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What's With All The High Fives?

Updated on February 23, 2012

I had a conversation with someone, who by my estimate high-fived me approximately 297 times!

I am not opposed to the high five, or the regular five, if that’s what it’s called. I am opposed to extending my arm into the air more times than I can reasonably count. After the conversation, my plan was to pick up something for dinner; instead I had to stop by the drugstore for pain reliever, and an arm sling.

I know I could have terminated the conversation, but felt compelled to stay; the person appeared to need someone to talk to…I am a good listener…most times.

The High Five

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I support the high five, I really…really do. I understand the high-five when it relates to sports, and celebratory purposes, but in a regular conversation, can we possibly limit it to two, certainly no more than five high-fives? Is it rude to add a disclaimer before a conversation that you have a high five limit?

I think I will lose strength in my arm(s), from engaging in this repetitive and intense gesture of good will.

I have therefore outlined a few things to consider:

"High Five Etiquette", by dontbethatguy films

  • Offer an opt-out notice – Make others aware upfront that you are an obsessive high-fiver. (see bullet point #5)
  • Do not replace amen’s with high fives – Consider the environment before you raise your palms.
  • Know your strength – The high-fiver at times is unaware that their high-five has the potential to cause bodily injury. (see bullet point #7)
  • Set reasonable high five limitations – The high five is thoughtful, yet wearisome, especially when the gesture is repetitive, and renders the other person to near exhaustion.
  • Consider Counseling – This may help to determine that you have an obsessive compulsion to high five, and perhaps may help you to consider other forms of hand-to-hand contact. (see bullet point #10)

  • Do not give the elderly high five– This is on a case-by-case basis. The high five should be rendered with consideration for possible frailty of the elderly. If the elderly person uses oxygen, you should reconsider the high-five. “Oops”, is an insufficient response if you accidentally cut-off their oxygen supply.
  • Practice the high five – This helps to ensure that the high five is on the palms of the hand. Improper high fives can poke an eyeball out, or knock someone senseless. (see bullet point #3)
  • Practice good hygiene – The high five requires that your arms are extended in an upward motion. Poor hygiene can be fatal to others, and can cause you to lose high five friends and associates.
  • Join a high five club or association – In doing so, you are surrounded by others who, like you, enjoy high fives on a more than regular basis.
  • Remember that there are other forms of hand-to-hand contact – The handshake is still favorable, but is under-used.

National High Five Day

Another option is to save all of your high fives for National High Five Day, which occurs on the 3rd Thursday of April each year. In 2002, three friends at the University of Virginia decided to start their own holiday. National High Five day is growing into a huge phenomenon.

While I don’t recall being pummeled with high fives on National High Five Day, I do think I will be especially cautious, since the high five is gaining even more popularity and momentum; I'll likely keep pain reliever and an arm sling with me...just in case!

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