The Least to Most Awkward Greetings, In Order


Greeting a stranger/acquaintance/boyfriend’s father is such a stressful experience for me that I sometimes have to remind myself that, no matter how awkward our fumbling hands/faces/bodies are as they smoosh together, it’ll all be over and forgotten soon (life is rough). We ranked the best to worst greeting gestures here. Muah.

1. Handshake

After a friend of mine from high school came back from his ~illuminating~ junior year abroad, he proclaimed handshakes “fake” and declared his intent to buck societal norms forevermore. That was dumb. When in doubt when meeting someone for the first time, go with a handshake. They’re not icky — we touch gross stuff with our hands all the time; our palms are lost causes — in a worst-case scenario, a handshake might get a little sweaty. Handshakes are appropriate for interviews, first dates, and everything in between. Embrace the handshake (but not literally).

2. Hug

The (some say creepily intimate) salutatory hug is becoming more and more socially acceptable in our “Like”-happy society. The power-hugger phenomenon suggests that the hug is here to stay. Okay, fine. Just keep your hug short and sweet. IMPORTANT ADDENDUM: NEVER turn an alternate form of greeting into a hug half-way through the process: kisses shouldn’t become hugs, high-fives shouldn’t become hugs, etc.

3. Successful High-five/Fist-bump

High-fives/fist-bumps are pretty awesome, but only post-completion. A lackluster high-five/fist-bump signals impending friendship doom. If you initiate a high-five/fist-bump, make sure to do it slowly enough so that your fivee/bumpee knows what’s going on. You’re not playing a game of “down low — too slow!”

4. Wave

If you wave at someone who is only a few inches away from you, they might think you’re weird, but who cares? “Weird” is wanting to touch someone who you don’t even know!

5. Cheek kiss

If you don’t have each other’s phone numbers, maybe you shouldn’t be smooching? Just a thought.

6. Double kiss

Don’t expect that we all know when to turn the other cheek!

7. Triple kiss

Are you fucking kidding me?

8. Hand kissing


9. Curtseying

Actually, let’s bring this back!

10. Salute

Sorry, too “Heil Hitler.”

Image via Yurii Andreichyn/Shutterstock.

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