Step 2: Greetings Across Cultures - How the Shoulder Tap Acts as a Bridge

Surprise! American's are a bit reserved when it comes to touch! A handshake can be considered a foray into the others intimate space, popping that personal bubble. While in Italy a hug might be considered appropriate amongst friends, while two men kissing cheeks is considered an awesome thing to do in the middle east.

Two people of the same gender holding hands may bring up many layers of meaning in the US, in other places it's simply considered a way to connect while walking and talking. But we should recognize that walking and holding hands is bonding and has it's place as a meaningful way of communicating throughout history and cultures. It's just not easy to pull off naturally in Nebraska.

I am an Arab American and as a culture Arabs are far touchier with our greetings and our interactions. Have you ever been in a line and had an Arab dude breath down your neck? That's because we have no real consideration of personal space (as long as you're the same gender). Being an Arab American made it much easier to incorporate the BroGrab into my life. But it was a bit odd to be in Dubai and notice Arab men eskimo kissing each other, complete with lip smacking. I asked about this, and it turns out the standard cheek kiss I grew up with as a greeting is reserved for people close to you. The nose kiss thing is for new friends. Whoa.

There are issues with touch greetings. How do you know how to respond when you are either in another culture, or in between cultures (like me)? Linn Katarina Grubbström had that very issue as a Swiss national living in Denmark. Her questionare and solution to the greeting sheds some light on the complications that arise from mixed cultural greetings.  Tip, you'll see that she compromised between the cheek kiss and the full hug with a one armed head to the side awkward hug. Awkward is not something you should be shooting for in your greetings. If you're going to go for a greeting, GO FULL ON ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE SKY.

Growing up I had to grapple with the hugs my friends wanted to give me, especially since being raised in a muslim house the concept of a girl hugging me was not acceptable. Conversely the hugging and cheek kissing of Arabs weren't acceptable for many of the guys and girls around me. Also I had my own desire to break barriers and connect with people in a novel way. The Hip Hop Hug was good, but I didn't feel the connection with the rest of the culture. What developed from these multidimensional pressures was the Shoulder Tap. It combines the hug my friends want, with the distance I felt comfortable with giving women hugs. It really opens people up to new conversations, takes the Hip Hop Hug and makes it my own all while breaking the touch barrier.

But what's the point? Why not just shake hands? Let's go through and study some touch history!
للتحية أهمية كبرى في تنظيم مجتمع ما ،وسرها يكمن فيما تفترضه التحية ويتجلى لنا في كيفية ردها للسابق إليها ،لقد فرضتها كل الشرائع السماوية و الإنسانية والمرء المتواضع هو السباق دائما إلى التحية ،لذلك فرض على المتلقي للسلام والذي غالبا ما يكون مغرورا بنفسه مترفعا ومتكبرا أن يردها . <br> <br>فالإستجابة للتحية فرضت عليه بما يميل بها إلى ما هو أحسن منها ،أوعلى الأقل بردها بمثل ما وجهت اليه تماما دون تشويه أو نقصان على أختها الأولى . <br> <br>وهذا التعامل في التحية يوجد في ثقافة جميع الشعوب والأقوام بدون إستثناء. <br> <br>للتحية الحرية في كيفية أدائها إما بالكلام،إما بالحركة أو مشتركتين معا في تأديتهما ،وأحيانا فيها لمس وعناق أو تقبيل.
Great 'ible! It is important to be acquainted with other people's customs regarding greetings, conversations, humor, stances, etc. to avoid a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faux_pas" rel="nofollow"><em>faux pas</em></a>.&nbsp;
Thank you very much for your explanation of body contact in other cultures. Yes, Americans are very uptight about body contact and personal space issues as well as sex. They are probably one of the most uptight countries in the G8. I'm not sure about Japan.<br><br>Personally, I'm not uptight about touching or sex. But I just don't know the norms for other cultures. <br>
As a vision impaired person, touch is very important to me. However I was brought up in an extremely reserved environment so just the thought of trying this fills me with panic. I am unable to make eye contact with people, and so would most likely end up smacking them in the face with my head and them having to go to the hospital. That said, cheers for an informative, interesting, and enjoyable treatise on the use and importance of touch in our culture.I feel, despite my own personal reservations, that touching in our (American) society is very under-rated and misunderstood part of our culture. Also, how cool is that you met the president of AutoDesk and give him a dude hug! Thumbs up, sir! (a non-tactile, gestural method of expressing approval)
Shoulder taps are common among any male-dominant group!!
There is nothing that conveys interest in, sympathy with, love of, and the desire to endure with another human being than the good old-fashioned &quot;handshake.&quot; That has been enough to display respect, sympathy, and love for one's fellow man since the average Roman Soldier started demonstrating that his (stronger) more dexterous (right-sided) hand was not bearing weapons. If you offer your hand to another with sincerity, warmth and eye-contact, there is an entire language that passes from one individual to another in that brief instant. No embellishment is required!
Nothing adds more authenticity to your Instructable (as if it needed it anyway, it's very well done!) than the Dilated People's clip featuring Alchemist... those guys ARE hip hop.
Not a hugger myself (due to upbringing) but want to try some of the basic greetings. Loved some of the videos (i.e. Qusai, and will be watching more of these), and found the links to add to content. <br><br>Very well done, and appreciated. Thumbs up!
There is a version of this getting around Australia as well. It's basically a traditional handshake followed by the hug. My interpretation was that keeping the clenched fists between the chests preventing the A-frame hug, was to block unintended homo-erotic displays. Guys seem way more worried about this than girls.<br><br>I think just the quick tap is a progressive move. You've made your impression, but you haven't invaded personal space for too long. Well done.
This is pure genius! Semiotics of the human language :') this is anthropology! beautiful! I shall be shoulder tapping in no time :D
Just pure awesomeness! Great 'ible!
Oh, you colonials, so avant garde...<br><br><sub>Most Brits only hug people if they are related, on the same sports team*, drunk, or trying to get into organised crime. I was taught to hug properly by a Californian.<br><br><sub>* And trying to prove they're confident in their manhood.<br><br></sub></sub>
You are the best shoulder tapper I know. I don't think anyone else could have rubbed shoulder with the CEO so smoothly.
Here in the UK the LAN parties I go to are very very huggy environments. Certainly those of us who volunteer our time to run them spend a week or so in each others pockets with a common enemy (Anyone who has spent time in IT knows Users are the enemy :) ), we become very close very quickly. There is a lotta love in our community, and I for one enjoy it.<br><br>As someone with &quot;weight to throw around&quot; I feel I should reign in an advanced bro grab and let them land on me :)
Ooh, now I'm excited to try the advanced shoulder tap! Although I do picture myself flat on my behind as a result.

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Bio: Bilal Ghalib is interested in doing things that surprise him and inspire others. Let's create a future we want to live in together.
More by lamedust: Prosthetics Modification for Pain Relief of Pressure Points How to Teleport! Free 3D Scanning and Cheap 3D Printing! Shoulder tap to win friends and influence people - An Arab American improvised greeting
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