Critical Incident - KISS OR SHAKE HANDS


Shall I lean on to kiss or shake hands?

When we were introducing ourselves, on Monday, I came across this little incident. I met a Bulgarian girl to whom just offered me her hand to shake, it was completely fine.
Then I greeted an Italian girl. I offered her my hand (as I was taught), I didn’t see her leaning towards me. Even though, I’ve lived in Catalonia for 10 years, I still can’t get used to kissing people on the cheeks when you meet them. Naturally, it was a surprise for me.
The Swedish ones were actually another story. One of my friends was talking to a Swedish guy and I was just awkwardly standing next to her, waiting for her to introduce me, or for him to say anything regarding my presence. However, it didn’t happen. In the end, I just said hello to him and shook hands.
Learning point, Italians do indeed lean in for kisses on the cheeks, while Bulgarians and Swedish just prefer to shake hands and have personal space, best if you are the one introducing first.



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