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Beyond the Handshake: Hugs and the Social Kiss Hero Label

Beyond the Handshake: Hugs and the Social Kiss

positive diverse colleagues shaking hands after meeting on street


Unless you know someone quite well, skip the hug in business settings. You might be comfortable with it, but not everyone else—even those who might go along with it quietly—are. If don't like receiving hugs, be pro-active and extend your hand before a hug can start. (Huggers, take note! Don't turn a handshake into a hug.)

The Peck on the Cheek

Usually more of an air kiss, people should still refrain from kissing in business situations, since even an innocent peck might be misconstrued. Stick with the handshake. One exception is when people know each other quite well, especially when they greet each other at a quasi-social event like a convention or a business lunch. Another exception is if you are in a country where cheek or air kisses (sometimes several) are part of the customary greeting, in which case be prepared to participate.