Behavior and Etiquette – Introductions, Meeting and Greeting: Part 2


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Appropriate ways of greeting Afghans also include a smile, a nod, and a word of greeting. Common forms of greetings between Afghans of the same gender include bowing, hugging, and kissing on both cheeks.  Male friends often kiss twice when they meet, or walk down the road hand in hand or arm in arm.  This is customary and a sign of friendship, not homosexuality. Muslim men and women do not express affection of any sort in public, including holding hands. Men do not physically touch women in greetings; rather, they greet verbally, if at all. Afghan women are usually deferential to their fathers, brothers, or husbands in public.

When uncertain as to how to greet an Afghan, wait until the other person extends his or her hand before making the same gesture.  Typically, handshakes are not used when greeting females; however Afghan women do occasionally shake hands. A Western male should follow the woman's lead. On the rare occasion a female does extend her hand, she will use only the tips of her fingers and will not touch palms. Contact with her hand should be minimal and brief. When greeting females, males should not make eye contact, but should divert their eyes, bowing slightly with their hand placed over their heart.


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