Can I kiss you yet? (greeting people)
I have lived in Costa Rica for one month, and I have lived in Jalisco, Mexico, also for one month. Throughout my stays I was able to determine a few things about greetings.
For men, a handshake is standard.
For women, a kiss on the cheek is the norm.
Between men and women is where I myself, as a man of 27 years, have a problem. When I was in Jalisco, an exchange student from Arkansas who had been living there already for 2 years told me that you should never initiate the FIRST cheek-peck; that it is up to the girl to do it.
Well, I appreciate your comments. Also, please add any additional info!
I don't go with the exchange student. In my experience it's just the expected norm so it doesnt matter who gets there first.
I think that you should listen to someone who has been there for two years. Also, try to observe others rather than asking, as sometimes its easier to see things than to ask. In my experience, if a man does approach a female for a kiss on the cheek, he better be a relative! Once you get to know someone, you'll know what to do. It's sort of like, some men greet each other with palmeadas on the back, with an abrazo, when they know each other.
The thing with kissing is that it depends a lot on where you are and even the social group you are in.
Some men might take it upon themselves to kiss the girl first but they better be sure of what they are doing as offense could be deep and unerasable.
As an older man I might take it upon myself to greet affectionately my daughter's friends with a kiss as I am 'like their father' but even I don't take that risk!
It is always better to play it safe especially when you are not a native and are not sure of what to do.
As Millie says, observe and learn from what others do.
If a man takes the intiative ask him (as a foreigner) to explain to you why he did take the intiative.
Ask the girls you know what they think and what would they have done if you had initiated the kiss.
After all it is more important what the girls think not what the guys think!
we mexicans love to kiss each other.. I know it may sound strange for people from other countries, but we find it absolutely normal. maybe between older people, lets say... over 35 or 40 handshaking is enough, it also depends on how formal is the first contact. You may not kiss cheeks when making business. but friends''''always! we´ve been doing it since the world became round!
When I went to Mexico and traveled for 7 weeks everyone we met we kissed. It takes getting use to. It kind of is exhausting kissing lots of new people and kind of awkward coming into another country.
The worse place for kissing is Holland. There it is traditional to kiss on each cheek and then do another one to make a total of three. It is OK if you both start on opposite cheeks. If you don't, you bang your noses together! I always used to hold my arm out a long way to shake hands - just to avoid all that kissing business.
In Cuba, you say hello to everyone- older, younger, your age- with a kiss on the cheek.
A man may greet another man with a handshake, pat on the back or even a hug (its normal!).
Business or student-teacher relationship are conditional and may have a different greeting which is established (silently agreed upon) by those there.
It depends on every encounter because sometimes the girl will kiss (place her lips) on the guy's cheek and other times the guy will place his lips on the girl's cheek.
It means nothing but hello either way.
Conversely, if you don't feel comfortable with placing your lips on her cheek, then just place your cheek against hers.
This is the expected and accepted and preferred style of greeting (even those whom you have never meet before).
If you are shy or unsure, don't be embarrassed to say that there is a culture difference that you do not feel comfortable crossing the boundaries. Though they will not understand why in your country you don't greet with a kiss, HOWEVER they will respect you and your wishes.
GOOD LUCK!!!! BUENAS SUERTE!!!!!