How Do People Greet Each Other in Different Countries?

Reuters states that other cultures' ways of greeting differ from American ways of greeting. While Americans tend to smile and shake hands, people from other cultures may find these gestures rude or offensive. For example, in several Asian cultures, smiling at someone happens only on informal occasions. And in the Japanese culture, for instance, bowing is preferred to shaking someone's hand.

The amount of physical contact varies for many countries as well. Italians, for instance, embrace as a greeting and say "salve," meaning "hi" (informal), but smiling at someone means "please" or "excuse me" instead of a greeting. People of the opposite sex do not hug in Middle Eastern, Muslim or Orthodox Jewish countries. It is okay, however, for those of the same sex to embrace.

Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese people often kiss friends on the cheek to greet each other.

Another difference between the way Americans greet people and how other cultures greet people deals with eye contact. It is common for those from the United States to look people in the eye when meeting them. In other cultures, however, such as the Korean culture, it is actually disrespectful to look someone in the eye.