Have British people always kissed each other on the cheek?

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I always thought it was something mainly done in the rest of Europe, particularly France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. If I don't know a woman, I would always greet with a handshake or a simple hi. Even if I know the woman I am speaking to quite well, I'll say hi and bye with a hug.

Only quite recently I've noticed the cheek kissing and I just find it so pretentious. My old work place, introduced to someone for the first time and as I went in for a handshake, she went for a kiss on the cheek. Not even simply her cheeks touching mine and just making the sound, she actually kissed me on the cheek. And as I pulled back to start the conversation, she kissed me on the other cheek.

Is it just me who finds this a) annoying, pretentious and weird, and b) a new trend that has relatively recently become common?
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  • goodwithsaving
    goodwithsaving Posts: 1,311 Forumite
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    I hate it. It's so false and I don't really want someone else's germs all over my face
  • BrassicWoman
    BrassicWoman Posts: 3,206 Forumite
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    I find it harrassing. I offer my hand for a firm shake, so people know what to do!
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  • Torry_Quine
    Torry_Quine Posts: 18,840 Forumite
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    Not something I've come across and wouldn't be accepatble. I shake hands with most people and a few close friends get a hug. No-one gets kisses.
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  • Gloomendoom
    Gloomendoom Posts: 16,550 Forumite
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    My wife's family all do it. It's not something that comes naturally to me at all.
  • elsien
    elsien Posts: 32,981 Forumite
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    Friends and family do it to me just to wind me up because they know I hate it. But if people want to greet each other like that in social situations I don't mind as long as they leave me out of it.
    But it's not a usual form of greeting in any workplace I've ever been in.
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  • karcher
    karcher Posts: 2,069 Forumite
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    edited 20 June 2017 at 11:26PM
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    It's not that new in England: 30 odd years ago in the UK it didn't sit well with me..kissing virtual strangers as a greeting just seemed false. You can keep your air kissing to yourself thank you very much!

    In France and Spain etc it is a natural greeting and somehow doesn't seem false or forced at all..it's the equivalent of a handshake.
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  • hazyjo
    hazyjo Posts: 15,470 Forumite
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    Two kisses was 'foreign'. How the French did it. Very European. We'd not have done it in the '70s/early '80s. I'd say it crept in after that time.

    I'd shake a house-viewer's hand, or someone new at work, but I'd kiss a friend of a friend on a night out from work (if they looked approachable lol - just thinking of someone I used to work with who brought a mate along to a night out who was easy on the eye so I kissed the bloke I knew and said 'ooh 'ello' to the new one and kissed him on the cheek too), but some friends I just would NEVER kiss even once - mostly some I've known since school.

    One or two blokes I'll kiss on the mouth goodnight. Just a kiss. Nothing more. And only if I know them VERY well. Nothing in it other than familiarity and best-mate-ish-ness.

    But going back to your post - it's been like that for a VERY long time.
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  • Torry_Quine
    Torry_Quine Posts: 18,840 Forumite
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    hazyjo wrote: »
    Two kisses was 'foreign'. How the French did it. Very European. We'd not have done it in the '70s/early '80s. I'd say it crept in after that time.

    I'd shake a house-viewer's hand, or someone new at work, but I'd kiss a friend of a friend on a night out from work (if they looked approachable lol - just thinking of someone I used to work with who brought a mate along to a night out who was easy on the eye so I kissed the bloke I knew and said 'ooh 'ello' to the new one and kissed him on the cheek too), but some friends I just would NEVER kiss even once - mostly some I've known since school.

    One or two blokes I'll kiss on the mouth goodnight. Just a kiss. Nothing more. And only if I know them VERY well. Nothing in it other than familiarity and best-mate-ish-ness.

    But going back to your post - it's been like that for a VERY long time.
    Not amongst the people I meet it isn't. I certainly wouldn't kiss anyone other than my husband on the mouth ever. :eek:
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  • FatVonD
    FatVonD Posts: 5,315 Forumite
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    I find it harrassing. I offer my hand for a firm shake, so people know what to do!

    I go further than that, I step back with my hands up saying, 'I don't do hugging' :o
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  • pollypenny
    pollypenny Posts: 29,394 Forumite
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    I hate all this kissy-kissy stuff. What's wrong with a hand-shake or even just saying 'Hello'?
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