Thursday, 28 May 2015

What's wrong with a handshake?

Can I just ask, what's with all the air-kissing and hugging these days?

Call me old fashioned, but when I'm meeting somebody I don't know particularly well, I think that shaking hands is a perfectly acceptable form of greeting.

In a 'previous life' I soon found out that in the industry in which I was working air-kissing was the expected greeting at meetings, from males, females, young and old.

I still cringe at the awkwardness of proffering a hand for a handshake, only to find the recipient closing in for a kiss - yes, this happened to me, and I was left whacking him in the stomach, but I know it could have been so much worse.  Gives a whole new unfortunate dimension to the term 'pressing the flesh'!

I was beginning to wonder if I was unusual in that I reserve hugging and kissing for family members or close friends, however, having asked around, I realise I'm not alone.

Generally, the feeling seems to be that a hand-shake is always perfectly acceptable.  In fact, more than that - I would say that it should be the only form of greeting in a business environment.

A hand-shake can't be misconstrued - it is what it is.  A social pleasantry, complete with a formal 'How do you do?' or more informally 'Pleased to meet you'.  Nobody can be offended by that.

Whereas social kissing is a minefield.  Which cheek do you go for first?  If you get it wrong you clash noses at best, and end up head-butting somebody at worst. 

How many times do you do it - one on each cheek, or maybe a third (kiss, not cheek), but surely no more than three?  What if you end up kissing the person's ear?  It's just awful.

But worst of all are those who try to kiss others on the lips in a social greeting context.  Please, nobody try that on me - I reserve the right to turn my head so we at best clash noses!

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