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Use local handshaking customs to meet and greet when traveling abroad

Saturday, November 10, 2012 by: JB Bardot
Tags: handshake, local customs, traveling

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(NaturalNews) Handshaking and other simple gestures are used by all people as a greeting method worldwide. Every country has its own unique cultural signals that people send with the shake of a hand or nod of their head. An acceptable gesture in your home country can turn into an offensive one elsewhere. When you travel abroad, it's always a good idea to learn ahead of time what is and what is not an acceptable handshake in whatever country you visit.

United States, Canada, Australia and the UK

Shaking hands is the commonly accepted method in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom for greeting someone. Both men and women shake hands socially and in business. The social handshake after an introduction usually involves grasping the other person's right hand and wrapping your right had around his with your thumb pointing upward and your arm extended at a slight downward angle. Grasp the other person's hand firmly, and squeeze gently once. Hold your handshake for two to three seconds while pumping your arm and hand up and down several times to show sincerity. Include eye contact with your handshake to show sincerity and trustworthiness. Remove your gloves, as many consider it rude not to do so, especially in the UK.

Handshaking styles

Europeans frequently shake hands each time they meet. Even the best of friends and acquaintances shake hands often in Europe. The Swiss will shake the hand of a woman before a man and a person of high rank before one of lower rank. In Austria, a man is expected to stand and shake hands while women are expected to remain seated, but still shake hands. The Belgians are said to shake hands the most often.

Brazilians welcome and value lots of physical contact and will shake hands firmly as well as pat you on the back or squeeze a shoulder at the same time. Russians shake hands frequently and always remove their gloves before doing so. South Africans prefer a firmer handshake and in the Middle East a limp or softer handshake is the acceptable form.


China, Japan and other Asian countries each have acceptable forms of bowing which are used as greetings; however, not all bows are the same. Many types of bowing are dependent upon your age and the circumstances. Bowing is a way of showing respect and humility -- and the deeper the bow the more humble the person.

The Chinese will also incorporate a slight bow combined with a firm, pumping handshake to show they are happy to meet you.

Touching women

Touching a woman in many countries is considered offensive and insulting. Although both women and men shake hands in social and business situations in France, it is an insult and disrespectful to kiss a woman's hand. In Saudi Arabia and Thailand, even a quick handshake with a woman is considered poor manners.

Palms together

In cultures such as India, individuals place the palms of their hands together, with fingers pointing upwards and hands in front of their chests. In this manner, they greet others uttering the term, namaste, which means, I honor the god in you. In Thailand, people have a similar greeting placing palms together in front of their chests accompanied by a small bow. The higher they raise their hands, the more respect they're showing.

Sources for this article include:


About the author:

The JB Bardot Archives: www.jbbardot.com
Natural News: https://www.naturalnews.com/Author1686.html

JB Bardot is an herbalist and a classical homeopath, and has a post graduate degree in holistic nutrition. Bardot cares for both people and animals, using alternative approaches to health care and lifestyle. She writes about wellness, green living, alternative medicine, holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbs and naturopathic medicine. You can find her at The JB Bardot Archives at www.jbbardot.com and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jbbardot23 or on Twitter at jbbardot23 or https://twitter.com/jbbardot23

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