Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's Different - Greetings

Here in Paraguay greetings are a little different!  The first time you meet someone, you shake hands.   Generally, after that, you would give that person a kiss on each cheek.   

Here are the rules (as I understand them):
     Man to man - shake hands or hug if a close friend
     Woman to man - man waits for women to lean in, then he knows it is ok to give the kiss greeting.  If woman is uncomfortable for whatever reason, she offers her hand instead.  Normally, however, here is no problem with giving the kiss greeting to a man.  
     Woman to woman - a kiss on each cheek
     Dignitaries or other important people - shake hands to show respect

It's also important to greet everyone in the room when you enter.  North Americans are notorious for entering a room and just giving a "hey, howdy, hey!" to everyone.  That is considered very rude to a Latin.  Here you enter a room, and go around the room greeting each person.  When you depart from a gathering, you should generally also say goodbye to everyone individually.  The handshake or kiss is repeated at departure.

The population of the Paraguayan Chaco where we live is about one half Mennonites.  I just found out that they greet each other with a handshake or a hug if they are close friends.  Oops!   I had been giving the kiss greeting for about two months!  Obviously being Paraguayans they are familiar with the kiss greeting so as far as I understand it wasn't offensive, just not the way they normally do it. 

As a side note, Honey and I found it difficult when we were home in the US last year to remember NOT to give the kiss on the cheek at greeting.  It's funny how you get so used to one way of doing things, you don't even realize it's become a part of you! 

See you next Wednesday for the next installment of What's Different!  If there is something specific you are interested in, let me know in the comments!  I love comments!  :)


the Chacogirl said...

Love your post today! If you start thinking about it, the greetings are probably different in every culture. Never thought about it much before. Have a great day!

Glitter and Bliss said...

Wow!!! I certainly learned something today. That is interesting. Leaning in to accept a kiss would certainly take a little getting used to. Hey!!! Did you ever get my necklace??? I so hope it found its way to you. Hugs.... (and ...a kiss on the cheek...) :) Leslie

Betty said...

I´ve lived here for so long and I sometime don´t know how to greet the next person, be it indigenous, Mennonite, Paraguayan or Brazilian. Mostly it´s the hand shake though.

jennykate77 said...

I LOVE these posts! It's so fun learning about another culture. I like the way they greet each's very personal.

Hope you're having a great week over there in Paraguay! ♥

Julie said...

hahahaha, I'm laughing because of the Menno exception. So true! The biggest "what's different" for me here is the toilet paper in the waste basket.

Stew Fam said...

Yeah, they do a lot of smooching here in Brasil too:) Some do the long cheek kiss, or the double side one, I am never prepared for that one! I almost kiss them on the face! Your blog is tops Shi! love you.

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

I love it! I still get confused about whether or not to kiss a man...

I had a fella land one on my lips once on purpose in my confusion. That wasn't cool at all, but generally, I like the custom!

Tim and Susan said...

We still catch ourselves slightly bowing our heads in greetings to Americans since we are used to that in Japan. You can even see people bowing when on the phone...Funny, huh?

We having British friends we work with in Japan and are used to the kiss on the cheek...but it did catch me off guard at first.

Susie from Bienvenue said...

That is so funny. Down here in the south everyone kisses...hehe~ Thank you for the prayers for Mrs Jane. She is doing well today!

New Every Morning said...

These "what's different" posts are great! Keep them coming!

B said...

It's surprising how many cultures DO greet with a kiss. It seems we americans are the only ones who are "boring" when we greet. With the Lebanese it's three kisses and some German MEN great each other with a kiss too!


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