Haptics - Handshakes
Interesting response came from Zimbabwe, according to which a handshake is exchanged between both genres and takes a few minutes. That confirms information that handshakes in South Africa are generally long and involved.
In countries covered by this survey, shaking hands in business world is the main greeting between both genders (except for Japan). A firm and brief handshake is respected in almost all countries. Mostly it is just one shake, and then hand is released. Respondents form Latvia, Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Turkey and Russia mention that a handshake between a man and a woman should be slightly softer. As we can see, handshaking ritual is culturally marked. For example, the “wimpy” handshake by Latvian standards may be seen as welcoming and friendly in Japanese and Vietnamese culture. However, a softer handshake with woman form the United States or choosing to shake hands with only one gender in Denmark could get you in trouble.
The meanings we attach to touching vary according to relationship between the people, the location and duration of touch, the relative pressure of the touch, and place where it occurs (public or private), and whether the touch is intentional or accidental. All of this influences touch across cultures, and what might be acceptable in one culture may be offensive in the other. It would be good to try to keep in mind the saying 'When in Rome, do as the Romans', especially when it comes to offering greetings.
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