If you're reluctant to greet with physical contact like a handshake or a hug, check out these countries and cultures that say hi without touching each other! There's no need to lunge for the hand sanitizer after you greet someone in one of these ways.

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In India, say "Namaste"

Often given in India, this greeting is performed by pressing the palms together over your heart with fingers pointing upwards and saying, "Namaste." In Hinduism, it means "I bow to the divine in you."

Home exchanges in India

Stick out your tongue in Tibet

Sticking out your tongue in Tibet is a traditional greeting and a sign of respect. According to Cross-Currents, "According to Tibetan folklore, a cruel ninth-century Tibetan king had a black tongue, so people stick out their tongues to show that they are not like him (and aren't his reincarnation)."

Bow in Cambodia, India, Japan, Laos, and Thailand

You can keep your distance while greeting someone in Japan, while still showing respect and warmth: just bow to the person you are greeting. Many cultures use prayer hands when they bow, but Japan does not.

Home exchanges in Thailand

Air kiss in many countries

Numerous countries greet with an air kiss. Just make sure it's definitely an AIR kiss with no contact to avoid the spread of germs! Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, São Paulo, Colombia, Spain, Portugal, Québec, Paraguay, Italy, the Philippines, France, Russia, Ukraine, are some of the countries that say hello with an air kiss.

Home exchanges in Québec

Clap your hands in Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Applauding is part of how some African cultures say hello. It's cheery, fun and you don't have to touch anyone's hand but your own!

Home exchanges in Zimbabwe

Wave in many countries

Many countries wave their hand and arm as an informal way to say hello and goodbye, including the United States and Canada. Just keep in mind that in other countries, the gesture is actually offensive— so do some research before you extend the hand!

Home exchanges in the United States

Photo by Raphael Rychetsky / Unsplash

Perform a ceremonial jumping dance in Kenya

Though you may not be up for this one yourself (and you might get some strange looks if you try it!), the Maasai warrior tribe in Kenya performs a dance to welcome newcomers. The warriors form a circle and see who can jump the highest.

Home exchanges in Kenya

Pat each other on the back in Greece

In Greece, close friends slap or pat each other on the back or arm several times as a way of greeting.

Home exchanges in Greece

In Micronesia, raise your eyebrows

Simply raising your eyebrows is a way to greet someone or just acknowledge their presence in Micronesia. It doesn't get much simpler than that!

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In Mexico, people greet with an "air kiss"

The "air kiss" is a common way to greet friends, family members, and acquaintances in social situations. It's considered a friendly and polite gesture, and it allows people to show affection and respect without the need for physical contact, which can be especially important in situations where physical touch might not be appropriate.

Home exchanges in Mexico