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Russian Greeting Etiquette

Just recently I met a DePauw student who is from Russia and based on my interaction with her, the notion of personal space is nonexistent. After the initial handshake weproceeded to sit down and have a nice chat. Immediately I noticed how close she sat next to me because it is very unusual for that type of proximity to take place during a first encounter withsomeone. I simply thought she was being friendly but after reading about the closeness of interaction with people from Russia, this all makes sense. According to my friend John who spent a semester inRussia, Russian people only smile when they see/greet an acquaintance, something really fun or very happy. The Russians do not smile for the courtesy of strangers, however, this should not be taken badly,since it does not mean they are angry, it's just social custom. Some Russians may seem too reserved, cautious or cold with strangers but also among themselves, not just with foreigners. Once anindividual becomes friends with a Russian they can be extremely open, friendly and generous with their new friends.
In terms of body language, Russians are very expressive given public physical contact isfairly common. For instance hugs as well as kisses on the cheeks and other extensive gestures are common among friends or acquaintances and between members of the same sex. Thus, Russian people standclose when talking. According to Kwintessential, the meeting etiquette includes, “the typical greeting is a firm, almost bone-crushing handshake while maintaining direct eye contact and giving theappropriate greeting for the time of day. When men shake hands with women, the handshake is less firm. When female friends meet, they kiss on the cheek three times, starting with the left and thenalternating. When close male friends meet, they may pat each other on the back and hug.” In comparison to my interactions with people in my native land of Mexico, the meeting etiquette is similar albeit...
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