11 Jun Awkward Greeting Anxiety
In my line of work I’m constantly meeting new people for both business and pleasure purposes but no matter what the occasion I find myself stuck with the same problem. How to greet them?! I’ve mentioned before that this is not my super power but it’s rearing it’s ugly head more and more these days given the sheer number of people I meet. I’ve come to realise, I really need to start dealing with my Awkward Greeting Anxiety.
Let me give you an example of my incompetence. I recently met a guy on Linked-In who ran a business I was interested in doing some work for, so I arranged a coffee catch up. And so, the award pre-greeting dialogue started in my head. My default when I’m really not sure what to do, is to hug and kiss hello, but in some (possibly all) business situations a handshake would probably be the better fit. On this occasion I arrived early to make sure there was a table between thus avoiding any awkward moments. The only greeting options available would be an over the table hand shake. Sorted. But, come the end of the meeting, I did what all awkward greeters do and I hugged and kissed him goodbye. A tight hug too. And it wasn’t until I got to my car and congratulated myself on a not too awkward farewell that I remembered I didn’t know this guy and a professional handshake would most likely have been more appropriate on this occasion. Damn.
Unfortunately that is by no means an isolated incident. My amazing girlfriend Stacey and I were sharing over the weekend the same (shameful) encounter we had a while ago with someone very senior in our industry. It was an early morning conference and I went straight in for a hug that ended up in a cheekbone knocking hug/kiss/bump which was so embarrassing. What made it worse was that the last time I greeted this all important guy I did the lean in for a kiss and he went for a half hug thing and then we backed away and then came back in like the most awkward cha cha. At least I now know I’m not the only one who is completely incompetent at greetings.
It’s probably about time I try and work out what the rules are. I flat out think that giving a handshake especially woman to woman is not cool. I also know my default hug/kiss isn’t too cool either. So what, a quick peck on the cheek and pat on the back? That doesn’t seem like the right way to greet a boss? Nor someone I don’t really know. I feel like I should consider ditching the hug all together, there’s almost no one that works out well with, but then what’s left? Maybe next time I’ll try a high-5 or I could always have a crack at the Pollie Peck?
Hug, kiss, fist bump, handshake, high 5, peck, Gangnam style wave