Greeting and Kissing in Spanish Speaking Countries

Are you heading to Spain in the summer or do you want to travel Latin America this year? Have you ever been wondering if they have different rules for greeting and kissing? Be warned, the interaction between men and women is very different than in most other countries in the world! But don’t worry, with these guidelines you will be prepared for every situation.

In general, physical contact is much more common in Spanish cultures than for example in the Northern countries of Europe or in the United States. People have an open, warm and flirtatious way of conversing.
Spaniards generally stand at a much closer physical distance when they talk to each other than foreigners are used to. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything but if the Spanish culture is completely new to you, you might be confused in the beginning and find it a bit difficult to read the signs of the opposite sex.

In Latin America and Spain men and woman greet each other with “besitos” meaning they briefly touch the cheeks and make a kissing sound with their lips. It doesn’t matter if they are good friends or if they are meeting for the first time, the cheek kissing is a universal form of greeting. These little kisses are purely friendly and have no sexual meaning. In the Spanish culture they are considered more as a formality then an attempt to flirt. Wherever you will go make sure to kiss the right cheek first, as this will help you to not hurting someone accidentally.

Generally both men and women enjoy each other’s company and flirting is a natural way of communicating with each other. This attitude has to be considered as a part of Spanish nature and you can see it within every age group. A couple kissing in public is quite often seen in Spain but less common in some parts of Latin America where you can still find traditional catholic customs.

When a pretty woman is passing by on the street, men will most likely compliment her or might even whistle at her. These flirtatious comments are called “piropos” and include usually a simple “guapa” (meaning beautiful) or “mi amor” (my love). The woman should not acknowledge the compliment and should try to keep a straight face in order not to encourage the men. These comments are harmless and happen a million times per day on pretty much every street corner in Spain or Latin America. Traditionally known for their macho behavior Spanish men simply express their admiration for women by acting that way.

¡Mucha suerte!