Notes on greeting and farewell in the United States. 

‘How are you today?’ is the most common way people will greet you. Irrespective of if you know the person or not. Just an answer like ‘Fine, how are you?’ will do. They do not expect an extended explanation. Back in time I use to make up some weird answer to see if they were even listening. Don’t even bother, most of the time they do not. A sufficient farewell would either be ‘Bye’ or ‘Have a good one’. But of course there are many more. If a momentary conversation has taken place one can use ‘Nice to meet you’ or ‘Nice talking to you’. It’s that simple. Make sure that if you come across someone on the street and you are in company of others, do not forget to introduce them. If not, they consider you being very rude.

‘Please’ is the magic word. We Dutch do not use that word as often. Not that we are not polite, we just pay more attention to the tone you use.

Different cultures have different codes on social behavior. Typically, you shake hands when you meet someone. This is common most everywhere. But one additional thing is, here it is common to hug a person, even when you first met. Just a light hug, where you just put arm around his or her back and just touch your head lightly. Cheek kissing is very common in most parts of the world except for English-speaking Canada, the United States and Asia. A single kiss is acceptable in the United States, but it’s mostly a big-city phenomenon. Like when I was introduced to the owner of the ‘Omars la Ranita’. Here it’s not done to kiss anybody else, except your partner, on the lips. Even not your own kids! So many cultures, so many habits on whether to kiss or not.

Except for French kissing, this seems universal as far as I know. -Bregje-

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