Hugs vs High-Fives

Sports Backers Marathon Training Team starts this weekend, and of all the things I could be thinking about, this is what popped into my head.

I spent 15 minutes on my car ride into work this morning analyzing the difference between these two greetings. While that might seem ridiculous to some, I did come out of it with a very important distinction.

Hugs create an inward energy, while high fives create an outward energy.

You hug someone when you want to embrace them, love them or show them support. It’s a type of endearment. You usually hug someone you’re very close with (love) or someone who may be having a bad day (support).

When someone is hugging someone else, the rest of us tend to look away. Why is that? I believe it’s because we recognize the action of hugging as a private one. It’s just about the two of them, and the energy is only meant to be shared by the two people involved in the hug.

But a high five is meant to be shared. It not only creates a positive energy between the two people who connect hands, but everyone around them who witnessed it also feels the energy. They don’t look away, but rather often join in on the fun. They may extend a hand, or try to high five someone else nearby. High fives can be contagious.

So why does any of this matter?

It’s important to understand the difference because at different times, people need one or the other. Knowing when to give a hug or a high five could have a huge impact on someone’s day.

Why do you think professional athletes high five, fist bump, chest bump & ass smack each other all the time? Because it sends a positive energy to the entire team. An energy that just might turn the momentum of the entire game around. I can almost guarantee you that a hug would not have the same effect.

And a long, embracing hug can quickly turn someone’s tears into a smile, and completely change the course of their day.

By all means, use them both. Use them both with friends, and use them both with strangers. But try to use them when they are most appropriate.