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Handshake Substitute
aka: Brofist
"Verily, we are too awesome to exchange handgrips, my brother!"

When two people meet formally for the first time, it is customary for them to shake hands. The handshake is initiated when the two hands touch, immediately. It is commonly done upon meeting, greeting, parting, offering congratulations, expressing gratitude, or completing an agreement. In sports or other competitive activities, it is also done as a sign of good sportsmanship. Its purpose is to convey trust, balance, and equality.

This trope is about when, instead of the usual handshake as a greeting gesture, the characters use a variation, each of which has its own connotations. Most of these variations are less formal than a handshake, but some retain the formality. While mostly a Western Media trope, it has found its way into eastern media on occasion.

Handshake substitutes that have their own tropes:

    open/close all folders 

Forearm Clasp

"You are my equal, sir, and I honor/greet/salute you."

This is the variation closest to an actual handshake, and is quite possibly its precursor. Instead of exchanging handgrips, the two clasp each others' forearms, just below the elbow. It is considered archaic and often 'knightly', the kind of greeting warriors of old gave each other, supposedly to prove they didn't have a knife up their sleeve.

    Film 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • In Mass Effect 2, this is how Wrex will greet Shepard if he's around, while happily shouting "My friend!"

    Western Animation 
  • Seen in Quest for Camelot, when the Knights of the Round Table greet each other during their "Charming Singalong".
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender , this Is the Southern Water Tribe standard greeting.
  • Often seen in Gargoyles although sometimes the animation made it look like they were grabbing each other's wrists.

Fist Bump

"Hey, man, how's it going?" "Pretty cool, bro, pretty cool."

A less excitable version, this substitute is decidedly casual. It's somewhere in between a handshake and a high-five in meaning, combining greeting with familiarity and victory. Two people pump their fists against each other, but like with a too-strong grip in a handshake, bumping too hard is considered rude and needlessly confrontational. Bumping other parts of the arm together instead of the fist is also acceptable, such as in the trope picture.

Colloquially known as the brofist, though this term has a relatively different significance. A brofist is better defined as a light touch of the fists or the knuckles, and it is used more frequently as a commemorative or celebratory gesture in any situation that appeals to the two bros' sensibilities of one (or both) of them having scored/scoring.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Nanoha and Fate do the reassuring brofist ("sisfist"?) towards the end of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, just before they go separate ways (Nanoha, after the Cradle and Fate, to Scaglietti's bunker). They do it IN FLIGHT!
  • The example pictured above is from Berserk, specifically Owen greeting Laban after he manages to rescue a city full of people.
  • Naruto and Sasuke share one of these in the first opening sequence. Notably, these two characters never do so in canon, seldom being on good enough terms with one another.
    • Meanwhile, in the actual series, Killer Bee is fond of these.
  • Numerous times in Fullmetal Alchemist, but the penultimate chapter's cover spread takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Armbumps are the order of the day in Eyeshield 21.
  • Black*Star and Soul Eater does this with the back of their fists. Black*Star later does the same with Kilik (because he was wearing large gauntlets) and Soul does this to Kid, who insists that they do the same with each's other hands.
  • Mobile Fighter G Gundam has arguably the most epic brofist in the whole Gundam franchise. LOOK! THE EAST IS BURNING RED!!
  • In the fifth Kara no Kyoukai movie, Enjou and Kokutou exchange a fistbump before splitting up to go rescue Shiki from Araya.
  • In High School D×D, Issei and Kiba do this before separating to go to their separate positions.
  • This is how Mao and Harisugawa say their hellos with each other in Harisugawa in Mirror World.
  • Senji offers one of these to Ganta after their fight in Deadman Wonderland.
  • Negi and Kotaro start doing this during Negima!'s Magic World arc. Only with supersonic punches that create shockwaves when they meet.
  • Ash does this with Charizard in Pokémon Best Wishes.

    Comic Books 

    Fanfic 
  • In No Gods, Only Guns, during Gaige's interlude, she rebuilds the platform of a certain collection of geth into a hulking juggernaut of destruction, which they approve of. Shortly afterward, she dubs the new construction "Gethtrap", and her Robot Buddy Deathtrap shows its approval by raising a mechanical fist. Gethtrap bumps mechanical knuckles in what is dubbed a "robrofist."

    Film 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fairly ubiquitous in The Wire. In particular, when Avon is in prison, he and Stringer both fist-bump the plexiglass as a substitute.
  • Adam Savage used elbow bumps to greet some volunteers involved in a MythBusters experiment. However, the experiment was to see if he could avoid "infecting" them with his fake cold — normally, he's a hand shaker.
  • Gus and Shawn on Psych do this ALL THE TIME. Usually when they solve a case, or agree on some point, or just want to reaffirm their friendship. There's even a three-way fist bump in one episode.
  • The Doctor and companion Mickey Smith in Doctor Who. As the Doctor never has a problem hugging anyone in sight, this is presumably because Mickey is too manly to hug.
  • Howie Mandel in Deal or No Deal always greeted contestants with a fist-bump. He has misophobia (fear of contamination/germs) and is too uncomfortable to shake hands.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Kripke wants to do "fist bump" with Sheldon. But Sheldon doesn't get that and just grabs Kripke's fist and tries to shake hands.

    Toys 
  • For the Toa in BIONICLE, this is a standard greeting. They may have been doing it before it became popular in Real Life.

    Video Games 
  • In many of the games that take place after Street Fighter III, if Ryu and Ken are battling each other in a VS. match, they will fist bump each other before the start.
  • Playstation Move Heroes features one of the most adorable brofists ever in its ending, between Ratchet and Clank.
  • In Psychonauts, Edgar goes to fist bump Raz, and Raz jumps back, thinking he's about to attack. He pauses and then returns the fist bump.
  • Roxas and Hayner exchange one of these early on in Kingdom Hearts II
    • Sora and Riku do so as well after using Riku's Eternal Session Limit Break.
  • Super Robot Wars Z2: Saisei-hen has one between Dancougar and Dancougar Nova at the end of their Combination Attack; fans quickly dubbed it the DanKuu Brofist.
  • In CreaVures, after Bitey helps Pokey to swing over a pit, the pair bump fists.
  • An absolutely heartbreaking examples happens in Asura's Wrath Yasha, Asura's rival, dies standing up, mid-punch, and before he Disappears into Light, Asura does this.
  • It takes a game and a half for brothers Asbel and Hubert to repair their relationship in Tales of Graces, but the brofist at the end is so worth it.
  • Some players in Mass Effect 3's multiplayer do this when playing as batarians. Since the batarians' heavy melee attack is a strong punch, and melee doesn't harm your teammates, two batarian players will occasionally punch each other during downtime to simulate the gesture. It's known as the "batarian brofist".
  • During Makoto's gag reel in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift, Valkenhayn (playing the role of Makoto's clumsy brother) claims he did this with another guy, except he missed his mark. The result:
    Makoto: You punched through a guy's head? WTF bro?!

    Webcomics 
  • Penny Arcade shows us how it's done.
  • While Jack and Max are fighting, they punch each others fists. Max interprets this as the greatest fist-bump ever.
  • Dead Winter features several instances of the girls sharing a bropound.
  • Homestuck: Dave Strider gives brofists a few times, usually to Li'l Cal (until the latter started to creep him out too much). Eridan and Feferi also give each other a fistbunp (note spelling) to symbolize their moirallegiance relationship.
  • DOUBLE K shows us how it's done.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Boxers do it before the match, because their boxing gloves make handshaking practically impossible.
    • Batsmen in cricket acknowledge each other similarly, given their padded gloves are only marginally more dexterous than boxing gloves.
  • Obama's "terrorist fist jab" - Barack Obama and his wife Michelle share a fist bump, Fox News host freaks out that it's a sign they support terrorism. Said host is fired, surprising some.

Dap Greeting

"You know who I am, right?" "Yeah, I know."

A more 'fun' version. Though it can refer to many kinds of greetings involving hand contact, dap is best known as a complicated routine of shakes, slaps, snaps, and other contact that must be known completely by both parties involved. Often includes a Pound Hug.

A Secret Handshake usually takes this form.

    Anime and Manga 

    Film 
  • All over the place in 8 Mile.
  • Shaun and Milky do this in This Is England after the skinheads drive Shaun home.
  • Played for laughs in Undercover Brother, where the password for getting into the BROTHERHOOD headquarters is doing this with a mechanical arm.

    Video Games 
  • Done between Solid Snake and Otacon in Metal Gear Solid 2.
    • Parodied by Peachi (along with everything else)here.
  • Perfect the handshake expression in Fable III and the hero does one of these.
    "SLAP SLAP PUNCH"
  • Leia and Alvin in Tales of Xillia perform one of the most complicated handshakes ever.

    Western Animation 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Call of the Cutie", the two snooty girls Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon do something like this. "Bump, bump, Sugarlump Rump!"
    • Twilight Sparkle and Princess Cadance have their own version: "Sunshine! Sunshine! Ladybugs awake! Clap your hooves and do a little shake!" It becomes a plot point when the fake Cadance doesn't recognize it, tipping Twilight off that something is wrong; the real Princess Cadance performs this to prove to Twilight that she's the real one.

    Real Life 
  • In the French suburbs, the staple teenager salute is a small sideways tap followed by a light fist bump.
  • Also common in America, though it's much more common among non-white males than any other group.
    • It's also quite prevalent among junior high and high school girls. Often accompanied with a rhyme.
    • Common in the Massachusetts area, though it very simple compared to other versions.

Peace Sign

"Hi! Aren't you happy? I'm happy!"

Falling heavily out of favor recently, the Peace Sign is a leftover from the 'hippie days'. It involves making a V with one's index and middle finger while curling the remaining digits, and then holding the hand up near the shoulder. The "V for Victory" variation—in which the hand is held out triumphantly, similar to Giving Someone the Pointer Finger—is far more common in Anime than in western media.

Please note, if you are visiting England, always perform this gesture with the palm facing OUT — if you give this sign with the palm facing towards yourself, you are essentially giving the person the British equivalent of Flipping the Bird.

    Live-Action TV 
  • How I Met Your Mother From the first season episode "Game Night":
    Suit: Dude, that your g-friend? All right, high five!
    Young Barney: Sorry, I only give high twos.

Handshake RefusalHand TropesHand Signals
Hand RubbingBody LanguageHappy Dance
The BerserkerImageSource/Anime & MangaNow That's Using Your Teeth

alternative title(s): Bro Fist
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