So I wrote this for JuST B, but I liked it so much I wanted to put it on here too! So enjoy! http://jstb.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/men-acknowledging-each-other-and-what-is-acceptable/
Okay gentlemen, we all know there are some unwritten/unspoken rules to acknowledging each other. And depending on where you are and who you are with, different rules apply. Here I will compile a short list of these rules so that some of you idiots out there will finally get it right. This means you have no excuse if you use the wrong signal in the wrong situation.
The Up-Nod: This non-verbal gesture is common when passing another male on the street or a sidewalk. Acceptable when you aren’t friends, but mere acquaintances. Generally men who do the Up-Nod are douchebags. The displacement of the Up-Nod directly correlates to the level of douche. (ie, the farther you nod, the more of a douche you are.) Generally try to avoid the Up-Nod, but if a passing man gives you the Up-Nod the appropriate response is an Up-Nod in return. A more favorable response is the Down-Nod.
The Down-Nod: Used in the same situation as the Up-Nod, but is a more classy alternative. It should be executed in small downwards tilt of the chin while maintaining eye contact. Returning a down-nod with a down-nod is more than acceptable. After the return Down-Nod has been recieved continue about your own business.
The Handshake: This classic gesture is used in close contact with other men. It is a formal and general way of greeting and acknowledging. A firm but not a vice-like grip is ideal. The “Limp-Fish” is entirely unacceptable as is any kind of fondling with the fingers. There must be adequate spacing of the thumbs and hand to ensure a valid shake. The shaking motion should last only about 2 seconds, or 2-3 shakes. Two handed shakes are overtly friendly and may be only used to express sheer gratitude or in a very personal situation.
The Bro-shake: A variation on the standard handshake in which both parties must be aware that a Bro-Shake is taking place. There is nothing worse then going in for a standard Handshake and having your acquaintance attempting to do a Bro-Shake. The hand in the Bro-Shake takes the same form as a normal handshake, but rotates it 90 degrees. Bro-Shakes are commonly used by douchebags at sporting events or upon greeting another friend. Bro-shakes should never be used in a formal situation.
The Bro-Hug: The Bro-Hug is an expansion of the Bro-Shake in which both parties have a Bro-Shake. With the other arm, give a single handed hug with the hands coming towards the chest in the middle of the hug. Those who commit a Bro-Hug are generally better friends than those who will only Bro-Shake. A level of intimacy is generally suggested. These suggestions may lead to homosexual activities later between both parties. These parties will immediately deny any homosexuality and comment on how manly they are. We all know the truth.
The Hug: This is only acceptable in certain situations. Both parties must be good friends and understand that hugs are okay and no one will question your sexuality. A hug after an absence of a friend is permitted as long as it lasts no more than 4 seconds. Hugs are also allowed after/during sporting events when a team has won some sort of championship. The one-armed hug is a good way to show your affection or say farewell while still being considerate and likeable. Patting on the back is always encouarged, especially if it is audible enough for all surrounding people.
The Pound: A generally an impersonal way of meeting and greeting your buddies. Those who do the Pound, or the “Fist-Bump” can tend to be germophobic and losers. They see it as their way of fitting in with the larger group of more popular people. Anyone can do the Pound, it doesn’t make you special or stand out. Here at Just B, when present with an opportunity to Pound, we kindly decline for a more respectable method.
The Salute: The two finger salute taken from a general military style. This has been converted from the strict and forceful Salute to a rather causal two finger Salute. Although slightly frowned upon by higher society, this is an easy way to acknowledge your counterpart without inducing vomitting or conversation. Only used in passing, and not as a way to enter or leave a conversation. Don’t be the douche who salutes the group.
The Three-Finger Wave: The thumb, forefinger and middle finger are used is one waving motion from top to bottom. This rather quick signal is an easy way to say hi without every having to say anything. This is the preferred method during passing moments. The Wave: Only use a wave when trying to get attention or noticing a friend from long distances. The Wave is never suitable in a close environment. The Ignore: The most common, and most preferable way to NOT communicating. Do this most often.