Kissing Or Hugging For Social Greeting – Cultural Differences You Can’t Ignore
There are different forms of social greetings; kissing, hugging, handshaking are just few of them. Social greeting gesture varies from country to country, as well as from tribe to tribe.
The greeting style in British is different from what you’ll see in France, what you’ll witness in America is also different from the way it is being done in Africa.
When Americans visit Paris in France for the first time, the behaviour they get wrong mostly about social greeting is the “kiss and hug”. They get it wrong because they assume French people like hugging; they see them always doing a greeting-kiss instead of even handshaking. French people great-kiss but they don’t hug.
They may kiss 2, 3, 4 or even 5 times, but they don’t hug, you’ll be approached on a friendly note, leaning in and air-kiss, no lips on the cheeks.
If you visit Belgium, the Belgian will only give you one kiss when they meet you unlike France, where you can get up to four kisses. The problem here is not about how many kisses you’ll get but about who you want to kiss, which is somehow complicated everywhere.
You can’t just kiss or hug a strange person; you must have a point of contact (friendship or business).
The best way to be safe in Europe is that, in business issues, you offer handshake and if you’re lucky enough, you may be offered for a kiss on your check. If this happen, it mean you’re trusted enough and you can be comfortable around.
You don’t need to feel awkward if you get it wrong, let the locals show you how it’s being done in their country or social circle. Ideally, no one really want to make you uncomfortable and if you don’t know which is being welcome, whether to handshake, kiss or hug, you will be told, just take it as a lesson, be flexible and ready to adjust to their cultural social greeting.
For social greetings in France, your lip shouldn’t touch the other person’s cheek and you can do this for two, three or four times without feeling awkward about it..
So, when you visit Rome, do social greetings as the Romans do, the same is applicable to the African – Nigeria as a very good example, in one of her major tribe (Hausa), the male bend on their knees and shake each others hand and then pronounced their greeting, a similar social greetings to this, is a situation where the male peers shake hands and then touch their chest with the right hand. Female peers don’t make physical contact, so also a male and female don’t have to make physical contact as well.