How to Greet in 3 Different Languages and Norms to Follow

Each country has peculiar social customs.Whether you are travelling abroad for business or pleasure, it helps to know how to greet people in that particular country and what norms should be followed.


Did you know entering a shop in France without greeting the sales person is considered rude?When in France, take time to say a polite Bonjour to anyone and everyone you meet. It is the most basic form of French greeting that works in formal as well as informal settings, especially when opening a conversation.

  • Bonjour (Hello or Good Morning)
  • Bonsoir (Good Evening)

Basic Norms to Follow

  • If you are going for a business meeting, customary greeting is a simple handshake.
  • French greet only their close friends and family with a kiss on each cheek. So, if you are meeting someone for the first time, a simple handshake or Bonjour/Bonsoir would do.
  • Hugging is a bit awkward for the French so avoid hugging when you meet someone.
  • If you say Bonjour to a group of strangers in a café, nod your head a bit and smile but if you know the person, say it with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek.


Learning a foreign language takes time. So to start with, knowing how to bow and greet in Japan will be very helpful. Commonly, Japanese greet each other by bowing instead of handshaking. It is a way to show respect.

  • Konnichiwa (Hello)
  • Ohio Gozaimasu (Good Morning)
  • Konbanwa (Good Evening)

Basic Norms to Follow

  • Men and women bow differently. Men usually keep their hands at their sides while women put their hands together on their thighs when bowing.
  • 15 degree bow is the informal bow used for causal greetings, 30 degree bow is used to greet customers or say thank you and 45 degree bow is the most formal bow used for signifying deep gratitude or a formal apology.
  • “San” is the most common title that you can add to a name which translates to “Mr.” “Miss” or “Mrs” when opening a conversation.


  • Hola (Hello)
  • Buenos Dias (Good Morning)
  • BuenasNoches (Good Evening)

Basic Norms to Follow

  • In Spain, you need to shake hands with everyone you meet- men, women and children. Be it a social meeting or a business meeting, don’t forget to shake hands again when leaving.
  • Spaniards talk a lot with their hands so it is advisable not to mimic them.
  • Don’t hug or kiss people on their cheek if you meet them for the first time. Spaniards prefer an embrace or a kiss only when meeting their close friends or family.
  • Don/Dona and the first name is often used to refer people in formal settings.

Learn a New Language on the Go

The best way to learn a new language or avoid dialect issues when travelling abroad is to use an offline language app. You can use a French, Spanish or Japanese language learning app by AlterGyan that contains 1200+ commonly used phrases voiced out by a native speaker. If you ever find yourself in a difficult situation, you can use the app to communicate easily with the locals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *