Ducking A Kiss — Personal Space
How do you suppose a person politely goes about ducking a kiss without appearing hostile?
I am an educated, employed, 65-year-old black woman who doesn’t like being kissed on the lips by just anyone, especially not politicians. At political fundraisers I usually run into an old acquaintance who greets me with a kiss on the lips. His breath is always sweet and he is well-groomed, but how do I greet this man so that he doesn’t think he has a right to kiss me everytime we meet?
–Janis, Philadelphia, PA
It's a delicate dance ducking a kiss. It's not enough just acknowledging your personal space, you have to be polite but firm and head off this person's advances with your body language. There are several ways you can meet and greet with dignity and warmth. Here's my favorite dance routine for ducking a kiss:
- Extend your left hand -- instead of the customary right hand -- toward the person when you expect that someone is coming in to smack you on the lips and hold his hand warmly and securely.
- keep it stretched out as though you have a cold and don't want him to get too close.
- The warm flesh of your hand may be all the body contact the person may really need. Unless he wants to showoff that he's more intimate with you.
- Keep holding the person's hand as you chat and the person will take in the message from the warmth of your hand and stance of your body language. A sweet, sincere handshake is enough.
Alternatively, go for the shoulder hug where you move your left hand around the person's right shoulder and neck to their left shoulder and gently give a squeeze or two, as you say, "So good to see you," and pull away.
- The only problem with this is that if there is a difference in height between the two of you, it would feel awkward.