I’ve been here so long I sometimes forget what is normal now, wasn’t always that way. I was reading about my brother’s trip here on his blog and how he either screwed up the greeting or got lazy on the kisses thing. Maybe it’s cause we’re family. Or maybe it’s cause we’re Canadian. But I’ve totally done both.
When you meet up with someone you know, you usually give three kisses on the cheek, doing a left/right/left move in combination with a handshake. (As a side note, these aren’t “actual” full on lip to cheek kisses but merely the touching of cheeks and oddly enough a kissy noise. I had to correct my Mom on that one who kept planting big wet ones on everyone.) I think it’s more the habit of Canadians to get less touchy as you become more familiar with someone. It’s just a sorta ‘wave’ and a ‘hey’. That shows intimacy. Which is pretty funny.
If you’re meeting someone more formally, you would still do the cheek touching and a handshake but you would address them in a formal way. Makes sense. Unless this person is from the countryside. If they’re from the countryside, then you would touch opposite shoulders three times but still address them formally. The shoulder-touching thing can throw you, especially when you go in for a smooch.
I sometimes opt not to do the kisses with friends I know or even the husband’s parents because I figure we know each other pretty well and now we can cut the formalities. And then the husband asks why I don’t kiss people. I’m lazy. I’m Canadian. It’s in the genes.