As humans 90% of communication is done non-verbally (as in body language not text message). You would think with so much riding on small sort of involuntary gestures that we would work really hard to get our deliberate non-verbal communications down.
A wave can say anything from hello to the secret in my pants that wants to meet the secret in yours don’t get these confused, it could be very awkward. I want to help you keep awkward to a minimum, below you will find a list of waves and what they mean (please note waving is culturally based, and I leaned to wave in the US).
- Left, right, left, repeat – This wave is your standard greeting wave. It says “hello” and the speed of the back and forth conveys the excitement of said “hello”. After middle school this wave should not remind the person you are greeting of a puppy that is so excited it could just die, because after middle school you are a human. If you are so excited you could just die, do like a puppy does and pee on the floor.
- Clenching, unclenching fist – This wave says that you are under the age of three and your dexterity is not quite up to par. It’s cute as hell though so keep it up. Extra points if you wave like this with your palm facing you
- Right, left – This wave is a curt acknowledgement that you do indeed know that person and they have made eye contact with you. It is the nonverbal equivalent to saying, “Don’t say hi to me, don’t say hi to me, don’t walk over here.” The person you do this to often responds with the pre-middle school exuberance of wave 1 that I mentioned. Good luck not talking to that person.
- Individual fingers individually waved – Remember the pants thing? It’s somewhere above this list in italics… This is the pants thing. That being said, people sometimes mess this up, so maybe checkout their eyes before jumping into the wavers pants. Let their eyes be your guide to their pants.
- Two fingers raised – The proper use of this wave takes some getting used to. The two finger raise is to acknowledge that a stranger is driving the same type of car as you. Jeep people are especially of this type of kinship expression. Don’t barrow a jeep if you’re too afraid to do the wave.
- Flapping up and down at the wrist – I never want to see this done. Don’t do this.
- Cupped hand twisted mid-forearm – This wave is good for winning pagents. People sometimes confuse this wave with Queen Elizabeth’s royal wave. They are not the same, you need to being paying more attention. I fully expect you to shed tears of joy when waving this way, it lacks authenticity if you are not crying.