A brief history of the high five and what I think about high fives.



Here's the deal, the 'High Five' is probably one of my favorite hand gestures out there.  It cheers you up, it says hi, it celebrates, it says goodbye and much more.  There are very few situations when a high five is unacceptable.  A few examples of inappropriate times for a high five would be at a funeral, after being found guilty for a crime, in a restroom or perhaps in response to your girlfriend the first time she says ' I love you.'


The 'High Five' first entered the dictionary in 1980.  Nobody knows exactly when or where the high five originates however it did gain popularity from sporting events.  MLB player Glenn Burke, NFL player Wiley Brown and NBA player Derek Smith helped raise 'High Five' awareness in the late 1970's and ever since it has played a very important role in unspoken communication.


There are many variations of the 'High Five' used by many and hated by few.  From my own observations I've noticed the most popular situations for a high five are the following:

  • When someone has had a bit much to drink and you can't understand what they are saying or what they are talking about a high five can quickly give you an out.
  • When walking towards an acquaintance and you don't have time to stop and chat or you don't want to the high five in itself can relay  'Hello, good to see you but I have to go.  Catch you on the flip side.'  Amazing for such an easy gesture.
  • To show excitement or celebration.
  • A less friendly one would be when a rather tall person is taunting a short person by asking for a high five knowing the shorter person can't quite reach.

All in all the 'High Five' is very versatile and awesome.  Happy National High Five Day!

-Ben Ryan

For more help with the 'High Five' click the link below for a great video!

High Five Etiquette