The Finger Circle


The following is a folk game that I used to play with my friend back in high school. We both went to school together in Oregon, from middle school through high school so I have known him for a while. The following are the rules of how to play the infamous finger circle game. My friend is still at home so I asked him to retell the story while I recorded him. This is a direct transcribed script of what was said in the story, with the various “umm’s” and “uhh’s” omitted. 

The Game

“Alright, what exactly do you want me to talk about? Like just the game itself?”

Me: Ya, just say how the game actually works and where you learned it and stuff.

“Ohh, okay, so the classic finger circle game is something I learned… hmm, probably before high school I think, I’m not really sure. It’s just kinda one of those games you remember but you never know who did it to you first. So how it works is, you make a circle with your fingers… the pointer finger and thumb. And then you have your other three fingers, they stick out like this, *does it*. Oh it’s like the dumb thing that people always claim is like the symbol for white power. No people. It’s the finger circle game, stop ruining it. We don’t want another Pepe the Frog. Okay right, back to the game. So you make your hand like this right, and then you put it below your waist like this, *does, and then goes to punch me*. Ha! Categorically outplayed nerd.” 

Me: Bruh stop, *laughing*, can you just explain what happens. They can’t see you this is just, it’s just the audio, not a video.

“Okay, so what you people need to hear, I put the finger circle down here *tries to get me again*, [name] looked at it, and so I legally now get to punch him.”

Me: Okay but say more, like what are the actual rules.

“Oh my, okay, so I think it’s different based on who you play it with and who they got it from, but the way I play is you make the finger circle and then you put it below your waist and if another person looks at it then you get to punch them. Other people might have it be like, below the knee or something but that’s dumb. Then of course there’s the variant rules, but I don’t know if they’re ready for that.”

Me: Dude just tell me. 

“Okay okay, so then there’s this other rule that if the person that sees it can stick their finger in the hole before the other person gets rid of it, then that person gets to punch the first person twice. Then, ya I know, so many rules, then, if the original finger circle guy can close his fingers around the second’s finger, that guy gets to punch the victim three times. Let’s see… I don’t think I’m missing anything. There aren’t really winners, but if you can outsmart the person into looking at it then you won, like I just did, ha loser. Is that all I need to say?”

Me: Yup, that’s good.


This piece of folklore was something that I knew about originally, but hearing it from another person was also interesting. My friend talked about the different versions of the game, which I knew, but we had always just played the one way: i.e. below the waist and including the variant rules. Also, when I say rules, they aren’t written rules. They are just kind of passed along rules to how the game should work. Some people online may have written the rules but we don’t, and I’m pretty sure most people aren’t, googling the rules to the finger circle game. Mostly, because it doesn’t matter that much, but also because each group kind of has their own rules that they play by.