How do Ecuadorians greet each other

[English and Spanish subtitles available]

You probably already know the basic greetings in Spanish:

  • Hola
  • Buenos días
  • Buenas tardes
  • Buenas noches

It’s important to learn those phrases BUT… there are more things you should know to greet Ecuadorians in real life.

For example, the most common greeting is a handshake [that should be the case in most countries], it works in any situation, and it’s comfortable for most people.

The problem is that it’s a quite formal greeting.

You can use it with people you just met, with older people than you, or with people of higher rank, like a doctor, a police officer, etc.

But for more casual situations, there are other ways to greet.

For example, two men who are friends can fist bump, and if they are close friends, a handshake with some pats on the back is quite common.

For women, the most usual is a kiss on the cheek. A simple and easy greeting that generally doesn’t cause discomfort.

But that kiss on the cheek is also common when a man and a woman who are friends greet each other. Just remember that a kiss on the cheek generally works in casual situations, in a formal situation, a handshake is usually the most common (although it’s not a rule).

Something important to mention is that, especially among young people and young adults, this greeting form is the most common, even when we meet a person for the first time. But of course, just because it’s normal for us doesn’t mean it’s normal for everyone in the world.

I’ve met people from other countries, especially from the United States, who don’t feel very comfortable greeting someone with a kiss on the cheek, and I don’t blame them. It’s a different way to greet people for them, and it can be difficult to adapt to the Ecuadorian (and Latin American) way.

And by the way, in some countries, the greeting involves two or three kisses on the cheeks, I don’t know why they do it like that. Here in Ecuador, one kiss is enough. In fact, don’t try to give more than one kiss, that would be strange and uncomfortable.

Anyway, if you’re going to visit Ecuador and you don’t feel comfortable with this greeting form, just tell your local friends that you prefer a different greeting, and I’m sure they will understand.

I greet and say goodbye to my American friends with a fist bump.

It’s easy, simple, and comfortable for everyone.

But well, that’s all for today. Now you know how Ecuadorians greet and say goodbye.

If you ever come to Ecuador, or if you have Ecuadorian friends or an Ecuadorian partner in your country, I think it’s important for you to know that.

Now tell me, what is the standard way of greeting in your country? Are cheek kisses also common? Or would it be strange if someone tried to greet like that?

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