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To Greet or Not to Greet

Since stores in our area began rushing the big holiday seasons (Thanksgiving and Christmas) back in September, I thought it might not be a bad idea to talk about something most of us face during the holidays. It’s the age-old question, how does one greet people in social situations?

Some are huggers/kissers while the rest of us—like my stoic, Germanic relatives, stiffen at hugs from someone who isn’t their spouse.

Our daughter once experienced a few incidents which left her puzzled as to proper protocol.

She spent the evening with a guy friend, his brother and family at their house. They had just become acquainted, so it wasn’t officially a date yet; they were just “hanging out.”

When the brother got ready to go to bed he hugged each family member goodnight and then came to our daughter. She, being unaccustomed to bedtime being a celebratory event, stared at his high-fiving hand raised in the air.

She wondered if she had missed congratulating him for a winning game score or some other important event.

Actually it was only the awkward phase which socially-unsure people come to dread. She stared at his upraised hand, wondering what to do next until he quipped, “Are you going to leave me hanging here?”

The next time she thought she had learned from this embarrassing experience. She was going to be prepared.

Realizing her friends thought hugs more comfortable than high-fives and fist bumps, our daughter decided to move in for the social hug at the end of the next evening visit. Then it happened. When the brother raised his hand for a high five, he found her arms outstretched for a hug.

Perhaps he then reached out for a hug at the moment she moved in for a fist bump or a high-five. At any rate, they probably resembled two sumo wrestlers coming together for a match.

Ah, the trials of greetings and farewells during this time of year. Watch this blog on Thursday for A Beginner’s Guide to Social Greetings.

What about you? Any advice for social greetings? Don't forget to comment below.

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