This past weekend, I dragged Amanda Jones and Lady Di with me to the going away dinner for one of my former co-workers. I was sad to see him go, but happy for him and his new opportunity at the same time. As we were all parting ways the topic of hello/good-bye greeting rituals in other countries came up. A kiss on each cheek for Quebec, Spain, Portugal, or Mexico (among other countries I’m sure) and one extra kiss for a total of three air/cheek kisses from the Swiss, French, and I believe Italians (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t feel like looking it up). I have experienced most of these customary cheek and air kiss greetings since I was little. We laughingly discussed those that we’ve sometimes encountered that will skip the cheek and try to kiss you on the lips catching you completely off guard. Most of the time you just laugh it off and escape politely as quickly as possible.
Funny enough, Lady Di and I were just trying to explain how lengthy of a process saying hello and good-bye can be just a few days prior to two of our new guy friends Jamie (native Irishman) and Robert (a native Brit) when we go out. Our expansive circle of friends seems to have adopted the hug as our official hello and goodbye greeting. For the most part, the hugging stays manageable, but with one particular group of friends that we have in common it can be endless. The problem (although it’s a welcome issue) is that we all know each other, and there are certain events that can bring us all together…it is then that a few hugs can turn into literally hundreds. I’m not sure how it began, but we all do it and most new people generally take to it very quickly as well.