Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Kiss on the cheek or awkward hug?

Kiss or Hug?

As I was saying Goodbye to my colleague the other day, I gave him two kisses on the cheeks. All the other people in the office started to stare, laugh and comment on the whole thing, which resulted in a lengthy discussion about kisses, hugs and how it's done differently in France and Ireland. Don't worry, we do work sometimes (in between arguing about cultural differences).

I often hear that giving a kiss is like invading someone's personal space. Really? For me, a hug is even worse and I can't really get my head around it. Surely putting your arms around someone is more invasive than a small kiss on the cheek?

When I explained that in France, we even kiss co-workers in the morning (close ones, obviously not the whole company), all I got was: "That's why the French never get any work done, they spend their entire day kissing each other!"

Then I said I kiss my friends every time I meet them, and I even kiss my parents in the morning, to say Hello. They thought it was very strange. But when I explained even men kiss each other on the cheeks, that was the end of it! 
In my extended family, the men would give each other four kisses on the cheeks. Yes, four! That's done mainly by the older generation, but I know my husband also kisses close male friends. I work in a very masculine environment, so you can imagine the type of jokes and slagging I got over that one.

We managed to convert some of our Irish friends to the art of kissing, with mixed results. You can see they're trying but it usually ends up in an awkward mix of hug and kiss... I'm sure we'll get there, eventually.

Let me reassure you though. We don't kiss everybody. We shake hands when we are introduced to a stranger. And of course, you wouldn't kiss a superior, unless you know him very well.

Here, there seems to be no real rules about hugging. And trust me when I say I felt very uncomfortable being hugged by some managers around Christmas time. This was definitely awkward. 

For me, giving a hug is a lot more personal than a kiss... 

What do you think? Do you hug or kiss more?