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Kiss goodbye to kissing hello in Germany

August 11, 2011

In many countries and cultures, a kiss on the cheek is a standard greeting, but certain cultures are unaccustomed to the practice. In Germany, many people are made uncomfortable by the informal formality, and the Knigge Society is making efforts to accommodate both viewpoints. The German etiquette group claims that Germans are used to a more formal handshake and a mutual respect of personal space, and kissing breaks that barrier and may be misconstrued as sexual or erotic, according to The Daily Mail.

"We can't forbid [kissing in the workplace], but we have to protect people who don't want to be kissed," Hans-Michael Klein the chairman of the Knigge Society, told the BBC. "So we are suggesting that if people don't mind it, they announce it with a little paper message placed on their desk."

This may seem unnecessary to some, but respecting others' comfort zones and cultural practices is very important, especially for international business travelers. Businessmen and women should research their destinations so they can be prepared to greet people appropriately. They can use international phone cards to call coworkers or loved ones back home to get advice on how to act in foreign lands.


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