Friday, December 21, 2012

To Hug, or Not To Hug.

The Christmas season is a very confusing time for me because there are always many get togethers to attend and, inevitably, a lot of wishing of 'Merry Christmas'. I like hugs as much as the next person but I can never tell when I'm supposed to give a hug, or just stick my hand out, or when its meant to be a no contact 'Merry Christmas'. For people that I don't know very well, I usually move to shake hands and let them decide if they want to convert it to a hug or not. For the people I do know, and who I know are huggers, I usually give them a hug straight away. Sometimes, there are kisses thrown in to confuse me even further! Am I supposed to give them a kiss too? Is it meant to be an air kiss or a real peck on the cheek? And lets not forget the confusion of one, two or more kisses.

Obviously, I've consulted the internet on what should be done. It hasn't been extremely helpful but I came across a few interesting articles.

Pocket Cultures has a short article entitled Kiss, Hug or Shake Hands? It summarizes the types of greetings that are commonplace in Argentina, Brazil, Great Britain, Romania, Singapore and India. Its not just about the hugs and kisses, there is also a guide on what the usual response should be to the simple question of 'How are you?'

This article from the BBC is lengthy but offers a quick guide on the number of kisses:

Four: Paris
Three: Brittany, Netherlands, Belgium (if other person 10 years older), Egypt, Russia, Switzerland
Two: Spain, Austria, Hungary, Greece, some parts of France
One: Belgium
Close friends and family only: Germany, Italy, Middle East (except between male friends)
Don't try it: Japan (bow)

And finally, there was this funny article from The Australian. Its written from a man's perspective on the confusing air kiss. This isn't the only article that mentions it, but it looks like social kissing in Australia is a fairly recent, 'fashionable', behavior.

Anyway, there are three days left to Christmas so I'll be putting my hugs into practice. I don't think I'm advancing to the social kissing level yet but who knows, maybe next year.


John Hill said...

I find the "man hug" to be the most confusing. For the most part, I'm happy to shake hands.

When it comes to women, although I enjoy hugging, I think it's appropriate to take my cue from the woman. If she holds out her hand, I shake her hand. If she initiates a hug, then a hug it is.

Mike said...

Number of kisses = 0.

Bilbo said...

Hugs and kisses (air or cheek) are the norm in ballroom dance circles.