Greeting each other when meeting: shaking hands, kisses, hugs...
Some people consider to be poor manners if a man shakes hands with a woman for first time... What is your way of greeting other people when meeting for first time?
When in Rome act like a Roman.
I would follow the local customs. In the USA, I would shake hands, if in Europe, etc. I would follow the other person's lead. If I knew the local custom, I would put aside my own standards and try to adopt the other person's.
Of course, gender, age, context (formal or informal meeting) would all effect my course of action.
Quentin, I seriously doubt you would be able to adapt here
We kiss everybody, new friends, the boss, somebody you know....everybody is kissed on both cheeks and hugged, men and women alike.
Men shake hands, but you will be hugged and kissed by all women here and expected to kiss and hug back
In Mexico, as is the custom, if it's not a formal situation, I kiss a woman on the cheek. (If it's formal, I shake hands - gingerly). With a man, I shake hands.
In the USA, I shake hands with both men & women.
In Russia, I say "????? ???????" and no physical contact with a woman. With a man, I shake hands.
In the U.S., it is customary for men to shake the hand of a woman when being introduced by another person. Usually, if a woman and man are introducing themselves to each other, they just say "hello" and begin talking.
When we meet people we know, it is common for women to hug other men or women. Men usually just shake hands with each other, although there is the newly popular "bro hug". Some examples (The "bro" hug is at the end. )
Occasionally, we will kiss someone on the cheek, but only once. I know in Europe, it is customary to kiss once on each cheek. However, that is not done in America.
In Costa Rica when I meet a woman for the first time as I shake her hand move a little closer at the same time. If she offers her cheek, I give her a kiss, if she does not I leave it as a hand shake. Most women present the cheek.
A kind of 'fake kiss' is very usual... it's like this: just touch cheek with cheek and make a 'muak' sound with your lips but without really kissin other person's cheek. That's weird!
Please let me share my extensive experience as a most manly man in the US. I've added a list below because greeting people can be a little confusing:
In professional environments (meetings, school, work, etc.) it is customary to shake hands with both men and women in the same manner - without showing charm for women. However, when shaking hands with a man ALWAYS raise one eyebrow while staring him in the eyes. If you can raise an eyebrow and wink at the same time, even better!
With, women, and female friends it's fine to hug and kiss. However, it's not something everybody does, so it takes a little experience judging body language. Often, the woman may place her LEFT hand firmly on your right buttock, but this is a polite way of saying 'hey pal.. what's up?'. The proper response by the man is not what you would expect though; you NEVER want to place your left hand on the woman's right buttock, this is just plain rude. The proper response is for the man to place his right hand on the top of her head, and pet it 5 times.
Greetings between us MANLY men or often a more theatrical performance than a greeting. For instance, maybe a bro-hug amongst buddies is warranted, but in the Baltimore-Washington area we tend to prefer the 'knuckle-tap', and/or a solid punch to the left shoulder. If the knuckle-tap/shoulder punch goes well, we will proceed to the finger-grab, top and bottom hand smack combination greeting. This is proper etiquette for friends, but not women, or your boss.... that would just be silly. When in a bar, it is accepted etiquette to jump into the air, and 'chest-bump' each other, but only if the women are watching... because, trust me, the air-borne chest-bump really impresses the women - and like a fine bottle of wine, you never want to waste one! Truly advanced male greeters can pull off the 'jumping chest bump with high-five' followed by a very loud primordial scream. But beware, if you are near them you may be expected to participate.
Finally, if you try any of the above be prepared to run. Because chances are someone will be pretty mad at you... so maybe it's just best to just shake hands and move along, unless someone comes at you with a hug or kiss first.
You know how reserved the British are "supposed to be" - well I like all the kissing and hugging. How else would I get any?
Now I know what a kiss from an unshaven man feels like - so I buy new razor blades frequently.
Some of us old timers here in the US will remember that you only shake a woman's hand if she first offers it to you otherwise just smile and say hello.
First time meetings in Guatemala:
- man meets man ... handshake
- woman meets woman ... cheek to cheek "kisses"
- man meets woman ... arm to arm touches
The man - woman greeting (arm to arm touches) is different than what I have experienced in other countries. The man and woman reach out to each other with whichever arm is closest ... if a woman is slightly to my left (but facing me) then I reach out with my left arm while she reaches out with her right. With our hands we then touch each other just above the elbow. This greeting can be done with either arm, whichever is more convenient. If I reach out with my right arm, the woman would reach out with her left; again we would touch each other just above the elbow.
i would just say hello in my language. no physical contact. its different in canada though. but in some cultures, you cant even make eye contact.
In the Philippines and more than 30 years ago, only men exchange handshakes on first meeting. It was considered almost taboo for the opposite sex meeting for the first time to touch each other. Even women do not exchange handshakes as the gesture was considered a masculine behavior. Eventually, it has become customary for everyone to shake hands on first meeting. In that way, it seems that we have adopted the American way.
Close friends (among women or between men and women) who have not seen each other for some time would at times hug, but more often just exchange cheek-to-cheek "kisses", which we call here as beso-beso - obviously a Spanish influence. Only men who are very close to each other may go as far as give each other a hug, but normally it will just be a handshake.
If any of you will travel to the Philippines, you can get by with a handshake any time. If you make some very good friends here and it's time to say goodbye, if you feel like it, a beso-beso (but never between 2 men) or even a hug will be all right.
In Russia, it's kiss, kiss, kiss...Left cheek, right cheek, left cheek, woman to woman. Or (often) on the mouth. Yikes!
In the USA, I shake hands with both men & women.
This is what I do with people I meet for the first time and with business associates. After a first meeting my new/old friends usually give a hug or a kiss on the cheek.
I was just reading Heidita´s post and as she says everyone here kisses and kisses and kisses. - both cheeks. When I first moved to Spain everybody kissed me and I promptly got facial herpes so now I try and avoid it but it is´nt easy. The Brits. have taken over and I think it looks stupid seeing crowds of ex-pats copying what is a Spanish custom especially when there are large groups meeting in the supermarket, at class in the street or on the beach. People going back to UK regularly step off the aircraft with all kinds of bugs and coughs and colds and make a beeline for you when they see you - now I just kiss my hand and wave it at everyone and say Hi. When I´m with Spanish people - yes it´s still a kiss on each cheek - well it would be rude not to would´nt it! Mind you there was an article in a Spanish newspaper last year telling people to avoid kissing when meeting to try and control the spread of Gripe A that was going round like wildfire at the time..