View Full Version : Meet and Greet

Mar 13, 2007, 09:47 AM


There is an infinite number of ways to say hello to someone. Countries and cultures certainly have their own greeting customs, from handshakes (like in the picture) to hugs to kisses. But within each country and culture, there are countless variations, appropriate for different situations.

In the US, in a professional setting like meeting someone for a job interview or greeting a new co-worker, shaking hands is customary. Many people also shake hands in social situations. They shake hands when they are introduced for the first time or when they are saying hello to someone they don’t know that well. But in these same situations, some people just say hi and do not extend their hand.

For closer friendships and family relationships, greetings also vary. Stereotypically, American men are not as affectionate with other men. Even some fathers and sons will simply shake hands, even if they haven’t seen each other for a year. In other families, men hug or kiss each other on the cheek.

Did you see Hollywood director Martin Scorsese win the Academy Award? Many of the men around him hugged and kissed him to congratulate him.

Listen to Mason and Kevin talk about greetings.




Mason: I don’t know about you…. I, I had dinner with my family this weekend…

Kevin: OK.

Mason: And, uh, they’re big on the kiss on the cheek. Like, it’s kind of a family thing for us.

Kevin: I think it’s nice. I, I do it with many of my friends.

Mason: Yeah?

Kevin: Yeah.

Mason: The kiss on the cheek?

Kevin: Yeah. Definitely a hug. Definitely a hug. Often a kiss on the cheek.

Mason: I, I used to be really huggy with my friends, like, my high school friends who I’d known for a long time. But, uh, the new friends, it seems inappropriate now somehow.

Kevin: Huh. Why, why is that?

Mason: Um, I don’t know, uh…

Kevin: I mean, ‘cause you haven’t been friends as long? I mean…

Mason: Maybe, yeah.

Kevin: ‘Cause, ‘cause I feel like I have better friends here than I did in high school, with, with few except… I mean, you know, a few exceptions, but… I have some really great friends here.

Mason: Yeah, I don’t know, um… and also, I mean, like, I don’t, I don’t like to do surface hugs, like, when I go for a hug. It’s… I want…

Kevin: Bear hug.

Mason: ... Full body contact, so, uh, I think that maybe scares people, maybe I’m weirding them out.

Kevin: Not that kind of straight man, like, butt-out hug…

Mason: The slap-and-hug? The angry war-like hug? No, I don’t…

Kevin: That really does creep me out. I think, but I think a nice… I think a kiss on the cheek is appropriate.

Mason: So, can we be hugging friends now?

Kevin: We can. I mean, it depends on how we feel about it.

Mason: Hey, you know… cool.

Kevin: It’s all good with me.


Mason and Kevin are both pretty affectionate with their friends.

Kevin always hugs his friends and often gives them a kiss on the cheek.

Mason hugs his older friends, but not his newer friends. If he does hug someone, he likes to give a real hug, not a superficial one.

How do you say hello to your friends and family?

Are men as affectionate as women in your country?

Grammar Point

When Mason says “huggy” he is making up a word. He means that he used to hug, or be affectionate with, his friends.

This is a common practice among English speakers. They add the letter ‘y’ to a noun to turn it into an adjective.

For example, if a song sounds like pop (which is pop music), we say it sounds “poppy”.


How does Mason greet his family?

a) With a hug and a kiss

b) With a kiss

c) With a handshake

How does Kevin greet his friends?

a) With a hug and a kiss

b) With a hug

c) With a handshake

How does Mason feel about hugging?

a) It's inappropriate

b) A hug should involve full body contact

c) It should involve a slap


somehow (adverb): in some way; for some reason

custom (noun): tradition; habit

setting (noun): situation; environment

Bear hug (noun): a big, close hug; a hug in which you wrap your arms entirely around the other person

they're big on (expression): they like; they love; they prefer

surface (adjective): superficial; with no depth or feeling

closer (adjective): more intimate; more familiar

straight (adjective): conservative and (implied) heterosexual; serious and reserved

weirding them out (verb): freaking them out; making them feel uncomfortable

creep me out (verb): gives me the creeps; makes me feel uncomfortable