I've always find it quite difficult when I was meeting new people as I never really knew how to say “hello”. But at least it was just a question of “how many bises is he/she doing?”.
Coming from France I am used to “kiss” people to say hello and goodbye. Every single person present in the room or with your group of friend. Obviously you probably wouldn't do la bise to your boss, teachers, etc. But otherwise it is really common, and was so much easier for me. I mostly just needed to figure out if that person was making 2 or 4 kisses.
Now that I am living in London it is completely different. Not only that I don't know what is the way in UK to say hello or goodbye to people – do I shake hands? Hug? Kiss? One kiss on cheek? Two? - but London is also so diverse in nationality and cultures that it makes it even more difficult. I honestly probably met – when I say met I mean met in a way that I've been hanging out with the person for several times - only a couple of person purely british since I arrived, about 2 years and a half now.
Even with my family in law, who is from Latvia, I never know how to say hi. Do I hug them? Kiss them? Once on the cheek? Twice? - as it doesn't go so well it doesn't make those decisions easy either.
I usually have this awkward moment for quite a while when I just start to get to know people where I will just wave my hand awkwardly saying “hiii” and then would figure out how to say goodbye xD
Does anyone of you feel the same way when meeting new people? Or from a different country? How do you usually react? How do you say hello and goodbye from where you are from? - in the action, not words obviously :)
(Pic: Henri Cartier Bresson and Agnes Varda)