How to Greet People From Around the World

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment when you go in for a kiss when the other person goes in for a handshake and you end up with a punch in the gut? Here is our guide to greetings around the world so you don’t end up in that awkward situation:

The UK/North America

  • If you haven’t met the person before then it’s best to go for a simple handshake.
  • If you’re attempting to look stylish, or you’re at an impressive event, then you can kiss them on both cheeks.
  • If you are meeting a friend then a friendly hug or a kiss on each cheek is allowed.

South Korea

  • The bow is the traditional Korean greeting
  • When men are meeting someone they know they shake hands, however this does not happen between different genders.
  • Korean women will not shake hands with Western men.
  • Western women, however, may offer their hand to a Korean man.


  • When meeting a girl you can kiss them, one on each cheek.
  • Men stick to handshakes.

The Netherlands

  • The handshake is very important, you shake everyone’s hand on arrival and again when you are leaving
  • When meeting up with a friend it is normal to kiss three times on alternate cheeks.


  • It is normal to kiss everyone of the cheek, just once and always the right cheek


  • In Thailand you greet someone with the ‘Wai’, this is when you press your palms together in a prayer pose, and bow your forehead to touch your fingertips. The higher your hands, the more respect you have for the other person.


  • A typical greeting is when you place your palms together in the prayer position and bow slightly, and say ‘Namaste’.
  • However, when Indian people meet a Westerner they will shake their hand.


  • You no longer have to do the cupped-hand bow; it is now acceptable to do a handshake. If you are in a formal situation, then out of respect you should lower your head.


  • When they are meeting someone they rub their noses together.


  • It is very polite to stick your tongue out at someone; it shows you have no evil thoughts.

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