Yesterday I went to kiss a friend hello and received a hug back, my kiss landing awkwardly somewhere in the air. Last week at a business meeting I went to shake a colleague’s hand and was surprised to get a hug back. A client of mine asked me if it was okay to hug me after a meeting (which it always is) but when I went to hug my next client she was taken aback. Are kisses now reserved for intimate moments with loved ones? What is the proper salutation protocol today?
In France, it’s two ‘air’ kisses on each cheek, in The Netherlands it’s three. In Montreal (where I’m from), we follow the French, generally, yet lately I’m getting more hugs than kisses. When my kids see their friends, regardless of gender, they greet each other with a hug though there definitely seems to be a ‘masculine’ hug (the fist pump then hug) vs. a ‘feminine’ hug (a quick hug) as best I can see. When I was a teenager we greeted with an ‘air kiss’ on each side with a ‘moi’ sound (‘moi moi’).
I was never much of a hugger but I’m starting to see the value. In this world where we know just about everything there is to know about someone before we meet them thanks to Google, I guess we’re more familiar right away anyway. Isn’t hugging more intimate than a ‘fake’ kiss cheek to cheek in the air anyway?
We live in a world where there is so much anger and hate perhaps a little hugging isn’t such a bad thing. Whatever your preference, spreading the ‘love’ or the ‘like’ or just spreading the warmth is always a good thing. So this holiday season, when someone greets you, make a conscious effort to offer warmth, however you do it. A hug, a kiss on the cheek, a smile with a special ‘great to see you’, or whichever is most comfortable. And if you see me, state your preference or you’ll be getting a big old squeeze!
Have the happiest of holidays!