Having followed very different life styles over the course of pretty much all my adult life — living, studying and working in a number of different countries and travelling in many more — I have picked up a number of behaviors, habits and views on people and their cultures etc., all which I most likely would not have had I spent my life in Nepal.

For instance, I greet people in a number of different ways. What’s more, how I greet someone says something about not only the nationality and culture of the person, but also how I see/view them! 🙂

Here’s a tongue-in-cheek look at what how I greet a person says about the region they come from or their nationality.

A handshake, unless I know or am close to him, in which case a handshake and a hug. North American man
Also a handshake unless I know or am close to her, in which case a hug. North American woman
A handshake. British Man
Also a handshake unless I know her then a hug. British Woman
A handshake. (It’s awkward hugging them, what with the height differential!) Dutch/Belgian man
Three kisses on the cheek. Dutch/Belgian woman
A handshake, unless I know or am close to him, then a hug. Other European (except Italian and Spanish) man
Two kisses on the cheek. Other European (except Italian and Spanish) woman
A handshake, unless I know or am close to him, then a hug. Latin American man
A handshake, unless I know her then a hug and possibly a kiss on the cheek. Latin American woman
A bear hug. Italian and Spanish man
Two kisses on the cheek and a bear hug. Italian and Spanish woman
A Namaste (Nepalese and Indian greeting) unless I know him then a handshake, and if I am close to him, then a handshake AND a hug. Nepalese (or Indian) man
Also a Namaste, unless I know her well, then a hug. Nepalese (or Indian) woman
A handshake…if he offers his hand, unless I know him well in which case there would certainly be a handshake and possibly even a hug! Arab/Muslim man
One of the above depending how well I know her. If she is hidden behind a veil of fabric (i.e. a burqa) then of course nothing! Just a, “Hello!” Arab/Muslim woman

Of course, where I meet the person (whether somewhere in Europe, Africa, Asia or North America), the make-up of the social setting (whether mostly expats or locals) and what I think how the other person sees me also affects the way I greet them!

Sometimes, going for the hug and/or kiss confuses them because of my nationality!

Hugs, I must however add, are my favorite mode of greeting! What about you?

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