Saturday, 30 May 2009
There was a special summer event happening in the shopping centre below my office and they were giving out free goodie bags full of various product samples from a lot of the shops. I was enlisted by some of my colleagues to get some of these bags for them, however there was a limit to just one per person. I needed to get three, so I queued and collected my first one, then walked to the other end of the mall where they were giving out more. On the way I hooked the bag over my shoulder and put my suit jacket on over it. I collected a second goodie bag without a problem and headed back to the original queue for the third and final, placing the second bag on my other shoulder, again underneath my jacket. I was sure someone would spot my jacket bulging out at the sides a little but no, there was no problem and I picked the third up without a hitch.
Upon returning to the office, one of my colleagues sees that I am only carrying one bag in my hands and looks a little disappointed. That is until I open my jacket and say “Damn, I iz gotz mad skillz” (London youth gangster wannabe slang for “Damn, I’m good”). He laughs, rocks back on his chair and puts his hand up in the air – and PAUSE…
Okay, so his hand is in the air; this clearly indicates he is expecting a high-five but there are several potential problems which could occur with high-fiving:
1) Timing – You have at most five seconds to react to a high-five action. This means you need to very quickly judge what kind of high-five the other person is expecting and when the optimum position of contact will occur. For maximum effect contact needs to be made at the peak of the swing; any earlier and you will not reach a high enough speed; any later and you will be unbalanced and lack control.
2) Strength – Some people like relaxed high-fiving and some like to go the full hog; this is something you will have to judge in those few short seconds. You don’t want to go in too strong and end up knocking the person back but also you don’t want to go in too soft and get knocked back yourself. Also, you have to decide whether or not you’re up for the stinging palm that may result from a particularly strong high-five. Moreover, especially for men who like to show off their manliness, you don’t want to look like a pansy doing some wimpish high-five, so do it properly.
3) Follow-through – Often there is no follow-through on high-fives but there is always a danger of the other person taking you by surprise. Before commencing the high-five movement, try to judge whether or not the other person is likely to be a follow-througher. Possible after-actions include swinging forward full circle to meet at the bottom of the arc or some form of hand-grab, with the option of extra secret-handshake style actions; these are especially prevalent amongst high-school cliques, frat-boys and secret societies.
The high-five goes smoothly and is just a normal mid-strength, fairly relaxed event with no special follow through. Phew, time to chill, got through another perilous high-five situation.