The multi-cultural make up of London is what makes it such a great city, but it does also exacerbate the potential awkwardness of little social interaction we all do on a regular basis, namely the kiss hello. Depending on who you are greeting, you have to decide whether to even do the kiss hello and if you do, is it just one kiss or is it both cheeks and sometimes it can even be 3 kisses! So how do you know what to do?
There are so many unwritten rules about doing it, for instance, you don’t kiss hello a flatmate or a colleague, but you would an ex-flatmate or ex-colleague. Then there are those 50:50 situations, the friend of your partner who you don’t know that well or if on a blind/internet date, if you don’t kiss hello then you seem unfriendly but if you do kiss hello then it may seem too friendly?
Even the kiss itself can be done in many different ways that can easily go wrong. With the one kiss approach, this could be performed with the chap doing the kissing and the lady offering her cheek (or vice versa), or it could be the mutual version where both do the kissing on the cheek at the same time (but you really only kiss with half your lips), or it can end up being a weird cheek to cheek air kiss affair which you know is not right the moment it happens!
The subtle technicalities of the greeting are what make it difficult and can lead to errors. Many cultures do the 2 or 3 kiss hello, the latter is a surprise as you think you are done with cheek kissing, but no, another one is expected. Even the 2 kiss hello can have its problems as whilst doing the head transfer there can be accidental lips to lips contact. This is not so bad when it’s someone you wouldn’t mind kissing on the lips, but when it is your great auntie, it really is not a pleasant experience!
The answer to all this is that there is no real right or wrong (except about kissing your great aunt on the lips), just be confident in your approach, with no hesitations, and you will be fine. My preferred approach is to do the simple one kiss and to add a mini hug for close friends.