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Saturday / August 6.
HomemilastwordTo Cheek Kiss or Not to Cheek Kiss

To Cheek Kiss or Not to Cheek Kiss

What’s the go with ‘cheek kissing’? When you haven’t seen a friend or acquaintance for a little while, generally a warm hello is combined with a hug and/or a kiss on the cheek.

But what if you see a group of friends, or work colleagues, some for the first time and others you haven’t seen for a while standing together at a function or conference. Who do you cheek kiss and who do you shake hands with? What’s the protocol and what if you leave someone out? Do you end up just waving ‘hi’ from the other side of the room?

If you cheek kiss the first person, do you have to go down the line? And what if you miss the cheek? What if you do a Tony Abbott and hit the ear or the eye or more awkwardly still, you slide into a lip-slip!!!

If a supplier walks into your store, when does your ‘hello’ from across the store turn into a kiss on the cheek friendship? With patients, obviously this type of greeting is way out of order. I wouldn’t suggest you go down that path with a patient at all. I read a while back that one optom (from overseas) did go there, then went way too far. He landed himself in jail.

The problem with a cheek kiss is that once you’ve done it you can’t take it back. It’s out there and so is your reputation

Which leads me to cheek kiss remorse. After you kiss a cheek you realise that a hand-shake was more appropriate. Or, the flip-side… you go in for a handshake and the other person leans in for a cheek kiss!

Immediately after you enthusiastically give the cheek kiss you realise the recipient would have felt more comfortable with a handshake. The problem with a cheek kiss is that once you’ve done it you can’t take it back. It’s out there and so is your reputation.

I asked around the office, and from the responses I got, this seems to be a very real issue… the cheek kiss is an awkward social dance we all do. So what’s the protocol? I asked… there must be an app for this… and
funny enough, there is… in fact there are nearly 200!

Social etiquette expert Alexandra Frampton from ‘Manners and Style’ suggests the cheek kiss should be reserved for family and close friends.

In a work environment she says, a firm hand-shake is best when you don’t know someone well or you’re meeting a person for the first time because you get good eye contact and a smile.

She believes that if you go in for the cheek kiss at a conference other people in the group might think there is more to it! That takes awkwardness to another level.

So there it is; a kiss on the cheek for those you ‘know’ and a handshake for those you don’t. And, if someone in a work setting comes in for the kill, place your hand out in front of you and shake their hand. But be
firm, there’s nothing worse than a wet fish.

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