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A Beginner's Guide to Social Greetings

This is the time of year when many of us meet new people. School teachers, classmates, even new employers appear on our radar. So, how does a person greet them? And how does one greet people he hasn’t seen in a long while?

Fear no longer; below is a handy guide to social greetings. When faced with uncertainty, just try using one of these.

Hand Shake: The most formal method of greeting a stranger. Grasp his/her hand firmly, lean slightly forward, then gently squeeze and pump their hand once while smiling at them. There are four categories of hand-shakers, as mentioned below.

  1. The Fingertip Butterfly: when one barely extends her fingertips to you, then pulls away quickly.

  2. Knuckle Buster: Used by the person who wants you to think he pumps iron three times a day.

  3. Limp Fish: Used by fragile elderly ladies.

  4. Hand Pumper: The person who refuses to let go of your hand, pumping vigorously while carrying on a conversation. It makes you feel like saying, “Can I have my hand back now?”

Hug: Usually reserved for more intimate friendships. See below.

1. Social Hug: Embracing the other person while kissing the air beside his/her head

2. Dodger Hug: One person moves to hug the other person’s neck, leans to the right and the opposite person moves to the same side. Then they move to the left to correct, and so does the other person. Then they try to think of something witty to say.

3. Guy Hug: When two macho guys quickly squeeze one another while whacking each other on the back as though trying to dislodge something from the other guy’s throat.

4. Side Hug: What one gives to a person with whom he is moderately friendly. Stand beside him/her, put an arm around them and give a quick squeeze.

Fist Bump: Can be used as a greeting, but also as an affirmation when a person does something noteworthy, such as shooting a trophy deer. Also used as a greeting between socially-awkward males. Can be used to greet your annoying brother-in-law whom you haven’t seen in five years.

High Five: Given when your team wins a game, or you have just run across the finish line in a marathon. Or when playing volleyball and someone executes a good spike. Raise hand high in the air and slap the other person’s raised hand. Important: Aim for the hand, not the face.

There you have it. With these guidelines in mind your next social encounter should be a breeze.

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