Hug? Kiss? Handshake? – How Do YOU Greet People?

As a young child it was easy. All I had to do was say “hello,” wave and give a friendly smile. Saying my name wasn’t always necessary because there was usually an adult giving the introductions. Over the years it’s got harder, though, increasingly awkward with each meeting or acquaintance I’ve made. I’m talking about greetings. Not the greetings themselves, but the customary procedures that go with them.

What is the correct way of introducing yourself to someone else? Some people believe it’s a kiss on each cheek, while I’ve noticed others prefer handshakes, or in some cases, just a hug. There are endless possibilities and combinations. In Malaysia people use a “Salaam,” and in France, depending on the region, up to four kisses are given. The whole thing is an unnecessary landmine of errors and awkward tripwires.

Most of the time I end up giving a hug instead of the expected two kisses, or I only give one kiss instead of two. There are endless ways one can go “wrong,” which usually results in a lot of cringing on my part. Simply put: I hate greeting people. I’ve recently got to the age where the cheek-kissing is expected of me. The most confusing part about this is not knowing which cheek to start on, and how many times to kiss. Here in Britain the number tends to be one or two, but you never know which. It’s all extremely hazardous.

Whether or not to kiss also depends on the gender of the two people greeting. If you’re female, it’s normal to kiss other women on the cheek, but when greeting a male, sometimes a handshake is more appropriate – it all depends on the individuals. I’ve met other females who (much to my relief) only expected a hug or, even better, a handshake. But then, I’ve also seen Italian men kiss other men on the cheek as a greeting. There are no set rules.

Another layer of awkwardness is added when a British person is greeting  someone French. When this happens, the Brit usually stops at the second kiss but the French person goes for a third. *Winces* Neither of them are wrong; their cultures are just different. Not to say that the misshapen cheek-kissing mix-up can’t be resolved by a large friendly smile, but… wouldn’t the whole ordeal be prevented by everyone stopping the kiss-upon-greeting custom? Is it honestly too much to ask?

Do you have any cringe-worthy greeting-themed anecdotes you want to share? I’d love to hear them, so comment below XD

Oh, and quickly before I go, here are some interesting blogs I’ve picked for you to check out:

Thanks for reading this. Comment if you liked it, but don’t kiss me on the cheek 🙂

Awkward hug


11 thoughts on “Hug? Kiss? Handshake? – How Do YOU Greet People?

  1. Haha I am so thankful that cheek-kissing is a very un-American thing. Except when I visit my foreign relatives they expect it and it is horrendously awkward.
    I’m still bad at the greetings we do have. The worst is passing an acquaintance in the hallway and not really being sure whether to stare at the ground, enthusiastically embrace them, or somewhere in between!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s the worst: those seven seconds after you’ve made eye contact with an acquaintance and you’re not sure whether to smile and walk past them, or go up to them an greet them! Phew, I’m glad for you the kissing isn’t a very American thing XD


  2. It’s when you both go to kiss cheeks but you end up moving to the same side, so you do in actual fact kiss your friend’s boyfriend full on the mouth. It has happened. *cringe* Oh, and thanks for the mention!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my gosh, it’s SOOO awkward when that happens. Whoa, your friend’s boyfriend? Did you guys laugh and joke about it, or just pretend it never happened?

      Haha, you’re welcome. I just noticed that all the spaces I made to show different paragraphs had disappeared so this whole post was just one dense wad of text! And I’d actually PUBLISHED it like that. Gosh. Well, I’ve changed it now.

      By the way, I’ve REALLY enjoyed reading your blog. I really like your honesty and writing style, and your posts are relatable.


      • It’s just one of those moments when you want the ground to swallow you… Ahahaha yeah, we got a good laugh out of it, nobody minded, thank God!

        Haha it happens to the best of us, right? That’s really very kind of you – I just try to make people smile and point out that nobody’s alone in this; your blog, oh my God I laughed soooo hard reading your posts! Classic.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. In New Zealand, you can add an extra layer of awkwardness. The Maori, in some settings, may go for the traditional hongi, which means pressing your foreheads and noses together for a moment, but they may also decide on a handshake. So which to you do? If you get it wrong, you’re likely to head-butt someone, so the best thing to do is plan to be a step behind so you can pick up the other person’s signals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is crazy! Imagine if you both just stand there for ages waiting to pick up the other person’s signals – it would be a bit like when you are walking in the opposite direction to someone and you both move “out of the way” but in the same direction, so you end up doing a stupid dance and blocking each other!

      Maybe in New Zealand they should just do both (handshake and noses) at the same time to save the confusion… As long as you don’t accidentally end up kissing someone!

      Thanks so much for commenting 🙂


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