April 2, 2012
Because We’ve All Wondered About This.
I’ve often been told that I lack certain social skills and am regularly scolded about certain idiosyncrasies I have. “Shaun, why don’t you ever greet people first” or “Shaun, you’re always taking the last piece of cheese” or “Shaun, stop undressing those people with your eyes”.
Something else I often battle with is knowing when to hug, when to shake hands, when to kiss and when to wave. I may be presumptuous, but I’m willing to guess many people suffer the same problem. I’ve often started business meetings on an awkward footing by attempting to kiss or hug prospective clients. It gets even more awkward if they are actually keen on me pulling into them. Friends and family often get annoyed when I give them a royal wave instead of hugging them on their birthdays. Not as annoyed as The Girlfriend gets when I formally shake hands with a vagrant who has just defecated in the park, and now requests a R5 from me.
So I’ve gone and mapped out scenarios appropriate for hugging, shaking hands, kissing, waving etc. Think of it as a Cheat Sheet, helping you ensure you never pull into your wrinkly old uncle at his 70th birthday because you think it’s the appropriate thing to do. (It isn’t)
Right so here goes:
When to Hug
When to Shake Hands
When to Kiss
When to Wave
It’s appropriate to hug someone when they are a close family member and they have just lost a domestic pet or an expensive electrical appliance. Hugs can also be given out to friends who have been overseas for a period of longer than 6 months. There are different kinds of hugs one can give. There is the Standard Hug, which involves wrapping both your arms around the recipient for a period of 1.5 seconds. (Lingering any longer than that is considered creepy and anti-social)
There is also the Manly Hug carried out by drunk heterosexual males which involves a hand shake followed by an affectionate but firm double tap with your non-shaking hand on the recipient’s back. (ie: You shake with your right hand, pull in and manly hug with your left) NB: You DO NOT double tap them on the small of their back though, it’s more their shoulder blade. The Manly Hug is appropriate if they have given you permission to sleep with their ex or sister. Sometimes it’s even used when you just happen to see them at Tiger Tiger or Deco Dance.
It is not appropriate to Hug: co-workers, drinking buddies, shop assistants, people standing in the queue at the bank, people in wheelchairs, the aged and people with smelly armpits.
Shaking hands is the standard, traditional way of greeting people. You usually shake hands at business meetings, or when you have just been introduced to someone. When you shake hands, it’s important to find a balance between a firm, confident grip, and a limp-wristed weak one. Too firm and confident, and you risk hurting the recipient’s hand and have them immediately resent you. Have a grip that’s too weak though, and they will instantly lose respect for you.
Shaking hands is a non-intimate form of greeting, so it’s very seldom that you shake hands with a friend or family member. The only time this is applicable, is when you are making an irrational and immature bet with a friend (you shake on it to seal the deal) or if you’re shaking your Father-In-Law’s hand as he has officially given you permission to sleep with his daughter on a regular basis (this usually takes place at a ceremony known as a “Wedding”)
It is not appropriate to Shake Hands with: your lover, you immediate family, people with no hands, vagrants, someone who has just been to the toilet and not washed their hands, Joseph Kony.
Some people are big fans of kissing as a greeting. Me, not so much. Kissing on the cheek seems to be a popular form of greeting these days. It’s usually appropriate amongst friends who have just arrived at a social gathering. SOMETIMES, it’s acceptable to give a kiss on the cheek to a girl you have just met. (Guys never kiss other guys as a greeting, unless they are wanting to sleep with them later that night)
Other than that, it’s never really appropriate to kiss someone other than your lover, unless you are a disciple wanting to sell out your Messiah to the Romans. Historically though, that tends to not turn out very well.
It is not appropriate to Kiss: co-workers, the aged, people with bad skin, people with bad breathe, someone helping you at the clothing store, strippers, any female besides your lover (this applies to tongue kisses), other guys (unless that is your thing), people who suffer from Philemaphobia (a fear of kissing)
I don’t care what anyone else says, I enjoy a good wave. It’s impersonal yet polite, and hardly ever ends up being awkward, unless the other person is being full of shit. (“Don’t wave at me, come on over here and give your old aunty a kiss on the lips”)
It is not appropriate to Wave: It’s NEVER not appropriate to wave. If you’re not sure what to do, always go with the wave.
And there you go. Agree? Disagree?
Hit me up in the comments below.
Oakes signing off.
No related posts.