Spanish Culture

Greetings

  • A common casual greeting involves a kiss on each cheek, starting with the left. This form of greeting is especially common between women. Men may be more likely to kiss women hello and goodbye than to shake their hand. 
  • A firm handshake with eye contact and a smile is the appropriate greeting in professional contexts.
  • Once people become acquainted, greetings become a lot warmer and Spaniards often prefer to embrace (abrazo). This may involve a hug accompanied with a pat on the shoulder or elbow (between men) 
  • Some Spanish men may place their left hand on the right forearm of another person when shaking hands to indicate warmth. 
  • In formal settings, you may refer to someone using their professional or personal titles – for example, ‘Señor’ (Mr) for men and ‘Señora’ (Ms) for women. However, it is rare for someone’s friends to address them using their title and surname. Spaniards move onto a first name basis very quickly, even in professional settings.
  • The common verbal greeting is “Buenos dias” (Good day), “Buenas tardes” (Good afternoon) or “Buenas noches” (Good evening/night) depending on the time of day. People may also say “¿Como está?” (How are you).
  • A more casual greeting is “Hola” (Hello).

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