Nice to Meet You. And You. And You. And You.

“Did I meet everyone?” my husband looks at me while turning in a circle in the middle of the room to take social inventory.

Billy is pretty introverted, but you’d never guess by the way he enters a room and greets every, single person individually with a handshake and a hello.

I’m pretty extroverted, but you can’t tell by the way I enter a room full of people, dart to a corner hoping no one saw me, look for something familiar and then slowly make my way to meeting everyone. 

Billy’s response?  “You can pretend like no one can see you, but they can, and you look rude.”  Nice.

He’s right, of course.  And maybe this is more manners than culture, but I have noticed among my Latino friends that there is a pattern of full-scale, individual greetings at any social gathering.  No mumbled “hey” and a head nod here.  There’s personalized pleasantries to go around.

This practice also takes place upon exiting.  You can’t dart out and risk people looking around for you later.  Nope.  Every person must say good-bye to every other person individually before leaving.  I think it must be hard to be a spy in Latino culture.

So I’m working on it.  I try to catch myself when I enter a room and remember to say hello to each person there.  Recently, I was leaving early from a pretty large gathering, but I knew everyone, so I walked around the gymnasium waving and saying good-bye to all the various groups that had formed.  I felt a little bit like I was on a parade float, but I knew my hubby would be proud.

Do you say hello to everyone individually when you enter a group?  Do you notice if others do or do not say hello to you? 


  1. I'm terrible at this. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Anonymous10:22 PM

    wow this just happened Sunday night at a house study group. yeah I walked and smile, hello, I am, you are , thanks for having us, ok can I disappear over in the corner now. but there was one guy, yes latino that came and found me in my corner ... and I watched he did speak to everyone and asked about everyone and knew everyone from the beginning and to then end, he said goodbyes to everyone and reviewed what he knew about everyone ... wow, just as you post above. does make me think, I'm not invisible, and just look rude. hmmm need to get my handshake ready next week.

  3. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one. It always feels a lot harder than it sounds! :)

  4. Denise1:50 PM

    Hadn't thought about it but this is cultural! But I love that about the Latino culture. They are just so personable and friendly! One of the things I loved most about the bilingual church I used to attend!

  5. It is a beautiful thing to feel welcomed... especially at church! :)

  6. I liked this post, Sarah! I'm a bit of an introvert myself and would want to meet everyone in the home. But Billy's response though hahaha! So direct lol! But yes, it's kind of rude in Nigerian culture too. It's be probably hard to spy in Nigerian culture too haha. I like to say hello to everyone but I notice that sometimes, not everyone will notice my eye contact when greeting them. Otherwise my greeting them when their back is turned is awkward. In Nigerian culture, that would be perfectly acceptable although I don't think their back would be turned in the first place. The same would apply in the Latino culture. Being in Southern California and attending a Hispanic church at some point, I have found the collective culture to be just as inclusive and acknowledging. :)

  7. Yep. That collective cultural outlook makes for a very different lens to view the world and our experiences. I have certainly learned a lot just hearing Billy and others' perspectives. I'm much more aware now (though not always successful) of how I'm greeting and how I'm greeted. :)

  8. We're all learning! That's the beauty of the cross-cultural life. :)


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