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Fist Pound Versus High Five

October 20, 2008

At some point in his life, a guy will find himself in the most precarious, awkward position of all: He’ll hold up his hand for a high-five, and the other guy will offer a fist pound in return.

This is a defining moment in the life of a man. The actions you take in the next 1-2 seconds will communicate what kind of a man you are. Are you a man who adapts to his surroundings and makes the best of a bad situation? Are you a man who refuses to back down, who will stand his ground despite the circumstances? Or are you the type of man who will wrap his hand around another man’s fist?

(Please don’t choose the latter option. Maybe you think it’ll be funny. But it won’t be. The other guy will never speak to you again, and you won’t be able to sleep for days.)

There isn’t a truly right answer for this conundrum. Even if you adapt quickly enough and curl your fingers into a fist, the other guy may have already opened his hand to go for a high five. Then you have an accidental fist-to-finger exchange, and you both will have to move to different cities.

I would say that the best compromise is to drop your hand down below his and wait for a low five. That way you’re not completely compromising, but you’re showing him respect by adapting a little for him. You make it easy for him to open his hand and slap yours, almost as if that’s what the two of you intended to do in the first place.

I’ll end with two preventative solutions: Either get your high-five hand up and visible well before he offers you the fist pound, or don’t show your hand at all before he decides what to offer. Then there’s no awkwardness at all, just good ole-fashioned slapping or pounding. That’s the way it should be.

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