86

I am Indian. My first name is hard for many Indians to pronounce and my last name, common as it may be in India, has 14 characters! I know I am one in a million when I say this, but you can destroy my name as badly as you can, I'd not get offended. I know that my name is hard to pronounce. I am in the US and I know my name is not an English name. It is an ...


69

The idea is to project confidence and a good first impression (see eg Psych Study: Firm Handshakes Impress). The article also notes: In general, any attempt to assign a single, major specific meaning to a gesture or touch is an oversimplification Regarding the comments you get: That might be genuine small talk/compliments, but I could also imagine that ...


69

If you have a wall near enough, you can always knock on it. It also works with other stuff, like a table. I never tried with floors, but maybe it also works. What I wrote is based on my own experience, and for me knocking on the wall or on some nearby furniture works better than saying something or making an *ahem * noise behind the person. For example, I ...


38

I used to pick people up at the airport. I did the (maybe hokey) thing of holding a sign. Then when I would meet them, I would straight away tell them I am unsure how to properly pronounce their name. I think even cross culturally people understand this is a respectful gesture. I do want to say it correctly and I find asking right away is far less ...


35

You seem to be reading way too much into it. While it's possible/probable that there was awkwardness about this situation it isn't that big of a deal and apologising for it likely will make it worse, since it would add a lot of importance to something most people would forget in five minutes. If you feel bad, just make sure you are more consistent about ...


30

"What's up?" is typically used in a phatic manner as opposed to actually being a question with an expectation of an answer. The purpose of this phrase is to indicate interest in the other person. Because of this, "Nothing much" is a perfectly valid response. If this is too boring you can try one of the variations like, "Same old, same old". This is ...


22

Right off the bat, I see some possibilities. I have some experience in this because I still live with my parents and when I am gaming with my headset I just don't hear them and since I'm focused on what I'm doing I don't notice them either, just like your example. The trick commonly used is to flash the room's lights, when applicable, while calling for the ...


19

I found this scientific study by the Beckman Institute in Illinois. It is all about first impressions, see the first sentence: "New neuroscience research is confirming an old adage about the power of a handshake: strangers do form a better impression of those who proffer their hand in greeting." And I found this list about what a 'good' handshake is ...


18

Here are the norms for adults greetings based on gender in my area: F/F, F/M, complete stranger: handshake (usually) F/F, F/M, acquainted: hug F/F, F/M, good friend/family: hug M/M, complete stranger: handshake M/M, acquainted: handshake (usually) M/M, good friend/family: hug, handshake, or nothing These vary with age, personal preference, and the type of ...


18

How to find out how to pronounce someone's name: "Hi I'm Alex, I apologise, I don't know how to say your name, could you clarify how I should say it?" They say: "Jacob". Repeat the name at least 3 times as soon as you can, take every opportunity to do so: "Jacob, with a J not an I? Jacob, right? So Jacob, how was your flight?" Sometimes you can Google ...


17

I won't even pretend to have seen this type of situation, because in India men are not supposed to hug any women except their immediate family, nor even shake hands with unrelated women (though men shaking hands with women is nowadays allowed in college classrooms and in corporate settings): However OP @Catija has specifically asked for a referenced answer ...


16

Well, of course, you see people walking by your desk when there is an open office plan. I'm working in one of those offices as well. I'm from the Netherlands, and there is actually a sort of rhythm to greeting: When you arrive at work, you greet the people that are already near your own desk. People that arrive later greet you, and you acknowledge them ...


16

I used to be an animator in holiday centers when I was a teenager, and it was fairly common to have kids who didn't want to kiss cheeks/hug when they arrived at the facility. At first I didn't say anything and the parents would force them to greet me in a socially acceptable way. The kids often ended up crying, and it was heartbreaking. Two years after ...


15

I am Chinese, and I dislike this practice as well. I don't know if this will work for you, but I sometimes hold out my hand for a handshake, this has 2 effects: It creates a barrier and extends a common method of greeting. I will be honest it doesn't always work, but it is better than nothing and has worked for me sometimes.


14

I have this problem. Everyone sitting around me knows this because it's really bad - I sometimes need to wipe my keyboard when using it for a long time. I always, always wipe my hands before shaking, it really just takes a moment. I sometimes even smile at them as I wipe my hands and say 'Sorry, sweaty palms'. The person who I'm shaking hands with would ...


13

For the past year, I was in the same situation as you. I volunteered because my desk was closest to the entrance of the office. You could save the pleasantries until you've found out more about their intentions. Start the dialog with: Hello there! what can I do for you today? They would then state their business. Which is an indicator of where you ...


13

My wife has this problem. She simply wipes her hands before shaking and tries not to worry about what the other person is thinking. If they like you as a person, they'll find clammy hands to be trivial, and worrying about it probably makes the clamminess worse. Just accept that this is how your hands are and how your body works and you do your best but you'...


12

they tend to greet me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek [...] I don't kiss them on the cheek in return. [...] My mother-in-law and father-in-law have picked up. And they keep doing that. That means they like you, and may not understand what it means to you. They see that you behave differently by not hugging/kissing back. They don't feel hurt, but want to ...


11

I can guess that these men believe that women are more likely to express emotion in their greetings (and hugs are a kind of emotional expression.) But that might be a starry-eyed interpretation. It probably has more to do with power distribution and dominance. In 1977, N.M. Henley wrote a book, Body Politics, about power interactions revealed non-verbal ...


11

This is assuming you're in the USA; I've heard it's different elsewhere. If it's a person you don't know well, it's just a greeting that's roughly equivalent to "hello." They're not actually asking about your well being. The less well you know them, the more true this is. If it's someone you have zero personal connection (like a client or customer you've ...


11

It is pretty traditional in this circumstance to affect a small cough or clearing of the throat. (Usually written as "ahem".) This might cause the person to jump, but probably less so than suddenly touching them. If that doesn't work, try "Excuse me — sorry to interrupt." Again, they might be a bit startled, but you've already apologized. If you're coming ...


11

I'm with the folks who try to announce their presence from afar: knock on the door, call out, "Alice?" before you even enter the room, drop your keys, anything to make noise at the entrance. However, I would never touch someone who hasn't noticed my presence. The closer you are, the scarier it has the potential to be. I would walk in a wide arc until they ...


11

The only way to avoid all possible discomfort from offering a hug would be to not offer a hug. If we assume that the cultural context you are in and the cultural context of the people involved does not forbid touch between individuals of opposite gender, I would suggest the best way to avoid pressure is to 1) ask verbally, simply, and directly, and 2) limit ...


10

Well, if you want to keep a conversation going, you could say, "I'm great, I just got a new dog", or whatever. If you are in a rush, you could say, "I'm fine, thanks", or something along those lines. If you are having a bad day, and you would prefer them not to know about it, say something like, "I'm good, thanks". If you want them to know, say something ...


9

It would be odd if your decision is sudden, that is, if you had said hello yesterday and days before, and if you pretend that you don't know the person when you see them tomorrow, it would be odd. They might take it as a sign of something wrong they did to you, and start wondering why, or maybe even come up close to you to make sure if everything is alright. ...


8

Should I keep doing this, or is it better to be honest? Is there a tactful way to explain that I have trouble recognizing faces without seeming rude, or weird? It's always nice, to be honest with someone in a situation like this. I would like it if someone did the same with the shoe on the other foot. Not only do you now know them (to hopefully avoid ...


8

In seeing this in other areas, I think there are a couple of aspects to consider. Historically, the handshake was a way to show trust, by giving your weapon hand, open and empty, to someone you didn't know or trust well - evidencing no immediate intent to attack, while retaining some distance for safety. And this was in a very masculine, warrior space. A ...


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