The British have got a bit of a bad name for themselves as being cold and reserved. When greeting a friend or a business colleague, you might even be afraid of offering them a warm welcome. This may have been the case in times gone by, but as a nation they are actually a friendly and welcoming lot!
There are a couple of do’s and don’ts though…
Handshake First, Hugs (and Kisses!) Later
When you’re greeting a British person for the first time, opt for the handshake. It’s safe. An extended arm can be a form of relief for a Brit – it avoids that momentary awkward wondering if a hug (or a kiss!) is going to be attempted!
Of course, hugs and kisses aren’t generally used in the workplace, but they are frequently used in social settings.
So, make a British friend and they will soon be welcoming you with open arms, literally!
Body Language to Avoid
A couple of things to avoid in terms of body language around the British:
- Invasion of Personal Space
The British have a wider imaginary ‘personal space’ circle around them than other nations and cultures. Standing too close will make someone feel very uneasy and they will probably physically retreat with mini steps back!
- Prolonged Eye Contact
Whilst eye contact should be made, don’t make it too prolonged.
Fixing someone with a long stare will result in them becoming very interested in the ceiling, the floor and the wall behind you!
- Don’t be Too Touchy!
The same principle of personal space applies here. Even if you are from a culture where touching the person you are talking to on the arm or shoulder is seen as a friendly thing, the Brits don’t like it.