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The 8 Claps Everyone Needs to Know

Clap better, live better.

If Americans want to show appreciation at anything except a funeral or a Lutheran church service, they clap. But what many people don’t realize is that smacking one’s hands together has far more uses than signaling respect.

Clapping can be used to convey almost limitless different messages. It can taunt, it can show pity, or it can show suave and reserve, just like a smile.

Smiles are old news. They’ve been used for millennia, and to be honest, smiling is boring. Anyone can get their message across with a smile.

That’s why claps are the new smiles. In this modern world, if you can’t clap, your life’s a wrap. You’ve got to have diverse communication skills to make it in this ever-changing world.

To help you out, I’ve made a list of the top 8 claps you absolutely have to have in your arsenal, in order of least genuine to most.

1. The Get Clapped Clap

Get Clapped Clap Demonstration

Contrary to what Vince Lombardi says, winning isn’t everything. Trash talk is. When the situation is right, it’s more important to win the verbal battle than the physical one. If you’re playing a tight game of pickleball, no one will remember who won. They’ll remember who thoroughly roasted their opponents instead.

Clever quips are great, but you take your trash game to another level by using the Get Clapped Clap. The best response to creaming your foes isn’t always yelling something funny. Sometimes it’s better to stand silently and clap.

There’s two methods for the Get Clapped Clap. If you’re clapping for yourself (e.g. after landing a devastating shot), clap forcefully and rhythmically while bobbing your head. Accompany this with several grunts, and your enemies will quiver in fear.

The more refined method is to clap ironically when your nemeses mess up. Clap very slowly and shake your head side to side. Emphasize your sarcasm by dropping an occasional, “Wow.”

This method must be applied very tastefully. If you are winning by a large margin, you will probably come across as extremely rude. If it’s a close game and your opponents are good sports or if you are losing, it will be received better.

Use at your own discretion.

2. The Golf Clap

Golf Clap Demonstration

The Golf Clap is the ideal clap for golfing.


But it also has other uses: after an awful pun, after a mediocre violin solo, and when you’re trying not to be move quickly so your humongous hat stays on your head.

To Golf Clap, smack one hand with the first two fingers of the other. Do this in a very reserved manner.

And while smiling is of course a thing of the past, the Golf Clap goes well with a condescending smirk.

By effectively Golf Clapping, you will make yourself appear aloof and definitely superior. This is helpful if you are at a kindergarten tea party, so make sure to keep the Golf Clap in your back pocket.

Until you need to use it. It’s hard to clap with your hands in your pants.

3. The I Don’t Give a Clap

I Don't Give a Clap Demonstration

Sometimes you don’t want to clap. Unfortunately, there are many circumstances when you are required to. In those cases, it is best to make it obvious that you are forced to clap but if you had it your way you most certainly would not be.

(In fact, most overly polite society ends up like this. Every follows the rules, but makes it obvious that they’d really rather not. Thus, you’ll be very polite by doing the I Don’t Give a Clap)

To do the I Don’t Give a Clap, it is best to be seated. Lean back as far as possible in the chair, and spread your arms as wide as possible between each clap. Make sure to look off into space over your right shoulder, and for dramatic effect smolder.

4. The Snap

Snap Clap Demonstration

After a really good guitar riff or AeroPress mocha, you might need to show appreciation with the Snap.

Beware! You will seem extremely hipster.

Make sure you are not one of the people who believes they have transcended above the lowly world of clapping. If you’re aiming for pretentious, stick to the Golf Clap. Instead, save this for when you are trying to fit in with a group of trendy trenders while reserving a touch of your humanity.

The technique is easy: just snap. However, you need to make sure you start snapping before anyone starts clapping. The other hipsters will glance at you with a mix of awe and confusion and start snapping as well.

If the claps get going first you’ll be drowned out with the Snap, so resort to one of the other options.

5. The Clappetizer

Clappetizer Demonstration

Iconic. Impressive. And extremely confusing.

To perform the Clappetizer, take a midsize windup and clap. Then stop.

The single clap will leave people wondering what you meant. Did you like it? Did you hate it? Were you just signaling “E” in Morse Code?

Don’t feel any of the tension that others are feeling. After you clap, lean back in a relaxed manner, and calmly survey the overexcited galoots who are still clapping.

If you feel inclined, you can add another clap after several moments. The general effect of the Clappetizer is to leave everyone hungry, their appetites whetted by your single clap, begging for just one more clap.

6. The Good Chap Clap

Good Chap Clap Demonstration

To be performed when someone acts like a Good Chap.

Hold your hands up at chin level and clap at moderate pace, grinning maniacally. If the Chap is Good enough, you might even rise slowly from your seat until you are giving a standing ovation.

The Good Chap Clap is difficult, because it can easily become a basic Clap. The keys to distinguishing it are to keep the hands elevated and beam like a lunatic.

Perhaps you noticed, I am again contradicting myself about smiling. Great job! *performs I Don’t Give a Clap, Golf Clap, and Get Clapped Clap in rapid succession*

7. The Gospel Clap

Gospel Clap Demonstration

For moments of extreme enthusiasm only.

When you are carried away by a spirited jam or something else, you might whip out the gospel clap. Raise the hands above your head and perform a small shuffle step while clapping to a beat.

The Gospel Clap is only effective if performed with obscene amounts of pep. Anything less will seem extremely corny!

But, if one is enthusiastic enough, it is possible to create a flash mob of Gospel Clappers. It is nice to be able to use this as a fallback move when things get awkward on the dance floor.

8. The Proud Parent Clap

Proud Parent Clap Demonstration

Occasionally, you might actually be swept away by a performance. If this happens to you, use the Proud Parent Clap.

Do not hesitate. As the last note rings out, leap from your seat. Fling your hands into the air and clap as quickly and as vigorously as possible. Yell some sweet nothings into the air. Whistle. Scream.

If you’re not surrounded by other cheerers, you will at best seem absurd; at worst, obnoxious. You might even be thumped if you’re obnoxious enough. I highly recommend saving this clap for only the best performances.

Mastery and Beyond

Once you have added all eight of these claps to your repertoire, you are well prepared to fit seamlessly into society. Perhaps you will even invent your own claps!

If I missed any important claps, please explain my errors in the comments below.

Dashing? Not? Say how you feel!

3 thoughts on “The 8 Claps Everyone Needs to Know”

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