands can be detailed planners, thinkers, and craftspeople.


Notice how hands move and bend. Are the owners flexible in hand and soul Flexible hands can show adaptable, malleable people. Extreme flexibility can show a disposition that is hard to pin down. These people can be so chameleon-like that they reflect their surroundings to the point where it’s hard to get a bead on who they really are or what they really believe.

Stiff hands come about with age. As we get older, our hands grow stiffer and we become more focused and more set in our ways. Look at where the stiffness sits. If it’s in the root of the hand, it reflects a fundamental approach to life, and may be built by years of working in the same way, because it gets the job done. Stiffness in the fingers can show people are more focused and strong about their approach to life, but less flexible in their thinking.

Flexible Hands

ABOVE: These are the flexible wrists of a fundamentally adaptable person who probably travels well and easily takes to new situations and foreign cultures. She handles unexpected events with pragmatism—indicated by the thin but long bottom section to the thumb, and wide, square thumbnail

Color + Texture

Feel the warmth of the hand, and note the color of the palm in comparison to overall skin tone. Is the person hot-blooded and prone to passionate engagement? The hands will tend to show red undertones for skin type. Or is the person as cool as a cucumber, more reserved and a little harder to activate? Notice paler tones, perhaps with a blue cast, relative to skin. If the hands are noticeably cool, take it as a working hypothesis that so is this person’s disposition, but do not assume it is so—health conditions may interfere with circulation.

Thin skin on the hand echoes a thin-skinned personality, someone who feels everything acutely, and may be seen by the world as too sensitive. These people may be averse to roughness or harshness and seem effete in their choices of food, textures, and surroundings, but they are honestly affected by their environment.

Coarse and thick skin may show an emotionally thicker hide, someone who can boldly wade in where angels fear to tread. These people don’t react quickly to the opinions of others and so tend to stay on course whatever the feedback. They usually do not like clutter, and their tastes encompass bold statements with clean, simple lines, rather than anything subtle or fancy. 


Hairiness on the back of the hands brings in a primal energy. Primal energy is strong, direct, and must be harnessed with consciousness. So look for evidence of talent or awareness in other places on the hand as a way to integrate and channel this primal energy.

The best artists have a combination of refined elements and signals of access to primal energy—the tension between these elements can produce that notorious artistic temperament. An example would be coarse hair on the back of fine skin, or low-arched fingerprints on long and delicate fingertips, or square and strong hands, with a strong thumb and mount of the Sun, and clear, graceful lines.


If you can learn this much from a first impression, imagine how much there is still to discover as you delve deeper into the shape of the fingers, fingernails, and the life, heart, head and fate lines. Find out more in the book Everyday Palmistry by Heather Roan Robbins.

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