“La bise”, a small French tradition that sometimes shocks strangers. It may seem absurd to kiss your colleague, your friend or a simple stranger, but this is very common and it may be unwelcome not to do it. This can of course sometimes be tiring, you arrive at a party and you have to give a “kiss” to all the people present there, where a simple salute with the hand would be enough, it would be impolite to deny “la bise”.
There are of course different types of kisses, the most common is a simple rubbing of the cheeks, most often with friends or colleagues at work. There is also the kiss on the lips that we reserve for the couple of course, but we can also touch the cheek with the lips that we reserve most of the time for family and close friends.
Most importantly, the family or professional relationship, age and status of the person must be considered. For example, you don’t kiss your boss or rather wait for him to offer it, but between colleagues, there’s no problem. As for men, it depends, they kiss each other when they are friends or members of the same family. Between young people, we kiss a lot since high school.
Sometimes, we French ourselves, are lost because we don’t know how many kisses to make, indeed, in some regions we can make up to 5 kisses at the same time, but in most of France, it’s only 2 kisses. Good luck to not get lost there.
Thanks for reading,
Written by: Germain PICOT