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What does it mean to poke someone?

Updated July 20, 2017

Do you need to get someone's attention but do not want to say anything out loud? Giving someone a good poke will get them to turn their attention toward you. Poking can be used in situations where you need to be quiet, but still need to grab someone's attention, or possibly if you need to be discreet about speaking with them. You can also poke someone if simply saying something verbally does not get their attention.

How to Poke

A poke is a simple motion using your index finger. If you extend your index finger like you are pointing at an object, and then push your finger so it makes contact with the person, you just poked them. To make sure you are not being rude, you must monitor the hardness of your poke. You want to poke a person hard enough so they realise that they are being poked, but not too hard where it cause any sort of pain.

It is good to note that some people who are being poked may ignore you at first, however that does not mean that they are not aware that you are there, they could possibly be finishing an activity, such as a conversation or e-mail, before getting back to you instantly. If you wait a few moments and they have not given you their attention, use your best discretion on whether or not to poke again. Poking, although useful, can be annoying if you are poked constantly in a short period of time.

It is also helpful to realise that not everyone likes to be touched. If for some reason you poke someone and they seem upset by the fact that you invaded their personal space, it would be best not poke that individual again. You may want to use other tactics such as calling their name (if you know it) or clearing your throat. A common polite phrase to get someone's attention is "excuse me."

Another method of getting someone's attention that is similar to a poke, is tapping an individual on their shoulder. This is helpful when the individual is completely turned away from you and the only spot available to touch (appropriately) is their shoulder. Some may say a tap is more acceptable than a poke, but that is up to the individual.

Facebook Poke

If you are thinking about the act of poking through the social network Facebook, the poke is something entirely different. Although you are still trying to get someone's attention, you are not physically touching them when you poke them through Facebook. A Facebook poke is a virtual poke that will create a message on the person you are poking's profile that says they were just poked by you. They then have the option to poke back, or basically ignore you.

Why poke on Facebook? There is not just one real reason to poke someone, but you may be trying to get their attention, be bored or possibly trying to flirt.

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About the Author

Matt Haupt has began writing professionally since 2008 on his own personal blog. He now currently writes copy for his company's Web site and weekly newsletter as their marketing coordinator. Matt Haupt is a graduate from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Advertising, and is currently pursuing an Associate degree in Web development from Baker College.