Greetings in various countries

         Nodding is usually used:
Among people who are not very close or newly met;             
Among peers or people of the same rank; and
To indicate thanks by a supervisor to a subordinate or an elder to a young one.
  1. Nodding may be used when two people meet from a distance that is too far for them to shake hands or greet each other and they also do not want to stop the other walking forward.
  2. Tilt your head downward slightly with a smile.
  3. If a male wears a hat, he should remove his hat using his right hand and then nod.
  4. When a man and a woman first meet, the woman may initiate a nod to show kindness.
Hand Shake
  1. On all social occasions, handshake is applicable to people of different nationalities, ranks and both genders to display closeness and kindness, exchange greetings, say goodbye, offer congratulations, express gratitude and give comfort to others.
  2. In general, the superior, elderly, female and host will stretch out their hands first, while the junior, young, male and guest will greet them and then shake their hands if offered.
  3. When shaking hands with a number of people, shake with the superior ones and then the junior ones; the elderly and then the young ones; the host and then the guests; the female and then the male.
  4. If a person fails to observe the priority, you may stretch out your hand and the person should respond immediately to avoid any embarrassment.
  5. When receiving guests, a female host should take the initiative to shakes hands with all guests, regardless of male or female, to welcome them.
  6. Do not be overly aggressive and cross hands.  Shake one’s hand until the person has finished the preceding handshake.

A proper handshake should be made:
  1. Where you stand up unless health issues or disabilities.  Lean your upper body slightly forward and stretch out your right hand.  Thumbs must be locked around each other’s upper hand and fingers have a firm grip accompanied by a brief up and down movement.
  2. Where you make eye contact sincerely.  Be concentrated and do not look around by shaking hands with someone and greeting with others.  If the right hand is disabled, stretch out the left one, tell the receiving person and apologize.
  3. Where a man should remove his hat and pull off his gloves before shaking hands.  For a woman, it is acceptable to shake hands in decorative hat and gloves.
  4. Where there is a firm (not too limp and not too strong), warm and sincere grip.  When shaking hands with a female, shake once symbolically.  A handshake that is too firm or too soft will make anyone feel uncomfortable.

  1. Bows are performed on solemn and respectful occasions.
  2. By bowing, a subordinate shows honor to a supervisor, a student to a teacher and a young one to an elder.
  3. Bows are performed by performers and speakers on stage at the curtain call and after a talk.
  4. If a male wears a hat, he should remove his hat, put down his hand holding the hat, stand straight, look at the receiving parties and then move his upper body forward at 15 degrees.  A woman may nod to a man, instead of performing a bow.
  5. Bows are done with hands placed apart on the sides.
  6. Three types of bows with different meanings:
  7. Bows at 15 degrees (light bows) are performed among peers or colleagues for greeting, request, gratitude, apology and so on.
  8. Bows at 30 degrees are gestures of the highest respect for the heads, the highly esteemed elderly or guests with higher status.
  9. Bows at 45 degrees are a part of any sincere apology, request or expression of thanks.

Fist and Palm Salute
  1. It is a Chinese etiquette that is equivalent to handshakes in Western cultures.
  2. Fist and palm salute is used in martial arts, among the elderly and on certain very traditional occasions as well as happy occasions, such as Chinese New Year Celebration, banquet and evening party, to say “gung hei” to each other.  As a result, it is often used to say congratulations or thanks.
  3. Fist and palm salute is not subject to the restrictions on hand shaking and without distance limit.
  4. The proper gesture of fist and palm salute: the right hand half-fist and then the left hand hold the right hand in front of the chest or raise both hands to brow.  Watch each other in the eyes with a smile and shake a few times gently.
  5. Fist and palm salute is used to show deep respect for the elderly or supervisors.
  6. It is applicable to Chinese only; for foreigners, it is not advisable.

Faire La Bise
  1. It is a typical greeting in France.
  2. The French will faire la bise with people who are close, such as between husband and wife, lovers, parents and children, brothers and sisters, acquaintances and family.
  3. A man will faire la bise with a woman only when the woman takes the initiative by stretching out her neck to one side, then the man may give her kisses on the cheek.
  4. It is more common to faire la bise among women or between a man and a woman.  Men will faire la bise with very close male friends or close male family members only.
  5. Nowadays, young men and women will faire la bise with newly met friends on informal occasions.

How to faire la bise:
  1. When you meet a person, first observe and see if hand or cheek is stretched out.
  2. Grasp the person’s arm with one hand gently.  Do not actually hold the person in your arms.  A hug will be given to very close friends only.
  3. Faire la bise two times, or as many as four times, from right to left.
  4. Simply touch cheeks lightly and kiss the air.  Do not actually kiss.

  1. It is a social etiquette in the European upper class.
  2. In male-female encounter, a hand-kiss is initiated by a woman by stretching out her hand with the palm facing downward.  A man notices and extends a hand to grasp the woman’s hand and touches the knuckles with his lips (often symbolically) that do not actually kiss the hand.  It is a gesture indicating courtesy and respect for a woman.
  3. Do not kiss the hands of unmarried and young women.
  4. Hand-kissing is commonly used at formal meetings or on social occasions, but not in general public areas or the street.