Monday, December 12, 2011

How do you know when to kiss?

I was thinking about something this evening.

I have a long, three-hour workshop tomorrow morning talking about creative stuff on one of my products.

We're working with 3 external people:
  1. a guy who designed the brand look and feel 
  2. a guy who's building the website
  3. a copywriter 

Let's call them 1, 2 and 3 just to keep things consistent around here :)

We know 1 very well. We've worked together for over a year and we're such good work friends we kiss and hug hello and good-bye after every meeting. It does help that he and I both have two-year-old children (and he loved my Newtown photo shoot).

We've worked with 2 for about two months now. We are good work friends (he is outstanding at delivering exactly what I want and most times more, and fast - this always impresses me to no end) but not as good as 1. He's Afrikaans and from Bfn (one of the smaller cities in SA), not that that matters but to talk stereotypes, he is quite conservative.

And then 3.

3 is from CT and has only recently been appointed. He's been up for one meeting and we've chatted on the phone about three times. He's South African but very English. Says "Marcia, that's super!" to me when I phone to chat about various elements.

The word super is not something South Africans typically say on a daily basis and seems to me to be very British.

Right, so there are the 3 people.

Tomorrow they will all be in one place with me and my colleague. She is very kissy and huggy, and calls people Sweetie and Honeybun. Yes, I make fun of her but I really should stop.

I said to D tonight, "what do I do about the kissing?" I can't not kiss 1 because we are all used to it (!).

But if 2 and 3 see all this kissing and hugging going on, will they feel left out? LOL

And how will I know when or if it's safe to progress to the next (business) stage of our relationship with 2 and 3?
In an aside, I once went to visit one of our partners and we were talking rubbish as you do when you're breaking the ice.

He then said, "I don't quite know what to make of people who don't want to hug. I think they must have issues".

Well, of course after I heard that, I've been sure to kiss and hug him EVERY time I see him. Wouldn't want him to think I have issues :)

These things don't just happen at work, of course. D was telling me how uncomfortable he is in these work situations as he is introverted AND a boy :)

So how do you know when to kiss, when to hug, when to do both, when to do neither? Have you ever gone in for a kiss and the person doesn't reciprocate? 


Here is the (ugly) necklace - pics by D. (Robynne, these were taken yesterday - I'm not STILL wearing your t-shirt)

Okay, so you get the idea - obviously there needs to be a bit more to create that lovely full effect.

Have any of you made that necklace yet?

PS On Wednesday, I'm going to post a picture of ALL my flip flops. Get ready............ because there will be a link-up. I want to see them all - one pair, fifty pairs, I want to see :)


  1. I am not a kissy huggy person AT ALL. It makes me uncomfortable. Even with family- well extended. I'm not too bad with the husband and kids.

  2. I don't think I am much of a huggy and kissy person - I am also never really sure when to do it either. So, I just don't, ever... What used to make me very uncomfortable - this really close friend of mine and his wife would hang out with my husband and I. I never kissed or hugged them, unless for an occassion, or not having seen them in a long time, or them going away etc. They then met one of my husband's oldest friends and his wife - now they are huggy and kissy people through and through. On a few occassions we would all be together - they would hug and kiss us, and my friend and his wife. I woudl feel so uncomfortable, because I would not know what to do! Happens regularly at a few fmaily gatherings too where my one BIL and wife are huggy and kissy people and my husband and I aren't.

  3. ugh. i know your dilemma. I just kinda always stand back and greet. i dont like people pecking at me at all!

  4. I am not a kissy person AT ALL. I do it with Ds family but on a very toned down air kiss kinda way!

    Honestly I have never seen any colleagues kiss each other - even those who have known each other for many years and are close.

    So if I was a "kisser" I probably wouldn't do it with work people.

  5. LOL too funny!

    next I need to talk more about kissing and hugging friends!

  6. Yes, that necklace needs some work...what about braiding it or something?

    If you feel comfortable kissing and hugging #1, then who cares about the rest? Are they really going to get jealous? If they want a hug/kiss from you, they'll cue you in. If not, you'll know that too and they'll probably be relieved that you didn't lean in for one. LOL

  7. OK. I would braid the necklace. OR maybe weave some beads or something into it.

    I am a hugger/kisser kind of girl but never with client types. I usually shake hands with everyone. Regardless of whether they are affectionate or not.
    Also, while I'm getting to know a friend type I won't just hug. I will wait and see if they are comfortable with it first. Joshua used to be someone who HATED touch so that has made me somewhat sensitive towards others. I no longer find it weird like your client that some people are like that. People who don't hug usually do have issues. Joshua had years of OT before he actually hugged Lance and I without us having to ask first...

  8. You kiss your friends? You kiss your colleagues?!!

    Wow, I'm so not a kissy person. My husband is lucky I kiss him in public! The kids are different, but other people-NEVER! I might break out a hug or two on Christmas, but I usually hold a child to shield myself. I can say that I've never gone in for a hug or kiss, especially in a business setting. I have rejected plenty.

    Suddenly I realize just how anti-social I am!

    I say let just kiss 1, and go with your gut in the heat of the moment for the others. This is so foreign to me. Does everyone kiss?

  9. So apparently we Americans have social boundary issues? Or we are just all not the huggy-kissy types? Because I'm right in there with the others...I have just in recent years realized how awkward I am in hugging or other contact-type situations!

    Especially in the business world here in the US, I think women struggle so much to be seen as "equals" that many are careful not to show too much emotion or other "feminine" actions. A handshake would likely be as far as the personal contact goes here.

    But I agree with the others: kiss #1 as you usually would, but I wouldn't worry much about the others. They will likely pick up on the fact that you know #1 better anyway.

    Love discussing our differing cultural norms!

  10. I'm kind of wierd when it comes to the hugging and kissing business. Some people I feel perfectly comfortable with doing it, and others not. I really can't say why - but if I don't want to I won't, I do know that.

    Maybe growing up Afrikaans had something to do with it. We had to bloody kiss everybody hallo and goodbye, yuck! I have just three words for you - Wrinkly, Old, Lips! I can't do it. Especially is there's a moustache involved (male or female).

    My brother's friends are a very huggy bunch, and his one pal told me he used to be scared to give me a hug and always made sure that I knew it was coming...he thought I might punch him if he surprised me with one. Back then I might have! Hahahaha!

    Now I only surround myself with people I feel comfortable with so I may come acrosss as huggy-kissy these days, but I really am not in general.


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