Photo by Piez
Like a lot of people, I worry about first impressions. Is my handshake firm enough? How about the amount of eye contactâ€”is it too much, or too little? But when introduced to my roommate’s friend the other day, I wasn’t prepared for what came next: She leaned in for a kiss.
At least that’s what I thought. She brought her face close to mine and turned her head slightly away. Playing it cool even though I had no idea what to do, I followed her lead. As she gracefully blew a kiss past me without the slightest physical contact, I planted a loud, wet smooch on her cheek.
Do you hear that? It’s the sound of my hand hitting my forehead. At least I didn’t get her on the lips. But what if I had turned my head the wrong way? Here’s the deal: I have no problem with the kiss greeting. What gets me is the lack of consistency. Do you kiss one cheek or both? Or is it three kisses? Which cheek is first? Do you air-kiss or actually make contact? And what do you do with your arms? A hug seems too intimate, but keeping your hands by your sides just feels wrong.
It would be one thing if the problem were simply a matter of national or cultural differences. But even people from countries where kiss greetings are common admit that there are no consistent rules. What’s the point of discussing etiquette if there are no rules?
My fellow Answerers, please help. Can you suggest some general guidelines for kiss greetings?
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