Sometimes, a person gets caught in a situation where he or she wants to say something to someone else, but doesn't want to be the one to say it, mainly because they're too embarrassed to show themselves or only one of their friends can speak for them. So, they perform a game of Charades behind another person's back to tell their friend what to say to that person. This is obviously so they don't attract the attention of the person or people the friend is trying to speak to. Hilarity often ensues as the friend sometimes misinterprets the gestures that his pal is signaling towards him.
This is a sibling trope to Earpiece Conversation
Can lead to Nonverbal Miscommunication
Compare Hand Signals
Anime & Manga
- In Yubisaki Milk Tea Yoshinori do it a pair of time to Minamo, when other people ask after his alter-ego Yuki. When his best friend Wataru ask, a pair of crossed fingers mean "Don't tell him anything". While an open hand and a neutral face is used, when Nobuko shall know "Thanks. I'll go later (as Yuki)".
- In Lilo & Stitch, Nani gives signals to Lilo when the social worker, Cobra Bubbles, asks Lilo how well Nani is taking care of her. All goes well until Lilo misinterprets Nani cheering her on by holding up her fist as beating her.
- Near the end of Brave, Elinor has to perform gestures towards her daughter, Merida, so she can deliver a speech to keep the peace between the clans. She is unable to do it herself as she has transformed into a bear.
- Used in a Lord Darcy story, The Napoli Express. Lord Darcy was undercover, so he couldn't investigate the murder directly. When the official investigator is getting advice from Master Sean, Darcy uses hand signals to pass suggestions on to Sean, who then talks about what Darcy would do were he there.
- A variation of this trope shows up in the Mr. Bogus episode "Class Clown Bogus". Tommy is struggling to come up with the right answer to a math problem, when in comes Bogus who is able to help out, by writing the correct answer on the blackboard directly behind the teacher, allowing Tommy to give the correct answer.