To kiss or not to kiss?

To kiss or not to kiss?

I’ve got a burning question which I know a large proportion of professional women and men have pondered about at some point in their career. Read on…

To kiss or not to kiss?
To kiss or not to kiss?

I’ve got a burning question which I know a large proportion of professional women and men have pondered about at some point in their career. I have. Although the answer can make a difference to business outcomes, there is actually no ‘one size fits all’ type solution. So here I am, in search of an answer…

I wonder: to kiss or not to kiss?

You may think I’m referring to kissing a colleague while drunk at an office Christmas party. However interesting that debate may be, what I’m questioning myself about is: in a business setting, should women be kissed on the cheek or should their hand be shaken (whether that be between women or from a man to a woman)?

Now, if I’ve never met the person (man or woman), a cheek kiss would be completely out of question – a handshake it is! But there are many more situations that add shades of grey and blur the kissing question.

For example, what if you see this person in a social setting where it would be ‘normal’ to exchange cheek kisses. Do you go back to the handshake when you see them afterwards in a business context? Or is there a point of no return once you’ve kissed?

What if someone was first and foremost a friend (in which case you would have been used to kissing them), and they become a business colleague? Should you stop kissing them in a business setting and only shake their hand? Wouldn’t that be weird?

Does it depend on the culture of your organisation?

Here’s another example which happened to me the other day… I was heading to a meeting and the first colleague I met on my arrival kissed me on the cheek. I knew him more than the others so it was fine. But just to be fair, I felt as though I then had to kiss everyone else standing around when I might have preferred a handshake.

What’s the right etiquette in situations like these? Also, how do you make sure the other person (with whom you may exchange a handshake or a kiss) follows the same protocol and you both avoid that awkward ‘kissing/not kissing’ move?

The other dilemma which rises from this is: is there a risk that kissing a woman on the cheek in a business setting may place her on a different level to her male counterpart? Or does it simply showcase women’s amiability and communicative nature?

So tell me, whether you are a man who may kiss or be kissed by a woman or a woman kissing or being kissed by a man/woman, what’s your opinion on this topic? To kiss or not to kiss?



5 comments on “To kiss or not to kiss?Add yours →

  1. Hi Kim !

    I’m the kissing type but in a pure business environment i shake. After a certain time in business with someone, it often finishes with a kiss.

    Big kiss to you !!


    1. Hi Stephan,

      Great to have you here again and thanks for your contribution. :-)

      So, would you kiss the woman regardless of her status in the organisation? Or whether there were other people around who you were less familiar with?

      Next time I see you, it’ll definitely be a big kiss! Thanks cous!

      1. I think it’s all a question of how confortable the relation is between both parties regardless of who is around.

        Take care, we miss you !!

  2. Hi Kim,

    The answer is to lead and to be authentic. Kiss those who you have the relationship with and shake with those you don’t.

    Remember the man I’d never met before who lunged at me with a kiss saying “he never shakes the hand of a woman”!!!! Yuk.

    1. Thanks Suzy – I like your advice: ‘to lead and to be authentic’. I do remember that anecdote… perfect example of what not to say/do! Thanks again for dropping by.

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