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 🙂