In Spanish-speaking countries, kissing on the cheek is a customary way to greet friends and family members. It is common to kiss someone upon introduction, particularly in a non-business setting. Whereas North Americans maintain considerable personal space when greeting, Spaniards and Latin Americans tend to decrease interpersonal space and give one or two kisses (besos) on the cheek, sometimes accompanied by a handshake or a hug. In formal business settings, where associates do no know one another on a personal level, greetings entail a simple handshake.
Greeting someone with a besovaries according to region, gender, and context. With the exception of Argentina—where male friends and relatives lightly kiss on the cheek—men generally greet each other with a hug or warm handshake. Greetings between men and women, and between women, can differ depending on the country and context, but generally include kissing. In Spain, it is customary to give dos besos, starting with the right cheek. In Latin American countries, including Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Chile, a greeting consists of a single “air kiss” on the right cheek. Peruvians also “air kiss,” but strangers will simply shake hands. In Colombia, female acquaintances tend to simply pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder.