KISSING CUSTOMS

 Couple kissing in Paris
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Couple kissing in Paris
Digital Vision/Digital Vision/GettyImages

, Last Updated: 3:47 PM ET

FRANCEFor the French, kissing is a way of life. Paris adopted a four-kiss greeting years ago. The sequence is left cheek first, always. In Brittany, they follow a three-kiss routine and in most other parts of France they restrict themselves to a restrained two-kiss greeting. The exception is the Cote d'Azur where a five- or six-kissing pattern is not unusual.

NETHERLANDSIn the Netherlands, you begin and end your kiss on the same cheek. Three kisses are expected, but if you are greeting an elderly or close family member, add a few more to show your affection. Right cheek first is the rule.

ITALY Kissing is restricted to very close friends or family. The number of kisses is optional and as there are no rules regarding which cheek to kiss first, there are frequent and sometimes painful clashes. Hugs and handshakes are good alternatives for friends.

BELGIUM If you are about the same age as the person you are greeting, one kiss is the rule. For someone at least 10 years older than you, then three kisses is seen as a mark of respect.

SPAIN, AUSTRIA and SCANDINAVIA Spain, Austria and Scandinavia are each content with the two-kiss ritual. In Spain the rule is strictly right cheek first.

GERMANY Germany tends to restrict kissing to family and close friends. Handshakes predominate and all meetings begin and end with this formality.

U.K. In the U.K. kissing is only just being extended outside of family and friends. Somewhat shy of physical contact, the British tend to opt for a handshake or nod as the safest form of greeting. In today's less formal environment, "Hi!" or "How are you?" is a way of avoiding physical contact. But it must be remembered that when the British ask how you are they don't expect you to tell them.

SOURCE: Blistex.com


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