Chileans greet each other with a kiss
For the most part Alex has been able to dodge the way Chilean women greet each other. He's had only one grandmother that managed to get him :)
Don’t be embarrassed or unsure of yourself when greeting a Chilean. Here’s what you need to know…
Men greeting each other for the first time will do so with a firm handshake. You’re safe to use a handshake in almost any setting, business or casual, especially as a foreigner meeting new people.
If a man is friends with another man, they will exchange an abrazo which is like a big bear hug with a pat on the back. Sometimes this abrazo follows a three step process: shake hands, give a hug, shake hands again.
Women will greet other women with a kiss on the cheek. Likewise, men greet women (even if they have never met before) with a kiss on the cheek.
This kiss on the cheek isn’t really a kiss as much as it is kissing the air. Lightly touch right cheeks and blow a soft kiss into the air. Beware that old women (think grandmas) will probably plant a big juicy kiss on your cheek.
As a general rule of thumb, when meeting people for the first time:
Women always greet others with a kiss.
Men greet other men with handshakes.