I had dinner with some Japanese and foreign friends. My Japanese friend asked if she should hug some people. I had no idea, so I asked my foreign friends.
- Don't hug Japanese people when you meet for the first time.
- Can I hug friends?
- Shaking hands is safe.
Don't hug Japanese people when you meet for the first time.
Japanese people don’t usually hug. We aren’t accustomed to it. If you hug us when meeting for the first time, we might get confused.
I speak some English, but I haven’t met many foreigners in person. I don’t like to touch people, so I hope that you don’t hug me. There are some Japanese people who speak English fluently, but they are not familiar with your culture. Please google our culture before you communicate with us.
Can I hug friends?
There were a few foreigners that I met, and two of them are in a relationship. When my Japanese friend and I were leaving, my Japanese friend hugged the girlfriend.
The Japanese friend wondered if she could hug the boyfriend. In Japanese culture, it is awkward to hug the boyfriend in front of his girlfriend. My Japanese friend was so worried and anxious that she didn't hug him even though she really wanted to.
Then I came up with an idea. Why don’t I ask my foreign friends? Here are four tips from my friends.
Canada : OK
My male Canadian friend was hugging his best friend’s girlfriend for five minutes when they met for the first time. First time? Wow! Unbelievable!
At that time, they were drunk, but Canadians are way too friendly. He lives in Japan, and he knows our culture very well. Therefore, he chooses whom he can hug, so he won’t hug me.
Serbia：OK if you are close
Serbians usually shake hands, but they hug as well if they know each other well. FYI, Serbians kiss on the cheeks as greeting. That sounds very European.
Bosnia : No problem, but...
My Bosnian friend seldom hugs, and he just shakes hands. He said that he teaches Japanese students every day, and he is becoming more Japanese and less European.
FYI, young Bosnian people kiss and hug very often. Some Bosninans are Muslims, and very religous. They don't feel very comfortable even shaking hands with the opposite sex. However, Muslim doctorine allows them to do that with foreigners who don't know that, so that you don't feel embarrased.
Philippines：OK unless you have feelings
It’s okay to hug as a friend, but you cannot hug your friend’s partner if you have feelings. It’s obvious. I would get mad.
Wait. Are there any friends in the Philippines who try to steal my boyfriend?
Shaking hands is safe.
Some people dislike hugging even though they live in a hugging country. It's better to shake hands in order to avoid getting confused.
I don't like shaking hands either.