Unlike in America, in Albania it's common for men to kiss on the cheek upon meeting, as long as the person initiating is the same age or younger. Women do this as well, but rarely ever do men and women kiss each other, unless they are very close friends.
Most everyone is familiar with the stereotype that French people kiss each other during a greeting, called Faire La Bise, but what exactly is the right way to go about it? Instead of actually kissing the other person, the goal is to touch cheeks while kissing the air near the other person’s ear. It’s a custom that’s about as common in France as saying "please and thank you" in America!
Like in many Western countries, handshakes are considered totally normal and acceptable in Greek culture for an initial meeting. Once you get to know someone a little better, however, hugging and kissing each cheek becomes common among women, while men tend to pat each other on the shoulder or back.
Japanese people greet each other by bowing. The depth and duration of the bow is dependent upon how much respect you would like to show someone. For example, if you were greeting a friend, you could get by with a simple head nod, whereas if you were meeting the Japanese Prime Minister, you would probably want to bend quite deep at the waist and hold the position for longer.
In an informal greeting, Mongolians will simply nod and smile and ask, “Are you well?” In a more formal greeting, you would hold out both of your arms after rolling down your sleeves. The younger person is expected to support the elder’s arms below the elbow. The older person then asks how the younger person has been, and the younger responds with, “well.”
Often times during a greeting, the older person will grasp the younger person’s head and smell their hair or face.
The Maori people of New Zealand use an expression of greeting called the Hongi, where two people touch noses and foreheads. The greeting can be traced back to an ancient Maori legend. The legend says that a woman was created from the earth by the gods, and was given life when the God Tane breathed into her nostrils.
Polish greetings are fairly similar to the American way — a handshake and direct eye contact are pretty well-accepted. Important to note is that you should refrain from addressing someone by their first name until you’re formally invited to do so.
Thai people partake in a greeting known as the Wai, where a person presses their palms together and bows slightly. If you want to know how high your hands should be, the key is the more respect you want to show someone, the higher they should be.
Tibetans have quite an interesting way of greeting each other! Lang Darma was a ninth-century Tibetan king who had a black tongue and was known for being brutal and committing evil acts. Because many Tibetans are Buddhist, they stick out their tongues out in greeting to show that they do not have black tongues and that they are therefore not incarnations of Lang Darma.
In many African cultures, people take their time with greetings and do so in a much less-rushed manner than we do in America. In Zambia, people take their time to greet anyone they are about to speak to, even if it's just to ask for directions. The handshake is also a very important aspect of a greeting in Zambia.