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Hug It Out

Hug It Out

Normally the male-female relationships we discuss on this topic are of a romantic nature, but the political news dominating the airwaves lately has brought up some interesting aspects about improving professional relationships.

Influenced by the interaction between Republican Presidential nominee, John McCain, and his running mate, Sarah Palin, The New York Times recently published an entire article about the etiquette of hugging between male and female colleagues. They pointed out that the senator favors a chaste embrace with Palin followed by a kiss for his wife, Cindy, much has changed since the 1980's when Walter Mondale and his running mate Geraldine Ferraro greeted with a more formal handshake.

"It's a form of professional endearment," The New York Times quoted one business etiquette expert as saying about the modern hug. "Getting closer than two arms' length when you know the other person says, 'I respect you, we have a comfort level, we have a professional bond.'"

Other experts such as Leticia Baldridge, former social secretary to Jacqueline Kennedy, say that a warm handshake between male and female colleagues is best.

Basically, it comes down to your level of comfort. Anytime a person—male or female—oversteps his or her bounds when it comes to personal space, it can make the situation uncomfortable for anyone involved.

What sort of greeting do you prefer with your colleagues? Do you share the same greeting with male and female colleagues?

Posted: 9/9/08
VictoriaB

I used to drive my friend's crazy practicing my handshake. Too hard, too soft, just right?

I think hugs can be awkward in professional situations, but I'm a touchy feely person, so I like to show affection by patting someone on the back or the arm ... I think we all need a little human touch sometimes.

Lizzie314

I agree—it all depends on the relationship you have with your colleague. But if in doubt, stick with the hand shake.

Lizzie314

I agree—it all depends on the relationship you have with your colleague. But if in doubt, stick with the hand shake.

Kiki76

It really depends on the person and the kind of relationship we have, as well as our work environment. Usually with male colleagues I'll do the side hug or the shoulder pat...safe but less formal than a handshake. Of course, there's always the fist bump!

With female colleagues, again it depends on the relationship. If we are friendly outside work then a hug can be appropriate at times.

  • By Kiki76
  • on 9/9/08 10:35 AM EST