Greetings come in many flavors and styles. But have you really considered the affects your greetings have on others? Does your hello forge connections? Do you leave a lasting impression? Or do your conversations end after a tentative handshake?

I've developed a greeting that has over time become a hallmark of getting to know me. It's derived from the African American Hip Hop Hug and Arab hugs and kisses evolved in an American context. With an emphasis on touch and interaction I call it the Shoulder Tap. After years of being shrouded in mystery I am revealing the secret  history behind this powerful hand shake, the methods of properly executing a Shoulder Tap, tips and tricks and the motivations behind this incredible social door opener.

This video includes some video of me shoulder tapping various people in a variety of positions and excitement levels. The last shot is of me shoulder tapping Carl Bass the CEO of Autodesk, he seemed to take it well!

I hope this Instructable encourages you to consider the way touch, body language, and other nonvocal communication you employ affect people around you and the situations you get in. Good luck with being awesome! Here we go!

Step 1: Shoulder tap evolution - Arab American Hip Hop Hug

Shoulder tapping originates with the intersection of Arab culture and the African American culture in Metro Detroit especially Dearborn. Without delving too deeply into the sociology of the situation let's observe that Dearborn experienced an influx of immigrent Arabs coming into contact with the Hip Hop culture of the Detroit area. This produced a new hybrid of "Arab Gangstas". These are affiliated with, but not a complete subclass of Arab Hip Hop culture.

If you're from Dearborn, you know the type I'm talking about. Sure there's the real mafioso's like the late Ghadaffi, a real gangster in the most awful of ways. But the ones I'm talking about have lined up haircuts, pretend to be in gangs, and have loud rap music pumping from their hooked up Honda Civics. This isn't to belittle or undermine the importance of the resonance that comes from two oppressed communities finding a common language in rap music, speaking out against oppression and... dark shades in clubs.

This combination of cultures has brought forth some arabic hip hop. An example of which is Qusai
For those of you who don't understand the arabic rap part of this song. Let me tell you his arabic is flawless, sounds like poetry and is very classical. That's what you get when you have a background from Saudi Arabia I guess :D

And also extends into greetings. The Hip Hop culture's "pound hug" is also known as:
pound hug
pound shake
one-armed hug
dude hug
homie hug
hetero hug
bro hug
thug hug
hip-hop hug
Luckily for me there is an awesome video which breaks down the hip hop hug into it's various categories:

Scroll to 0:38 to see the classic example of the hip hop hug.

Pay attention to two facts of the hip hop hug:
1) It starts with a grabbing of each others thumb, not a standard handshake. This is to facilitate pulling your partner in for the hug.
2) They follow through by pulling each other closer, and following through with a one handed hug and one to two taps on the back.

Encountering these hugs growing up in Michigan I was a frequent recipient and originator of the HHH (hip hop hug). Let's now move look into understanding what touch based greetings look like in other cultures, specifically how Arab hand holding, hugging and kissing probably led to the ease of adoption of the Hip Hop Hug.
للتحية أهمية كبرى في تنظيم مجتمع ما ،وسرها يكمن فيما تفترضه التحية ويتجلى لنا في كيفية ردها للسابق إليها ،لقد فرضتها كل الشرائع السماوية و الإنسانية والمرء المتواضع هو السباق دائما إلى التحية ،لذلك فرض على المتلقي للسلام والذي غالبا ما يكون مغرورا بنفسه مترفعا ومتكبرا أن يردها . <br> <br>فالإستجابة للتحية فرضت عليه بما يميل بها إلى ما هو أحسن منها ،أوعلى الأقل بردها بمثل ما وجهت اليه تماما دون تشويه أو نقصان على أختها الأولى . <br> <br>وهذا التعامل في التحية يوجد في ثقافة جميع الشعوب والأقوام بدون إستثناء. <br> <br>للتحية الحرية في كيفية أدائها إما بالكلام،إما بالحركة أو مشتركتين معا في تأديتهما ،وأحيانا فيها لمس وعناق أو تقبيل.
Great 'ible! It is important to be acquainted with other people's customs regarding greetings, conversations, humor, stances, etc. to avoid a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faux_pas" rel="nofollow"><em>faux pas</em></a>.&nbsp;
Thank you very much for your explanation of body contact in other cultures. Yes, Americans are very uptight about body contact and personal space issues as well as sex. They are probably one of the most uptight countries in the G8. I'm not sure about Japan.<br><br>Personally, I'm not uptight about touching or sex. But I just don't know the norms for other cultures. <br>
As a vision impaired person, touch is very important to me. However I was brought up in an extremely reserved environment so just the thought of trying this fills me with panic. I am unable to make eye contact with people, and so would most likely end up smacking them in the face with my head and them having to go to the hospital. That said, cheers for an informative, interesting, and enjoyable treatise on the use and importance of touch in our culture.I feel, despite my own personal reservations, that touching in our (American) society is very under-rated and misunderstood part of our culture. Also, how cool is that you met the president of AutoDesk and give him a dude hug! Thumbs up, sir! (a non-tactile, gestural method of expressing approval)
Shoulder taps are common among any male-dominant group!!
There is nothing that conveys interest in, sympathy with, love of, and the desire to endure with another human being than the good old-fashioned &quot;handshake.&quot; That has been enough to display respect, sympathy, and love for one's fellow man since the average Roman Soldier started demonstrating that his (stronger) more dexterous (right-sided) hand was not bearing weapons. If you offer your hand to another with sincerity, warmth and eye-contact, there is an entire language that passes from one individual to another in that brief instant. No embellishment is required!
Nothing adds more authenticity to your Instructable (as if it needed it anyway, it's very well done!) than the Dilated People's clip featuring Alchemist... those guys ARE hip hop.
Not a hugger myself (due to upbringing) but want to try some of the basic greetings. Loved some of the videos (i.e. Qusai, and will be watching more of these), and found the links to add to content. <br><br>Very well done, and appreciated. Thumbs up!
There is a version of this getting around Australia as well. It's basically a traditional handshake followed by the hug. My interpretation was that keeping the clenched fists between the chests preventing the A-frame hug, was to block unintended homo-erotic displays. Guys seem way more worried about this than girls.<br><br>I think just the quick tap is a progressive move. You've made your impression, but you haven't invaded personal space for too long. Well done.
This is pure genius! Semiotics of the human language :') this is anthropology! beautiful! I shall be shoulder tapping in no time :D
Just pure awesomeness! Great 'ible!
Oh, you colonials, so avant garde...<br><br><sub>Most Brits only hug people if they are related, on the same sports team*, drunk, or trying to get into organised crime. I was taught to hug properly by a Californian.<br><br><sub>* And trying to prove they're confident in their manhood.<br><br></sub></sub>
You are the best shoulder tapper I know. I don't think anyone else could have rubbed shoulder with the CEO so smoothly.
Here in the UK the LAN parties I go to are very very huggy environments. Certainly those of us who volunteer our time to run them spend a week or so in each others pockets with a common enemy (Anyone who has spent time in IT knows Users are the enemy :) ), we become very close very quickly. There is a lotta love in our community, and I for one enjoy it.<br><br>As someone with &quot;weight to throw around&quot; I feel I should reign in an advanced bro grab and let them land on me :)
Ooh, now I'm excited to try the advanced shoulder tap! Although I do picture myself flat on my behind as a result.

About This Instructable


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Bio: Bilal Ghalib is interested in doing things that surprise him and inspire others. Let's create a future we want to live in together.
More by lamedust: Prosthetics Modification for Pain Relief of Pressure Points How to Teleport! Free 3D Scanning and Cheap 3D Printing! Shoulder tap to win friends and influence people - An Arab American improvised greeting
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